Sunday, September 20, 2015

Adventures in Wubuntu architecture

So I bought a new desktop machine, a MiniITX setup in a very small case that fits in carry-on luggage. But because it's a desktop, and new, it's got a much faster processor and more memory than my three-year-old laptop, and I put in a large HDD and a good-sized SDD for quick booting.

Given that I had all that power at my disposal now, I decided to install Ubuntu as the main OS, with VirtualBox running a VM with Windows 7 for my work tools (the translation industry is entirely Windows-based). With the guest additions and seamless mode, you are literally running both operating systems at once, and it rocks.

I call this unholy chimera "Wubuntu".

Anyway, there are obviously a few little weirdnesses. I use Linux for all browsing, email, and coding, and Windows for editing documents under Office and running all the different tools of the translation trade. But honestly, the Windows Explorer is a good way to get around a project directory. I'm used to it. Wouldn't it be nice to have a right-click that could open a Linux bash shell in the directory? And open a Linux text editor on a given file?

Well, running commands on the guest OS from the host is already supported under VirtualBox, but doing things the other way around is obviously ... weird, under most circumstances, so that's not really supported.

My current notion for a solution is to run lighttpd on the Linux side, and hit it with tinyget from Windows. The latter is a component in the IIS 6 Resource Kit, so not terribly easy to find, but it does work great. From Windows, the Linux localhost is (it's the gateway from Windows' point of view), and I've confirmed that works perfectly.

So put some useful commands on lighttpd, build command files on the Windows side to install on the context menu, and it should all work just fine!

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