Win4Lin Announces Support For Running Windows On Xen

Thrilling, at first. Then I found out how "easy" it is to install the stuff. Something every administrator will love to do in order to support consolidation in his datacenter. Don’t you think?
Hypervisor technology and OS awareness of virtualization in general is definitively the way to go! But if you have to follow these four easy steps to run a Windows app on Linux on a Hypervisor:

Compile your Linux kernel with support for Xen [Linux specific distribution issues can be found here]
Create an .iso file [8 GB recommended size]
Create a new partition on a hard drive and copy the loopback file system to that partition.
Create the Xen config file point the domU at the new disk partition.

Come on, get serious. This is certainly not "…the beginning of a robust ecosystem evolving around the Xen technology." This is what Moshe Bar, Founder and Chief Technology Officer, XenSource may see and wants us to believe. There are way more serious projects revolving around Xen and virtualization. For me Windows-apps-on-Linux-via-Win4Lin-on-Xen looks more like trying to push a square peg through a round hole.

Nice try, for now I suggest we follow existing proven consolidation scenarios on our preferred OS platform, enabled by 64-bit support and wait a bit. And if you want to move from Windows to Linux, there must be an easier way. From **nix to Windows I know for sure there are many and easier ways with products like Virtual Server, SFU or the competitive products from VMWare and others.

Comments (4)

  1. Billy Conn says:

    I hate to disagree with you, but the 4 steps are NOT that hard. Admittedly, it should be put into a UI for ease-of-use, but _most_ unix administrators are not going to have problems doing this.

    Most commercial distros have a xen-supported kernel now, so that should not be a problem. If your distro does not, it’s not terribly complex to compile one, and there are gui tools that will aid you. I would say that this IS the most complex part of the process, however.

    Creating the ISO can be accomplished with GUI tools provided by win4lin. Or by command line.

    Creating a new partition is easy but admittedly a bit risky if the system is a production server not specifically set up for this. Generally, you will use one of the applications to move data if you’re just setting up a server for this for the first time.

    The last DOES require the use of a text editor.

    I _do_ agree with you on existing better and easier ways, and about there being more serious applications. I’ll even say that, given my experiences with win4lin in the past, you’re probably better off with a real windows 2003 server. But the steps to install Win4Lin on Xen are not the primary reason not to do it.

  2. Claus Christensen says:


    As a server administrator I don’t see the few taks as a problem, but I’m wondering why you and Microsoft don’t support Xen virtualization. It would be much more convenient if we were able to run Windows ontop of Red Hat Linux or SUSE.

  3. Claus,

    Microsoft will introduce its own Hypervisor in the future. One of the main reasons being that the Hypervisor, the "OS for OS’ses", is the most critical part of a virtual scenario. This piece has to be 100% stable and secure. I personally believe we (everyone who cares) should strive for one Hypervisor or at least one common implementation and operation model.

  4. Freddie says:

    And who will do the better hypervisor? 20 or more major enterprise software vendors collaborating on Xen, or MSFT working in a deep dark corner, pretending not to look at the Xen source code?

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