Published Date
01 - Apr - 2008
| Last Updated
01 - Apr - 2008

Run Linux in Windows... With a twist!

We keep complaining about how we’d like to use Linux but all our work and favourites applications are here on Windows. Virtualisation can be harnessed to run both Linux and Windows together, but virtual machines are very resource hungry and it’s not practical. andLinux could be the solution to all your problems. With andLinux, you can run Linux applications on Windows without having to boot into Linux or run virtual machines. The andLinux installer can be found in this month’s DVD. We’re showing you a quick outline of some of its features.

Getting andLinux Up And Running

andLinux doesn’t require you to create or modify any partitions, and the entire installation procedure is done on Windows like any other application. Double click the executable and continue beyond the agreement accepting window. Enter a suitable amount of memory that you want to allot to andLinux. If you want to use sound applications, check the radio box for enabling the audio support module. Similarly, if you want to use andLinux seamlessly when you boot into Windows, choose to set up andLinux as an NT service that runs automatically. Next, select the method you want to access the Windows file system. Choose CoFS, however, network shares can be used using Samba. The next step is to select the partition that can be accessed by andLinux. You can also set it to access a particular folder. Select the folder and proceed.

Accessing andLinux’s Applications

If you’re wondering where the andLinux applications are, they are all accessible from the icon in the system tray. If you want to run console applications, you can open a terminal session using Konsole or an andLinux terminal. The username to use is [root] with no password. The andLinux terminal allows you to jump to other terminals using the [Alt] [F1] / [F2] / [F3] / [F5] / [F6] keys.

Adding New Software

You might think andLinux works like some kind of LiveCD that runs on Windows, but it is much more than that. LiveCDs generally don’t let you install applications, which means you are stuck with what is provided.

Synaptic Package Manager is an easy way to add applications to andLinux over the Net

One of the most impressive features other than running Linux on Windows is that you can actually install new software on it. The simplest and quickest way to do this is to use the Synaptic Package Manager, as long as you have an Internet connection. Right-click on the system tray icon and click on Synaptic. Now search or browse through the directory for the software you want. Right-click on the application and click Mark for Installation. Click on Apply on the top menu to have the software downloaded and installed. You can also use apt-get to install, like you would in other distributions.

Stopping The Service

While it’s fun to have andLinux and its applications running on Windows, it can sometimes be a resource hog especially if you don’t have a lot of RAM to spare or if you’re about to start some intensive games.

andLinux can be temporarily shutdown by shutting down its service in Windows

In such cases, you might want to shut down all the unnecessary services and programs running in the background. Go to the folder where you installed andLinux. Double click on srvstop.bat and the service will end. The service can also be shut through the Services manager under Windows Administrative Tools. To start the service again, double click srvstart.bat.

Using andLinux’s Integration For Windows File Formats

If you haven’t noticed, andLinux doesn’t only run applications or open files in the Linux file system. You can browse through folders and use andLinux’s applications run certain files—for example, .doc files can be opened using KWord. Browse using Windows explorer, right-click and you will see the application name in andLinux.

If you don’t see an association made, you can open the application using the menu. Then proceed to open the file through the File > Open menu. Look for a path to Windows to open files in the Windows partition. You can also access the same partition through the path /mnt/win. Keep in mind, that andLinux will not be able to open paths outside the ones you specify during the installation.

Modifying The Launcher Menu

The andLinux launcher allows you to run most applications available in andLinux. It might even not add any new software that you download and install. The menu can be modified through a small text file located in the installation folder of andLinux—andLinux\Launcher. Open menu.txt in any text editor and add any new entries that you want. Adding—adds a separator in the menu. The format is—ApplicationName;ApplicationIcon.ico; ApplicationCommand. For example,  Digit;digit.ico;konqueror will add an entry Digit that will load in Konqueror. Unnecessary entries can be deleted from the list by removing a line. Save the files and close the launcher by right clicking on the system tray icon and then Exit. In the Launcher folder, run menu.exe again to restart the menu and you will now see the changes in place.

Rossi FernandesRossi Fernandes