I recently replaced my daughters aging Toshiba laptop with a used MacBook Pro. The MacBook Pro was much faster and she reallylikes working in OS X so it was a great fit for her needs. With the freeing up of the old Toshiba, I thought I’d install a recent Linux distro and see if the vSphere web client and the vCO Java client worked well enough to use regularly. I had problems in the past with my Fedora 17-19 desktops due to Flash and Java incompatabilities but I figured I’d give it a shot.
Since Ubuntu had a new LTS release this week I decided to give Trusty a spin. I am not a fan of Unity or Gnome 3 so I grabbed an xubuntu (XFCE desktop) iso and installed it on my newly aquired old laptop. Not suprising, the laptop has been runing very stable and feels very snappy under XFCE. I am not an Ubuntu/debian guy so I did some quick Googling and found out how to get some of the needed packagesinstalled. Coming from a Fedora/CentOS/RHEL worls, I can never remember the package names under Ubuntu/deban. Here is what I ran to get Java, Silverlight and Flash:
sudo apt-get install icedtea-7-plugin openjdk-7-jre
sudo apt-add-repository ppa:pipelight/stable
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install pipelight-multi
sudo pipelight-plugin --enable silverlight
sudo pipelight-plugin --enable widevine
sudo apt-get install pepperflashplugin-nonfree
sudo update-pepperflashplugin-nonfree --install
With that done, I installed some other things I wanted like Chrome, VLC, Eclipse, etc. They are not needed (neither is Silverlight) but I like to have them available.
Once everything was installed to my liking, I decided to fire up the vSphere web client. Much to my suprise, it worked perfectly. I could even open a remote VM console via Chrome! With that working, I decided to connect to vCO and give it a try. vCO is a Java app that has worked in Linux in the past for me and I was happy to see that is still works without issue under IcedTea.
The laptop is kinda old but its not too slow. It has 4 GB RAM so I could install a Windows 7 VM for the times I need PowerCLI or have to fire up the old C# client. The only real issue I have with it is the awful resolution on the cheap LCD. It does have a VGA port and I do have a 27″ monitor, so that could always work.
If you are thinking of trying Linux as a primary desktop for day to day admin work, it may be the right choice. I think I’ll be keeping this one around!
Please note: I am a VMware employee but this is not a VMware blog. My postings are my own and don’t necessarily represent VMware’s positions, strategies, or opinions.