Alternatives for Utilizing Mint AND Windows

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Alternatives for Utilizing Mint AND Windows

Postby mcash454 on Sun Oct 18, 2009 1:42 pm

So, I have been using Mint (Gloria x64) for a few months and absolutely love it. I installed it on my desktop and can dual-boot either Mint of Vista Home Premium. I definitely prefer to use Mint for pretty much everything.

BUT, here's my problem. I also own a PS3, and am amazed at the ability to stream Netflix and Hulu (along with a few other cats and dogs) to the PS3 with a media server (called Play On, which is a Windows-only program). So to do this I have to be booted into my Vista OS. This makes it inconvenient to use Mint because I have to reboot every time. Or it becomes inconvenient to stream Netflix or Hulu to the PS3 because I need to go to my desktop and reboot every time.

I'm looking for some ideas on how best to solve this problem.....

1) Install Mint using Mint4Win instead of dual-booting. How does this affect performance and security (I'm still in Windows....)?

2) Install XP or Vista in Mint as a Virtual machine using VirtualBox. I like this idea, but my main concern with this option is performance. I have 4GB RAM, and this Play On program has a min. requirement of 1GB, so I should be able to allot 2GB to the virtual machine and be OK. But I'm still a little worried that I won't be able to stream high quality video this way. I guess I won't know for sure until I try it.

3) Build a cheap machine with Windows and use it pretty much exclusively as a media server. I'm not sure this is really worth it. I really do like Mint and everything, but it's awesomeness may not be enough to make me want to either give away PS3 streaming or pay a few hundred bucks :)

I have a Vista and an XP license just laying around, so that's not a concern. I'm just not sure what the most prudent course of action is at this point. I am definitely not an expert in understanding the nuances of how a virtual machine works (or how Mint4Win works). Any ideas on how you might address the problem?

Thanks in advance!
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Re: Alternatives for Utilizing Mint AND Windows

Postby David Hunter on Sun Oct 18, 2009 7:04 pm

Hi mcash,

1) Mint4Win is not Mint running in Windows, as I think you believe. It is just Mint installed on the Windows partition, and the Windows bootloader modified to allow booting to Mint as well (rather than installing GRUB). You'll still need to reboot to load Mint or Windows.

2) I considered having a virtual Windows myself; I have a gig of RAM total and doing what you describe works perfectly fine with such a small amount of RAM. However, I had issues getting VirtualBox to detect my USB ports - I don't know if this is a widespread problem or not as I never really bothered trying to fix it!

The main reason for my not bothering with virtualisation is the following: I think you'd be better of downloading Wine (www.winehq.org) - download the .deb installer directly from http://wine.budgetdedicated.com/archive/index.html . Wine is not an emulator, nor a virtualiser. Instead, it installs key Windows files to your Linux installation, and allows Windows programs to run by pointing them to the Windows files. Wine is about 70 meg when installed, so it's no where near as big as a full Windows installation, and there is no dual-boot or separate partitions, etc. It's fuss-free and easy to use.

Failing that, there may be a program available in the Synaptic repo's?

3) Don't waste money on Windows. lol.
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Re: Alternatives for Utilizing Mint AND Windows

Postby FreeImposter on Sun Oct 18, 2009 9:33 pm

Honestly, I was going to suggest Wine also. :D
Give it a shot. Probably the simplest solution.
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Re: Alternatives for Utilizing Mint AND Windows

Postby Pierre on Mon Oct 19, 2009 9:47 am

Try the PlayOnLinux deb :-
http://www.playonlinux.com/en/download.html

or the HowTo - over on the Ultimate site :-
http://forumubuntusoftware.info/viewtop ... =13&t=3886
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Re: Alternatives for Utilizing Mint AND Windows

Postby mcash454 on Mon Oct 19, 2009 7:31 pm

David Hunter wrote:Hi mcash,

1) Mint4Win is not Mint running in Windows, as I think you believe. It is just Mint installed on the Windows partition, and the Windows bootloader modified to allow booting to Mint as well (rather than installing GRUB). You'll still need to reboot to load Mint or Windows.


Thanks David. You're right, I had a misperception of Mint4Win. The real capability of Mint4Win doesn't help me at all :o

David Hunter wrote:2) I considered having a virtual Windows myself; I have a gig of RAM total and doing what you describe works perfectly fine with such a small amount of RAM. However, I had issues getting VirtualBox to detect my USB ports - I don't know if this is a widespread problem or not as I never really bothered trying to fix it!

The main reason for my not bothering with virtualisation is the following: I think you'd be better of downloading Wine (http://www.winehq.org) - download the .deb installer directly from http://wine.budgetdedicated.com/archive/index.html . Wine is not an emulator, nor a virtualiser. Instead, it installs key Windows files to your Linux installation, and allows Windows programs to run by pointing them to the Windows files. Wine is about 70 meg when installed, so it's no where near as big as a full Windows installation, and there is no dual-boot or separate partitions, etc. It's fuss-free and easy to use.

Failing that, there may be a program available in the Synaptic repo's?

3) Don't waste money on Windows. lol.


I can verify that the VirtualBox option just doesn't cut the mustard. It was quite a task, given my own low level of expertise, but I did manage to get an XP SP2 VB set up, and installed Play On. I even managed to stream the video to my PS3, but the performance of the virtual machine was just too crappy to make it work. I toyed around with adjusting how much RAM I allocated to the host and guest, but it was always jittery no matter what I tried.

I am going to try the Wine option, hopefully tonight, and if that doesn't solve it I'll look more into this PlayOnLinux thing Pierre mentioned.
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Re: Alternatives for Utilizing Mint AND Windows

Postby mcash454 on Mon Oct 19, 2009 10:17 pm

Well, I regret to inform you that I have failed in my attempts to utilize WINE to run the Play On Media Server.

PlayOn requires Microsoft .NET 2, which WINE does not support. I did go through the exercise of running winetricks and selecting dotnet20 (though the WINE website says very few programs work doing this), but having done that the PlayOn installer fails and says that my operating system is not Windows 2000, Windows XP, or Windows Vista.

The PlayOnLinux program uses WINE as its core, so I have to assume it is going to have the same problems, correct?

I may just have to chalk this one up in the loss column. Worse things have happened.....

(But if there are other plausible solutions out there, I'd love to hear about them!)
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Re: Alternatives for Utilizing Mint AND Windows

Postby David Hunter on Tue Oct 20, 2009 1:47 am

I'd give PlayOnLinux a go, at least. Nothing to lose, right?
Let us know how you get on.
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Re: Alternatives for Utilizing Mint AND Windows

Postby Pierre on Tue Oct 20, 2009 9:50 am

Play on Linux included in this distro, which allows playing of windows games in a nearly seamless manner.


You DO have to have M$IE 7 installed, to "make it work".
:(
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Re: Alternatives for Utilizing Mint AND Windows

Postby mcash454 on Tue Oct 20, 2009 6:44 pm

Pierre wrote:
Play on Linux included in this distro, which allows playing of windows games in a nearly seamless manner.


You DO have to have M$IE 7 installed, to "make it work".
:(

Yeah, the PlayOn media server has some extreme dependencies on Microsoft / Windows 'stuff'. It is just out of my league.

Here's a thread on the PlayOn site about the same topic. They also came to the same conclusion - no dice.
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Re: Alternatives for Utilizing Mint AND Windows

Postby Pierre on Fri Oct 23, 2009 6:29 am

The PoL install did go ok, - but in the process ALL of the updates, some like OOO, which I don't keep really up-to-date,
the kernel & stuff were all updated - some 150Mb.
The NET framework, Direct X 9c , etc another 150Mb, so its a big download just to get M$IE working.

I haven't tried any games or S/w as yet. will later, though.
Does look like a nicer front-end for Wine, though.

Under wine itself, no installed stuff appears, only under PoL.
:)

EDIT: I don't have most of the games that are listed, so I can't test them.
the odd disk that I ran, installed ok, but the game wouldn't run. more of a wine issue, I think.

I'd say, that those that have had a script made for them should work better.
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Re: Alternatives for Utilizing Mint AND Windows

Postby David Hunter on Sat Oct 24, 2009 8:53 pm

What version of Wine are you using? If it's the one from the package manager (v1.0.0), it's way out of date.
The current stable version is 1.1.31 and the beta release 1.1.32 I installed last night and have had no issues with games since updating. I was once stuck on the v.1.0.0 package before realizing it was out of date!

Glad to hear POL is at least working... despite the huge MS download needed.
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Re: Alternatives for Utilizing Mint AND Windows

Postby mcash454 on Sun Oct 25, 2009 12:07 pm

I got lazy :lol:

I used this issue as an excuse to see how little I could spend and use the components I have laying around here to build a machine to act as nothing more than a media server. Right now I'm at $110, but that includes $15 to get a Vista recovery CD from Hewlett-Packard (who sold me a really horrible laptop that burnt up shortly after its warranty expired). This could free me from my dual-boot requirement on my desktop system, but I don't have the MB/CPU I ordered yet, so that's just speculation for now....
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