Slashdot It! A startup in Alameda, Calif. plans to release a kind of holy software grail the third or fourth week of June. Lina said its dual-licensed Lina virtual Linux machine will run more or less normal Linux applications under Windows, Mac, or Linux, with a look and feel native to each. The concept recalls Java, which has long promised "write once, run anywhere" compatibility. As with Java, Lina users will first install a VM specific to their platform, after which they can run binaries compiled not for their particular OS, but for the VM, which aims to hide OS-specific characteristics from the application. In Lina's case, the VM is essentially a Linux environment that supports standard C/C++ applications, or even perl and python, if their respective interpreters are installed. CTO Nile Geisinger explained, "You have to compile binaries specifically for Lina, but it's fairly trivial, no different than compiling binaries for SuSE or Red Hat." In the big picture, the goal is really to bring the huge world of open source software to the masses, said Geisinger, explaining, "We work in an office park with dozens of companies, and we're the only Linux users. Everyday, we are motivated to bring all the fantastic open source applications to the rest of the world." Open source developers will be able to use Lina for free, while commercial developers will pay an as-yet undecided licensing fee, the idea goes. How will it work? Lina comprises a platform-specific application that virtualizes the host PC's x86 processor. A lightly modified Linux kernel (2.6.19, for now) runs on top of the VM. Under the Linux kernel is a filesystem with standard Linux libraries modified to map resources such as library, filesystem, and system calls to analogous resources on the host platform.
Sunday, June 03, 2007
Geeking out with Chew Jek Hui at 12:35 PM