[TriLUG] review of bochs and plex86
Andrew C. Oliver
Sat, 01 Sep 2001 18:04:46 -0400
I've currently got an evaluation of VMWare thats about to run out. I'm
quite impressed with it and may indeed purchase a copy. However, I'd
prefer an opensource alternative. So I stumbled across bochs and
plex86. Apparently at one time they were basically one project.
bochs is on sourceforge at (suprise!) bochs.sourceforge.net or
sourceforge.net/bochs. Plex86 is at www.plex86.org.
The have slightly differing goals. plex86 is inteded to be more like
vmware an x86 only. Bochs is intended to be platform independant (or at
least run platform independantly) while emulating an x86.
Bochs is further along then plex86. I can boot it and start the windows
98 install. However, no mouse support is available as of yet. (there
is but it says "DONT USE THIS" and that its not supported anywhere it
needs to be). The installation gets part way through and then crashes.
Bochs can fully run dos (as far as I can tell) though.
Plex86 is pretty early along in many ways and most of the more mature
code is taken right from bochs. Plex86 promises greater performance
once its finished and will probably have greater stability (its easier
to create a vm for the hardware you're running on when you are running
on that hardware already.)
However as it stands, I did get plex86 to boot dos as well (after
several attempts to pick the right set of code and actually having to
find pieces that were in the wrong place via the makefile). It just
crashes before the first gui screen comes up in the windows 98 setup.
Currently plex86 by my count is WAY slower then bochs.
All in all neither of these are ready to use even for my limited purpose
(run excel and biffview), but both seem to be promising. I'd bet my
money on plex86 in the long term as the bochs founder left (more or
less) the bochs project to work on plex86, however bochs is one of the
most active projects on sourceforge.
All in all it looks like I will be buying vmware, but maybe one day I'll
be able to upgrade to bochs or plex86.
Through all my fiddling I must say.. I didn't crash my system! I'll
certainly be sending my comendations and best wishes to the authors, but
I'll have to wait to use these for more serious work.
www.sourceforge.net/projects/poi - port of Excel format to java
- fix java generics!