Automatically accepting all the defaults when installing VMware Tools on Linux

You know when you’ve spent hours (or at least it seems like hours) completing a very dull repetitive task, and then suddenly you go “Doh!”?

I had one of those this morning when installing VMware Tools on a CentOS VM that I will clone to be the basis of about 5-10 other VMs.  Usually this is a long process of accepting a bunch of default answers – it is really very unusual for me to take any non-default option, particularly when there is no X Windows installed. It’s one of those tasks that’s not fast enough to not be dull and yet not slow enough that you can go make a coffee while it completes.  There are at least 15 prompts to answer.

So I had a flash of inspiration, probably fuelled by those final drops of cold coffee from the previous monotonous task! ”I wonder if there’s an option to just have the installer accept all the defaults, and not ask every single time?”

Well guess what, there is…

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Tricky huh? 😉

Now I can just set the installer going (or indeed, script the entire process of getting the package on the machine, unpacking it, installing and then cleaning up).  Colour me one crazily happy man 😛

Peppermint OS logo

Peppermint OS – introducing the cloud-centric desktop

Linux distributions are two-a-penny – whilst Ubuntu is a clear favourite on the desktop right now, this is clearly a commodity market.  Whatever your requirements – desktop, laptop or netbook, full-featured or lightweight – the chances are that there is a Linux platform out there to suit your need.  I personally believe that there is still some way to go for many distros to meet the standards set by Mac OS X as a full-time power-user environment, but that doesn’t mean that Linux can’t hit the sweetspot for many situations, particularly for non-Apple hardware (obviously) or where speed and customisability are key.

That’s why I love the idea of Peppermint – a brand new Linux variant launched this week, aimed at satisfying the needs of the new generation of users that primarily use cloud-based applications (such as Google Apps, Facebook, Twitter, Hulu, Dropbox etc.):

Peppermint OS logoPeppermint is a Linux based Operating System that is Cloud / Web Application Centric, Sleek, User Friendly and Insanely Fast. Download a copy and get going today

Peppermint was designed for enhanced mobility, efficiency and ease of use. While other operating systems are taking 10 minutes to load, you are already connected, communicating and getting things done. And, unlike other operating systems, Peppermint is ready to use out of the box. Why spend hours tinkering and tweaking? Install Peppermint and get going !!

I’ve installed it into a couple of VMs so far, and am loving the speed and usability of the UI, the ‘two-click’ access to new applications and the attention-to-detail that is shown in the way that it is packaged.  

The organisation’s philosophy resounds with me:

As long time Linux users and supporters we have seen certain levels of divide in the Linux community. We have also seen over the years the tendency to not kindly invite new users to Linux who are exploring and looking for an answer beyond the two seemingly defacto systems that dominate the market. The biggest breath of fresh air in the past few years have been Ubuntu and Linux Mint with their commitment to community and offering a welcome place for all to explore.
The notion that in order to use, enjoy and be proficient with Linux is that you will need uber-geek hacking skills is completely False. And, this is just the stigma surrounding Linux that needs to be erased once and for all with Peppermint. There hasn’t been one person we have shown Peppermint OS to who hasn’t understood how to operate it as a desktop environment by just putting it in front of them and turning it on…

Team Peppermint is committed to welcoming new Linux users, offering them a product that is fast, easy to understand, and offering them an arena to experiment with Linux and all the while offering avenues to educate them further. Empowering the planet with Linux is our goal. Will you join us in this journey? We certainly hope so….

Finally, they seem to have made some smart decision decisions:

People have been trying to create an effective web centric operating system for years now. This is especially true in Linux with projects like the Ubuntu Netbook Remix, Google Chrome OS, and Moblin all coming to the forefront in recent years. On the downside of things, these systems, though great for surfing the web, lack a lot of the familiarity that people demand from something they use on a day to day basis. Here at Peppermint, we’re committed to giving you a system that won’t throw you for a loop while trying to get things settled in.

While conceptualizing Peppermint, we toyed around with a lot of ideas trying to determine how best to meet our goal of providing a fast, web-centric operating system that’s easy to learn and effective when put in use. The end result was a decision to use an interface that stays out of your way and let’s you go about your business. The default desktop environment for Peppermint is LXDE(literally, “Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment”) which has shown itself time and again to be user friendly, easy on the eyes, and wicked fast.

Whilst I’m not 100% convinced yet that Cloud-based apps need a Cloud-centric desktop, I do like the idea that OS platforms need to make it much easier for users to get online, find and use these new tools that are becoming so important to us all (well in non-corporate environments at least).

Download Peppermint and check it out.

IBM and Canonical launch netbook platform

This is exciting news – a combined IBM and Ubuntu based netbook platform designed for on-premise and cloud-based collaboration and aimed at emerging markets such as Africa:

IBM, Canonical and Partners Launch Cloud- and Linux-based Netbook Software in Africa

IBM Client for Smart Work Helps Bridge the Digital Divide for Businesses

ARMONK, N.Y. and JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, Sept. 23 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ —
Today IBM (NYSE: IBM) and Canonical are introducing a new, flexible personal computing software package for netbooks and other thin client devices to help businesses in Africa bridge the digital divide by leapfrogging traditional PCs and proprietary software. This is the first cloud- and premise-based Linux netbook software package offered by IBM and Canonical.

Part of IBM’s Smart Work Initiative, the new package targets the rising popularity of low-cost netbooks to make IBM’s industrial-strength software affordable to new, mass audiences in Africa. Businesses that could not afford traditional PCs for all employees can now use any type of device and low-cost software to enable all workers to work smarter anywhere using a variety of devices, regardless of the level of communications infrastructure.

The IBM Client for Smart Work is now available across Africa and is being piloted for other emerging and growth markets worldwide. The solution includes open standards-based email, word processing, spreadsheets, unified communication, social networking and other software for any laptop, netbook, or a variety of mobile devices. It runs on Canonical’s Ubuntu Linux operating system, and provides the option to deliver collaboration through the Web in a cloud service model. This software bundle can also be extended to virtualized workspaces using VERDE from Virtual Bridges, which is available locally through business partners and voice-based collaboration pilots through IBM Research. IBM
estimates that it delivers up to 50 percent savings per seat versus aMicrosoft-based desktop.

“Businesses in emerging markets are looking to gain the freedom and flexibility afforded by open standards,” said Bob Picciano, General Manager, IBM Lotus Software. “The IBM Client for Smart Work builds on the movement toward open
standards and Web-based personal computing by giving people the power to work smarter, regardless of device.”

More >

Whilst I personally would have loved the solution to have a more innovative and engaging name than “IBM Client for Smart Work“, I think IBM should be applauded for making a foray into building solutions explicitly for the emerging market, for creating a solution that embraces both on-premise and cloud-based computing, and its good to see the links between Lotus and Canonical becoming ever stronger.

For more information, check out Ed Brill’s post and this very detailed summary at Gadget Reviews.

Image:IBM open collaboration client solution: Migrating applications to the Linux desktop

IBM open collaboration client solution: Migrating applications to the Linux desktop

Image:IBM open collaboration client solution: Migrating applications to the Linux desktop

We are really seeing a surge in interest around migration of desktops to Linux, and IBM is doing some great work on pushing Lotus solutions as the natural choice for collaboration and productivity tools on that platform.  Some good examples of this have been the recent “Lotus on Redhat” promotion, the VDEL OpenReferent solution and the longer-standing SUSE Open Collaboration Client product.

With regard to the SUSE option, developerWorks have produced four really useful whitepapers covering the migration process:
IBM open collaboration client solution: An introduction
IBM open collaboration client solution: Organizational planning and user segmentation for desktop migration
IBM open collaboration client solution: Technical planning requirements for desktop migration

And now the latest one:
IBM open collaboration client solution: Migrating applications to the Linux desktop

Have you wanted to port your infrastructure and business line applications to a Linux desktop environment, but been deterred by the need to access critical Microsoft Windows or legacy applications? Finding a way to support these critical business line applications is crucial when considering the move to Linux. This article highlights the various tools that let you access these applications from Linux desktops.

In the paper the authors cover tools such as Diamond Edge, Mainsoft, Win4Lin Pro and Ericom software – all really useful if you are going to be looking to migrate a suite of enterprise applications (and their users) across to the open platform…