Linux on Windows with CoLinux
Some of us still need to use Windows desktops. Your work environment might call for it; your family may only have a Windows machine at home; or perhaps you just plain prefer Windows as a desktop operating system. And that’s OK. But there are situations when you need Linux when you’re running Windows.
There is at least one commercial product on the market, EMC’s VMWare Workstation 5 For Windows, which does just that and does a great job, albeit for $200 per copy. If you’re willing to spend the extra money to run any Linux distribution that you want within Windows, it’s a great application to have.
But for those of us who are cheapskates, there’s an alternative: Cooperative Linux, or CoLinux for short. CoLinux is an open source project that allows you to run a specially-modified Linux kernel as a Windows application without having to use virtualization software. There’s a catch, though: you can’t just run Fedora Core or any old Linux distribution out of the box. Instead, you have to download system images of modified versions of distributions that have been specifically altered to run on CoLinux.
But thankfully, the CoLinux community is pretty active and several of the popular distros, such as Debian, Fedora, and Knoppix have been ported.