[Techtalk] cross-platform, cross-browser testing

Rasjid Wilcox rasjidw at openminddev.net
Sat Feb 22 02:17:10 EST 2003

On Fri, 21 Feb 2003 7:11 am, Emma Jane Hogbin wrote:
> If I don't want to have to dual boot I see myself having three
> options:
> 	- windows emulation (wine, crossover, plex86)
> 	- virtual machine (not sure what this is really called, but think VMWare)
> 	- buy a second, cheapo windows machine for the same $$ I'd spend on
> 	  VMWare

I bought VMWare for Linux around 9 months ago.  It is the only piece of Linux 
software I've ever bought, and I have absolutely no regrets about the 
purchase.  One of its best features (in terms of testing websites) is that 
you can 'Suspend' and 'Resume' an OS session at the click of a button.  So to 
test several versions of IE while working on a page, it is just 'Resume', hit 
Refresh in IE 5.0, 'Suspend', 'Resume', hit Refresh in IE 6.0, 'Suspend' etc.  
You could test a page across all versions of IE in around a minute.  
Alternately, if you have enough memory, you can have all versions running at 
the same time, and simply ALT-TAB between them.

However, a word of warning.  VMWare requires memory.  256MB is probably the 
minimum.  You can run one instance of VMWare comfortably on that (host and 
guest getting 128MB each), two with a performance hit.  It also requires 
harddrive space, although not as much as you might think.  A clean install of 
Win98 only takes up 203MB, a clean NT install 345MB.  

The next alternative I would suggest would be the second cheap machine.  I 
have quite happily had 4 OSes installed on a single machine using grub (2 
versions of windows, 2 versions of linux), and grub would easily do many 
more.  If you put the /boot directory on its own partition accessible by all 
the OSes, you can even set up a shell or .bat script to 'reboot into OS foo 
next', which means that you can go and make a cup of tea while the system 
reboots into the next OS.

If you were on a desktop system, I would unequivocally recommend getting 
VMWare.  As it seems that you are on a laptop (with limited harddrive space, 
and presumably limited space for memory upgrades), I'm not sure which is 
best.  It may depend on how much you like tea (or perhaps how much memory the 
laptop has).



Rasjid Wilcox
Canberra, Australia (UTC +11 hrs)

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