Well I’ve tried yet another platform merging solution just today and it’s got some great advantages but only if you’ve got a decent internet connection between you and a Windows machine running somewhere.

I love using Ubuntu and being able to add whatever software I want to it on a whim without illegally downloading software or worrying about viruses BUT… every once in a while I either need to test or use a Windows only program where one of my other virtualization modes won’t cut it.

  • VirtualBox is great, but requires a lot of memory and a decent processor.  Not ideal for me while using my netbook since it only has 1gb of ram and a mobile processor, which is plenty for Ubuntu but not for running Ubuntu and Windows XP simultaneously.
  • Wine, tried and true, without a doubt has it’s merits but getting everything working correctly can be quite a chore, even installing Internet Explorer is relatively easy but it doesn’t work 100% (understandably).
  • Crossover, from codeweavers, takes a lot of the guesswork out of using Wine but it’s still Wine in the end and suffers from the quirks of Wine.  It does cost a little but I think it’s very affordable.
  • rdesktop, is a Linux command line client which allows users to connect to a Windows machine with terminal services running.  There is a gui client ‘grdesktop’ which supports a little more than tsclient like copy/pasting from local and multiple remote clipboards.
  • Now for Cendio AB – SeamlessRDP, first of all, it runs on the terminal server.  You use rdesktop from Linux to connect to the terminal server which you then specify in rdesktop you want to use seamlessrdp.exe as your shell and it basically gives you a remote desktop window that resizes with your application.  This is the same type of application publishing available in Windows 2008 server but on Windows client operating systems and I think SeamlessRDP also enables rdesktop to make a more published application feel while making it compatible with rdesktop’s seamless mode.  One Note: The instructions for getting this to work on the Cendio site didn’t mention enabling fast user switching in Windows XP to get this working, this may be a requirement of rdesktop’s seamless mode in general but it’s required nevertheless.

Published applications are processed and rendered on the terminal server and only the view of the application’s window is sent to the client machine.  So for me, on my netbook or otherwise and as long as I can connect to my terminal server, it’s ideal since all the processing and the majority of the memory consumption takes place on the server not to mention it’s an actual Windows environment, not Wine.  Also, I don’t have to deal with a full screen remote desktop session that I’d have to switch out of to get to other local applications.  If I were trying to play games this wouldn’t be ideal of course but for the applications that I run it’s doing well so far.