Delphi on Linux

Tonight I finally got my Delphi VMs running under Ubuntu 10.10 on my 6 core desktop with 16Gb RAM.  I figured this would make for a good machine to run multiple concurrent VMs.  The problem I faced was maintaining compatibility with VMWare Fusion on my Mac, and my VMs that were already on an SSD formatted with HFS+.  I really didn’t want to copy off the VMs and re-format the SSD.  It seemed like no matter what file system I chose, I couldn’t use it on all platforms without buying a commercial driver for at least one OS.

Initially Ubuntu would not start the VMs with VMWare’s Player because the filesystem on my SSD is HFS+ so it was ReadOnly under Linux.  I previously had installed a trial of MacDrive 8 in order to play the VMs under Windows 7, but there was nothing available from this vendor for Linux.  Then I stumbled across Paragon.   The installation was pretty straight forward, but I couldn’t get the drive to show up in the Computer window of Ubuntu even after I mounted it, and confirmed I had write access.  I’m no Linux guru, so I spent a number of hours reading man pages about filesystem and drive handling, trying to figure out what was going on.  I was just about to give up again, when I found this discussion.

Turns out I didn’t need to figure out why VMWare Player wasn’t seeing the drive after I mounted it.  The Ubuntu hfsplus support can write to an HFS drive if on your Mac you turn off Journaling.  You can do so by Right Clicking the Drive in Finder and Selecting Get Info.  Then in the Info window disable journaling and change the permissions for Everyone to be Read/Write.  You can always change the permissions in Linux if you prefer with the ’sudo chmod -R 777 .’ command.

With VMWare Player I can now use my existing VMs on my SSD without having to buy a license for VMWare Workstation.  Now I can use my VMs with Fusion on my Mac, and VMWare Player on my PC.  I now have Delphi on Linux…albeit not natively…yet ;-)

3 Responses to “Delphi on Linux”

  1. Jeroen Pluimers Says:

    Note that by turning off journalling, your filesystem cannot repair itself from disaster recovery.

    Journalling is the reason that HFS and NTFS are much more resilient against failures than FAT/FAT32.

    –jeroen

  2. Dave Haxton Says:

    Having done this ourselves, I can offer one caveat: don’t depend on VMWare to exactly mimic the hardware subsytems of various operating systems (i.e. USB, serial, video, etc.). For example, code that worked fine for USB device detection under the VM failed miserably when run on a ‘real’ machine and vice-versa. We ended up abandoning development under virtual machines for this reason, although to be fair our business is mostly related to hardware devices so we may be a special case.
    Good Luck,
    Dave H.

  3. Larry Hengen Says:

    @Jeroen,

    You’re absolutely right about journalling, but I figured since it’s an SSD my data is much safer than if it were on a normal hard drive. That is of course assuming the OS, or guest OS doesn’t crash and bugger up the data. It’s a risk I’m willing to take to be able to access the data across platforms.

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