Emulation with QEMU

Once you start falling in love with Linux, you may find yourself installing distribution after distribution as you search for the perfect one. That can be a drag if you also re-format your drive every time you install a new distro: it kind of kills the thrill if you have to go back and reconfigure all your stuff (and lose data that you forgot to backup).

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Author and bon vivant Marcel Gagné writes great stuff, including this article, Cooking with Linux – Still Searching for the Ultimate Linux Distro? in Linux Journal. It’s about how you can use QEMU, "a generic and open source machine emulator and virtualizer" to set up virtual disk partitions on virtual machines (that may be different from the non-virtual hardware you’re running it on), and install all the different Linux distributions (or other OSes, including Windows) you like.

What’s nice about running virtualized instances of different Linux distros (or other OSes) instead of using LiveCDs is that you’ve got your primary desktop Linux running underneath. So not only can you do things like take screenshots of the guest OS, but you can switch back and forth from the guest OS to your underlying desktop any time you like.

Thanks for another great article, Marcel!

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