qemu for testing linux livecd’s

I’ve mentioned a few things about linux livecds in the last few days and thought I would also mention a great tool for testing them. QEMU is a program, available for Linux or Microsoft Windows, that allows you to run an operating system within your current desktop. Let me try to clarify, I have my linux desktop fully booted with the editor for this post in the background and open up a run prompt. In the run prompt I type “qemu -cdrom /cdimages/klax-kde-3.4.2.iso” *(quotes are not necessary). This gives it the recent klax-kde-3.4.2 preview livecd as the thing to boot. A window pops up and it’s booting now as I type in the background. I can switch to it, make it full screen and play around with it without the need for a reboot.

A Windows version is available for download from a seperate site.

There are, of course, other ways to customize the booting, say you have a boot floppy in the 3.5″ drive, you could choose to boot from that media. Some interesting tricks are possible. It is available for windows as well and from what I have seen Knoppix has had qemu on their disc so that it would be possible to preview it from within windows. It doesn’t run at native speed, since it is emulating the hardware, but it’s faster than most hardware emulators I’ve seen. You can adjust the amount of memory allocated to the boot environment as well. And now that I’ve about finished the post, I’ve made it to a GUI desktop from the bootcd.

If you’re working on developing a livecd this is a MUST, if you just like testing them out, then it’s extremely useful.

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