Gotta love virtualization

From the "This is a First" Department....

While sitting in the Northwest WorldClubs lounge on my way to TechEd2008, I discovered that Sun is discontinuing their Sun Developer Express program (which I find a bummer--I think they should have done the opposite, in fact, and ramped it up even further, creating a preconfigured/prestocked image with all the open-source tools they do, like OpenJDK and Postgres, ready to build/hack inside it) in favor of their OpenSolaris initiative. Officially, SXDE "goes away" in July, and the download links will automatically forward over to OpenSolaris.org.

OK, fine. Go visit that site.

Ugh, bummer: no prebuilt VMWare images anywhere on the site. That, to me, was the golden apogee of the SXDE program, because it meant that with a single download (granted, of 2GB in size) I could have a nearly-complete Java development environment up and running with almost no work on my part. Now I'm going to have to build an image of my own, and put all the tools (Sun Studio, NetBeans, various JDK images, whatever's not part of the OpenSolaris install) into a base image, and possibly do this over and over again as they release new OpenSolaris releases. Crud.

Whatever.

I download the ISO from the OpenSolaris site (kudos to Northwest for fat pipes in their lounge!), and it finishes just as it's time to walk (jog/brisk-walk might be more appropriate--I was cutting a tad bit close) to the gate. I hop on the flight, take my seat. Turns out, we have about ten or fifteen minutes before we're off the ground, so I pop open the MacBook Pro, flip over to VMWare Fusion, create a new VM, and being the operating system install. I just finish with some of the basics when it's time to go, so I close the lid, and once we hit 10,000 feet, I pop it back open again and let the thing whir away at the drive.

And that's when it hits me.

I'm doing an operating system install. On my laptop. In a virtual machine image. Using an ISO I downloaded while at the airport. And I'm writing this blog post as I do it.

I find that incredibly cool.

I don't know about you, but forget mashups and Web 2.0, I think virtualization stands out as the most important technical innovation of the decade.