Has anyone here tried Linux or OS X on their device?

Discussion in 'Microsoft Surface Pro 2' started by macmee, Mar 18, 2014.

  1. macmee

    macmee Active Member

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  2. al2fast

    al2fast New Member

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    I have Ubuntu 13.10 installed in virtual box, but dont use it much. After the install of the addons cd, Ubuntu displays full HD resolution. Haven't tried anything with the stylus, more like seeing if I could get it to work or not. I have an 8 GB surface so I gave it 4 GB of ram and 2 processors and it was snappy. I usually go to my desktop for my Ubuntu fix.
     
  3. jrapdx

    jrapdx Member

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    Like al2fast I've used VM's with my SP2, only in my case I've made quite a bit of use of this option. You probably know about Hyper-V--it's included with Win8.1 Pro. I've successfully run Linux and especially FreeBSD in Hyper-V VMs. The latter is handy since FBSD 10.0 is released in VHD format which makes it quite easy to set it up in a Hyper-V VM.

    Running as a server without GUI or X saves a lot of resources, so if comfortable with CLI, it may be the way to go. Depending on the apps going in the VM OS, it uses about 20% of RAM, though CPU usage may not be much at all. One thing that may affect battery life is when Hyper-V is activated, the CPU speed is 2.49 GHz, constantly. However, changing the Hyper-V service to run manually rather than automatically lowers CPU/RAM use just a bit. Even with Hyper-V enabled, `powercfg /batteryreport` shows almost 9 hours estimated battery life overall.

    Still I'm interested in trying dual-boot one of these days. Thought I'd wait until the dust settles a bit more re: SP2. Don't know how any hardware/firmware issues would affect a different OS, e.g., the marvelous Marvell stuff comes to mind. UEFI/Secure Boot is another little hassle, as well as boot-up menu games one might have to play. Having not fiddled with the latter since Vista, not entirely sure how that goes these days.

    Just a couple of days ago there was a post by a member who had successfully dual-booted his SP2, so you might look around for it (I can't remember just which thread it was in). Other OS might not support all of the facilities of the computer as well as Windows does (or is supposed to anyway). Having used Unix-likes extensively, I'm kind of familiar with such limitations. Whether these platforms are better re: battery usage is hard to predict. It may depend on configuration: some OSS "desktops" are as complex, gory and power-hungry as anything MS could devise.

    I'd prefer to keep it simple, but it seems doing that gets harder by the minute.
     
  4. cuban11182

    cuban11182 New Member

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    I've installed OSX on my SP2 and had it running fine. It was very smooth and beautiful. To be honest I removed it thereafter once I found out that I couldn't use Facetime or iMessage due to Apples new method of verifying that it is a apple device trying to sign in. I'm happy with Win 8 and just use Tango that I have installed.
     
  5. gabe406

    gabe406 Member

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    jrapdx,

    I was really interested in you explanation of Hyper-V and the VM's you created. Based on what you experienced, and assuming basic OS installation (specifically FreeBSD), would setting this up on my SP1 be workable? I am concerned about performance in relation to the limited 4GB RAM on the SP1. I know that upgrading to a SP2 would be in my best interests and I am working on that. I was hoping that for now I could at least play with Hyper-V and run just one VM at a time. Your thoughts and feedback are welcomed.
     
  6. jrapdx

    jrapdx Member

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    ATM I've got FBSD running in a VM, this browser (Firefox), and a few other processes under Win8.1, and according to Task Manager ~32% of RAM is used, or 2.6GB out of 8GB on this SP2. So 4GB RAM should be enough to run at least 1 VM without too much strain.

    Factors other than RAM could affect performance, but are not "show-stoppers" depending on goals for using the VM facility. I wanted to be able to develop/maintain server software for our business. Ability to fix bugs, add features, etc., remotely was important. The goal was not running a complete desktop environment in the VM--that would be too resource intensive, slow and unnecessary for the purpose.

    OTOH it is really cool to connect to the server running in the VM from Windows as it gives a realistic emulation of remote connection on the internet, yet in a contained environment. If the server crashes, it can be debugged in the VM--no harm done in the real world.

    There are a few slightly tricky issues making this work, e.g., setting up network connections from the VM to Windows host, and to the "outside" internet at the same time. It's not too complicated once it's figured out. I'm happy to share the arcane details if you're interested.

    Bottom line is running a not-too-fancy FBSD installation in a Hyper-V VM is quite practical for me, and very useful. There's zero penalty for trying it--it's completely reversible if it turns out not to work for you. As I said, glad to give pointers re: getting things to work, at least the parts I know about.
     
  7. WorldIRC

    WorldIRC Member

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    Not sure if anyone can simplify or send me a link?
    I'd like to try out Linux on my SP2 (4GB RAM). What would be involved to take advantage of Hyper-V to get this installed and working?
     
  8. al2fast

    al2fast New Member

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    First you will have to enable Hyper V, Control Panel, Programs and Features, Turn Windows Features on or Off. The locate Hyper V and check the box. Pretty sure your Surface will request a restart then. (first link I included shows this step)

    Download the linux distro .iso you want to try. Here is the link for the latest Ubuntu: http://www.ubuntu.com/download/desktop

    Here is a nice writeup with pics: Hyper-V - How to Use in Windows 8

    From MS on setting up hyper v Install and Configure Virtual Machines on Hyper-V

    Now, when I installed Ubuntu I had a hell of a time connecting to the internet. What I found is that through Hyper V I could not get a DHCP address. What I ended up doing was assigning a static IP to the NIC on my Ubuntu install and I had internet. I personally use Virtual Box only because I have more experience with it and I found with installing the addons CD in virtual box I was able to play around with the GUI in Ubuntu in 1920x1080 and resizing the VM window automatically adjusts resolution. If you are going to be doing the bulk of your work from the terminal then you won't care about that so much. Give it a shot, you can always blow it away if you don't like it and do nothing to the host os!
     
  9. WorldIRC

    WorldIRC Member

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    Hi al2fast,

    Thanks! Honestly, I have no real requirement to test Linux other than to waste time on an 8 hour road trip of mine.
    Which route would you recommend I take for installing Linux? Are you recommending UBUNTU? I know there are many Linux distros...
     
  10. bluegrass

    bluegrass Well-Known Member

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    I have nothing but good things to say abut Ubuntu. I have rescued about 15 laptops & 20 desktops from being discarded by installing Ubuntu. The old machines were XP boxes that we had to get replaced because Microsoft is no longer going to support an XP box. We just wanted to give them away but didn't want to give a potential bomb to people since XP is going to be bombarded with virus after April 11th. Ubuntu amazingly came up with drivers for all the hardware on these various machines. During the installation, it asked you in the beginning if you wanted to install it in a new partition or destroy the existing partition. I suspect that it would be easy to install it and make your Surface a dual boot machine. I might try it with my old SP1 or even my old RT. After you download the Ubuntu iso file you just explode it onto a DVD and your set to go. Of course you'll need to attach a DVD player to your Surface to install it.
     
  11. WorldIRC

    WorldIRC Member

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    Couldn't one boot off USB?

    I was hoping for an "in Windows" solution. Don't necessarily need a dual boot. Something like Parallels on Mac OS would be good.
     
  12. jrapdx

    jrapdx Member

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    Pretty much that's it. Worth noting that after activating Hyper-V, TaskManager will show a constant CPU speed of 2.49 GHz. Don't know if that's just a readout error or if CPU speed is not changing as normally would. Also, I'd set the Hyper-V service to start manually. No point running it if not using any VM, and easy to start when needed.

    A problem I ran into as well. Seems WiFi can't be attached to more than one interface, so using the built-in WiFi with the VM disconnects access from the host. So I'm thinking setting a static IP could allow connection with your router (if it's set up accordingly), but it probably wouldn't work with APs in general. I might be misunderstanding what you did--I'd like to know what I failed to catch.

    Using an accessory USB adapter provided one solution. That way I have internet for the VM, the host OS, and private connections for host to VM as well. There may be better ways to go about it, but this works.
     

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