Practice for Linux - Virtual Machines

One of this year's participants asked about more practice using Unix. Your accounts will be disabled after a week or so, but you will be able to continue using Linux if you want by using a "virtual" machine. Virtualization allows your computer to emultate an entire computer as a software application, and you can run Linux on your own Windows or Mac system without installing another operating system - something that can be difficult.

The easiest way to do this is to download Virtualbox, a free program that runs on either Mac or Windows. Virtualbox is simply the software that handles the virtualization; you will still need to download a "virtual hard drive," which is a file that stores data for the virtual computer.

There are several sites that provide a virtual hard drive that contains a working linux installtion. You can find some instructions for installing these files into virtualbox here. I've included some links to virtual drives below:

  • NMRPipe Virtual Machine (CentOS) - This link is provided by Frank Delaglio, the author of NMRPipe, a popular NMR processing software. You can download the virtual machine at this site (File 9), and it runs CentOS. The administrator (root) password and default username are both given on the site.
  • Scientific Linux (Ubuntu) - This image is provided by Fermilab. It is based on Ubuntu and should have many of the features you would want for python programming and graphics. It may not have all of the biochemistry tools (e.g. Python), but since it is running Ubuntu, installation of Pymol is easy ("sudo apt install pymol").