Easily run free Linux software under Windows…for free

Sometimes, you need to connect from Windows to a Unix or Linux system just to run a specific software, for example, if you want to run some Linux open source program under windows. What you need is a Linux machine in your network or a virtual machine running  a linux server under windows itself. Here I describe an easy way to do it using Xming + VMWARE player if you want to run linux in the virtual machine.

Xming is a open source X server that runs under windows, easy to install and use. Just go to the homepage: http://freedesktop.org/wiki/Xming.

VMWARE player is a free computer emulator from IBM. You can download an already made virtual machine (called “virtual appliance”) from the VMWARE website. There are many, just install a Linux distribution that you like or want to experience. I suggest Ubuntu but there is a big choice. You can also create your virtual machine if you like, it is pretty easy with VMWARE server and it is free. It is not required to have a complete installation of Ubuntu with a GUI, a server installation is enough and take less memory. Your GUI will be the Xserver under windows.

The installation of XMING is pretty forward. Once installed, the easiest way to use is to run it straight away. You have an X icon on your windows desktop, run it.

Then you need a remote terminal connection software, the best open source is Putty.
It is an executable, just download it and lunch it. Depending from the remote terminal service that is running on your virtual server under VMWARE player, configure Putty to use it. I suggest OpenSSH. You have also to configure the X11 Forwarding setting in Putty to forward the X session to your windows machine IP address. Done.

You will get a console, login in on your Linux server and lunch the application you want. Magically, it will appear on your windows desktop. I use this method to run application like Kivio (no need to buy Visio ) or other good open source that I will mention in other articles, on my office notebook when I am at home. The server is my Linux machine.

I repeat the instruction:

1) Install under Windows the VMWARE player, Xming and Putty. Run under VMWARE player a Linux server that you simply download form VMWARE website.

2) Have a terminal server running under Linux in the virtual machine, like OpenSSH

3) Execute Xming under windows: double click the X icon

4) Execute Putty: configure it to connect your virtual server Ip and to forward the X11 to your Windows machine IP.

5) Login and run the Linux application.

If you need more help just drop a line in the comment.

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3 Responses to Easily run free Linux software under Windows…for free

  1. Marc says:

    VMware is not from IBM.

  2. koenig says:

    Yes, I made a bit of confusion. I don’t remember why I did such association, maybe in the past there were something related to IBM ?

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