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Experiment with Androidx86
Virtual machines are among the best ways to experiment with a new operating system. Now, we can download a specialized version of Android that can run within a virtual machine. In this gallery, I will go through the steps to create the virtual machine. I would be remiss if I didn’t send credit to Eric Sloof of NTPRO.NL, who showed this in a recent blog post.
This gallery is based on the Androidx86.org version of the Android operating system. This is not a Google project, but technologists across the board will appreciate the ability to run an Android-like operating systems on other platforms.
Get the download
The first step is to get the CD image of Androidx86.org from the download page. This gallery will focus on this distribution, which most closely aligns to mainstream Android 1.6.
Start the virtual machine wizard
Start the new virtual machine wizard; this gallery will use VMware Workstation; VMware ESXi will work as well. Other hypervisors such as Oracle VirtualBox and VMware Fusion should work also. In the VMware Workstation wizard, we’ll start with the Custom (advanced) option.
Choose a compatibility level
The virtual machine compatibility level is not that important of a decision unless you plan on moving the virtual machine from one hypervisor to another. The default option gives the most flexibility with the VMware hypervisor offerings. Given that this is a Live CD, meaning the CD boots to a usable operating environment, the recreation process should be straightforward.
Locate the CD-ROM .ISO
Point the virtual machine wizard to the CD-ROM .ISO file that was downloaded in the earlier step. VMware Workstation should clarify that the Android Live CD download from Androidx86.org is a variant of FreeBSD. Click Next to continue the wizard.
Name the virtual machine
Give the virtual machine a name and location that fits for where you want to keep it. It will not be a large virtual machine due to the fact that it is a Live CD, and the largest disk consumer will be a memory swap file.
The next step in the wizard will prompt you to provision the virtual machine with a number of processors. Given that Android, including the Androidx86.org distribution, is a lightweight operating system; the single processor with a single core will be adequate.
In the next step of the wizard, you are prompted to provision memory for the virtual machine. The same goes here; a minimal amount of memory is needed. The 256 MB allotment shown in the wizard is the default amount, and will be sufficient for the Androidx86 Live CD environment. Click Next to continue the wizard.
The networking is now determined for the Androidx86 virtual machine. The main options would be NAT or bridged. The bridged option will put the virtual machine on the same network as the host system, if it is permitted in the networking configuration. The NAT option is a safe option to use, as the Androidx86 virtual machine is kept behind the VMware workstation’s IP address.
Create a new disk
The next steps of the wizard will prompt you to create a new disk for the Androidx86 Live CD. Simply creating a new disk that is nominal in size will be sufficient. The wizard will create an 8.0 GB VMDK file, and it will be thin-provisioned by default. It won’t consume much by being empty; though, if you have a wild hair, you may wish to attempt to install the Androidx86 environment on the virtual disk.
Power on the VM
Now the virtual machine is ready to be powered on. You can add notes or other descriptions that make sense in the fields within VMware Workstation.
Start up the environment
When this virtual machine is powered on, you have the option to install or run Androidx86 as a Live CD environment. The default is to run it as a Live environment, and for most situations this will be appropriate. Press enter to start the environment.
Once the Androidx86 Live environment is online, you will have a functional workspace to experiment with an Android OS variant.
Look out for newer versions
Applications such as the browser can be opened, and some consistent Android behavior items will pop-up, as shown. While this environment is not representative of any tablet or phone on the market, it is a good way to poke around the operating system without any better options available.
The Androidx86 site has been quiet for a bit, but if a 2.1 or 2.2 version of the Live environment becomes available, it will surely be featured in another gallery.