A thousand ways that didn’t work

I spent the entire afternoon trying to figure out how I can do a live teleconference with screensharing so that I can show people actual Drupal tips and tricks instead of handwaving through a bunch of slides. Rube Goldberg would probably have approved of all the different things I tried. Unfortunately, none of them worked. <sigh>

The web conference application-sharing feature is only available on Internet Explorer. My development environment is definitely Linux-based. Here are all the things I tried:

  • I thought of running my existing Linux partition within Windows as a virtual machine, but I couldn’t find a free way to work with raw disk partitions with a Windows host.
  • I thought of using VNC to connect my Linux laptop to a Windows desktop, which would then be in charge of running the web conference. I _think_ it works… but I can’t view the shared screen on Linux, and we don’t have another Windows . Maybe there’s something wrong with the version of Java integrated into my browser.
  • I tried booting to Linux and running Windows inside a VM, but the VMWare Server I had just installed didn’t seem to have a way to create an image that uses an existing partition.
  • I eventually figured out how to create a SCSI passthrough device, but I got “Disk read error” when trying to boot Windows from Grub.
  • I found an older copy of VMWare Server on my hard disk. I remembered getting this to work before, and after some fiddling, I got Windows to boot again. Except I’d forgotten my Windows password.
  • After I reset my password, I booted Windows again as a virtual machine. It was really, really slow, and there was no way I was going to be able to run that, Eclipse, Emacs, Firefox, and the LAMP stack without speaking… really… slowly…
  • And somewhere along the way, I managed to break my Lotus Notes installation – I must’ve upgraded or uninstalled one of the libraries it wants. I’ll need to fix that tonight.

It was an exercise in frustration, but I needed to probe this to see if it was doable. I guess it’ll be back to slides for the teleconference, with more details in blog posts or recordings. For my talk at DrupalCon, I can do it live from Linux (assuming I get the projector stuff sorted out).

Ah… It’s a really good thing that W- and J- are so good at cheering me up! =)

  • Thank goodness! I figured out how to get my Lotus Notes to work again!

    The problem was that Lotus Notes 8.5 would open, ask for my password, display the splash screen, and then disappear.

    After I reinstalled the IBM JRE and JDK, things worked again. HOORAY!

  • Brad

    Virtual Box (http://www.virtualbox.org/) might work for you as a VMware replacement. Just a thought.

    I liked your presentation on slideshare.

  • May I suggest a 1001th way that you could try.

    If you already have a windows desktop where you will do the screensharing , you can install Xming (http://sourceforge.net/projects/xming) and PUTTY.

    Using Xming you can forward your X windows apps from your linux desktop to the windows desktop. You need putty because its done over SSH.

    I use to have windows on my laptop and even when my linux desktop is just beside me most of the time, I would get lazy and use Xming to forward Evolution, Xterm etc

  • <nod> That’s actually what I did a bit earlier in this sequence, but since I didn’t have another Windows computer around, I couldn’t test if it was being shared properly. =)