A few days ago at the suggestion of my trusty pal Heathenx, I downloaded and installed Portable Ubuntu. I must say, I’m quite impressed.
I’ve used Cygwin for quite a while now to get a bit of my Linux fix while working on my XP-Pro box at work. I use it mostly to run a proper bash terminal so that in concert with Dropbox, I can use the fantastic Task command line todo list management tool ubiquitously between computers at work and home. But I’ve always wanted to run things like Gedit, or other Linux based stuff here at work. I once tried getting Cygwin/X running here to achieve some of that but could never seem to put the pieces together and get it working.
I also run #! in a VM for more heavy duty Linux needs (and incidentally I’m now running #! full time on the new laptop and I’m loving it!), but I don’t always want to have to fire up Virtual Box whenever I want to use Gedit.
In steps Portable Ubuntu. With it I get a nice standard Ubuntu menu with a smattering of basic apps, but I now get access to Synaptic, the repos, and who knows what else. I would be surprised if there weren’t some limitations, but so far it seems pretty darn good. I’ve taken a full size screenshot of my desktop at work (1920×1200) showing things like synaptic and gedit working side by side with AutoCad and Chrome. I’ve got the Ubuntu menu over on the left with Auto-Hide turned on so you can’t really see it there.
Anyways, if you’re stuck in a Windows world at work, but want a nice way to mix in some Ubuntu goodness, then give it a shot. The whole shebang actually uses the Xming X Server which I believe is the thing I could never get working with Cygwin/X. But Portable Ubuntu seems to have done the trick.