A startup in Alameda, Calif., plans to release a kind of holy grail of software in the third or fourth week of June. Lina said its dual-licensed virtual Linux machine will run more or less normal Linux applications under Windows, Mac or Linux, with a look and feel native to each.
The concept recalls Java, which has long promised “write once, run anywhere” compatibility.
As with Java, Lina users will first install a VM (virtual machine) specific to the platform, after which they can run binaries compiled not for their particular operating systems, but for the VM, which aims to hide OS-specific characteristics from the application.
In Linas case, the VM is essentially a Linux environment that supports standard C/C++ applications, or even Perl and Python, if their respective interpreters are installed.
Chief Technology Officer Nile Geisinger explained, “You have to compile binaries specifically for Lina, but its fairly trivial, no different than compiling binaries for SUSE or Red Hat.”
In the big picture, the goal is really to bring the huge world of open-source software to the masses, said Geisinger, explaining, “We work in an office park with dozens of companies, and were the only Linux users.
“Every day, we are motivated to bring all the fantastic open-source applications to the rest of the world.”