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RootsMagic in a virtual machine?


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#1 robertjacobs0

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Posted 10 March 2017 - 12:58 PM

I'd like to learn of the experiences of anyone who has run RootsMagic on a virtual Windows XP or 7 machine under Linux. I'm getting awfully tired of all the advertising I get and am considering switching to Ubuntu. There's one recent report that Microsoft is starting to put advertising in the Windows 10 file explorer.



#2 uberdorf

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Posted 10 March 2017 - 11:57 PM

I've had it work in Windows XP and Windows 10 in a Virtual Machine, but would recommend using WINE 2.x instead.  I remember having to install a few dependencies in XP, but don't remember which ones.  And the XP had to have all the updates of course.  I didn't use Windows 7, but it should be fine.  I used VirtualBox as my Virtual Machine, and I think I allocated 4 GB of RAM and one core of my CPU to it.  I don't recommend XP though, because of the problems in finding a decent AV that will still work on XP.  Most of the major antivirus companies dropped support for XP by now, and of course there is the whole malware magnet thing going for XP.  Also, when there were kernel updates to the host OS (either Ubuntu or Linux Mint in my case), then the Virtual Machine would often have to be removed and reloaded.

 

What I do now, and it is much easier in my opinion, is to use WINE 2.x with Kubuntu 16.10.  It works with the LTS version, Ubuntu 16.04 Gnome and KDE too, by the way.  (When 16.10 support runs out I will probably go back to 16.04 myself since LTS support is 5 years.)  https://www.winehq.org/ The older WINE 1.x in the Ubuntu repositories required various dependencies and was a hassle for me.  However, the newer 2.x series of WINE works without having to figure out which dependencies are missing.  There are instructions in the Wine site on how to install the 2.x version in Ubuntu.  Make sure the default installation in Wine configuration is Windows 7 by opening a terminal and typing winecfg into it.  No sudo or any other command, just winecfg and hit enter.  Then the first time you open the .exe file in Ubuntu for Rootsmagic, Wine will ask to install 3 things, 2 of which are related to GECKO and I forgot what the other thing was.  Let Wine install those three things, and Rootsmagic should then install and work fine.

 

Either way, I would recommend having at least 4 GB of RAM, preferable more, in the computer.  When I ran Rootsmagic on Wine with a pc with only 3 GB of RAM, it would consistently use the swap when I would have Rootsmagic, the file browser, firefox, and a pdf book file open.  6 GB is much better with Wine, and I would recommend having 8 GB of RAM if you use a virtual machine on anything based on or higher than Ubuntu 16.04 because 16.04 uses more memory (1-1.5 GB usually with Dropbox and the NVIDIA driver installed in my case) than earlier versions of Ubuntu like 14.04.



#3 robertjacobs0

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Posted 11 March 2017 - 01:28 AM

Thanks so much, Uberdorf. I'm considering this very seriously. I may be stuck with a virtual machine rather than Wine because I also use John Cardinal's wonderful GedSite program and I've heard that it won't run under Wine.

 

I'm especially grateful for your advice on memory. It's not an issue on my big machine, which has 16 GB, but I am about to get a new laptop and will make sure that its memory is expandable.

 

All good wishes.

 

Robert



#4 Johnj_au

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Posted 11 March 2017 - 07:17 AM

Hi robertjacobs0 - I'm also very interested in this virtual machine question, but from a slightly different angle.  I run RM7 for Mac (which is RM7 under Wine), and I'm desperate to fine a way to run GedSite outside of my Parallels/Windows10 environment, which I keep solely to run GedSite. If you find any way to run GedSite outside of Windows then I would take it as a real favour if you could let me in on the secret (perhaps off-forum as this isn't really a RootsMagic question).  I hadn't thought of a Linux virtual machine so interested in seeing how things pan out.

 

Regards ... John.



#5 Jerry Bryan

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Posted 11 March 2017 - 08:54 AM

....   I'm desperate to fine a way to run GedSite outside of my Parallels/Windows10 environment, which I keep solely to run GedSite.

 

There is a certain irony here. The RM developers are moving mountains to make RM into an app that will run natively in both the PC and Mac environments. At the same time a new Windows app called GedSite comes along that can make wonderful Web sites from RM data. What is a Mac/RM/GedSite user to do?

 

Mac/RM users have been waiting for years for a version of RM that will run natively on a Mac, and now if they are also a GedSite user then they are stuck with continuing to have to have some kind of Windows environment. I wonder if the simplest thing to do might be simply to have a separate, low end Windows machine that does nothing but run GedSite.

 

Jerry



#6 robertjacobs0

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Posted 11 March 2017 - 09:11 AM

Dear Johnj_au,

 

I'm a long way from being able to answer your question. I seem to recollect a post from John Cardinal on another forum, whose gist was that GedSite requires the Microsoft Net Framework (maybe it was Silverlight) and consequently could only run under Windows. I've posted an inquiry on the GedSite forum, but have not seen a response yet.

 

Meanwhile the project has only proceeded as far as shrinking my laptop system partition to make room for a Linux distribution. Perhaps I'll install that in a dual-boot configuration later today.

 

If I learn anything I'll be happy to pass it on to you, either directly or via the GedSite forum. I'm not sure it's quite fair to use the RootsMagic company board for extensive discussion of another software program.

 

 

Robert



#7 robertjacobs0

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Posted 11 March 2017 - 09:27 AM

Dear Jerry,

 

I suspect that it will prove to be simplest to run RootsMagic & GedSite in a virtual Windows installation either on a Mac or Linux. Right now hardware is ahead of software in the sense that genealogical programs do not challenge or slow operations in ways that cannot be ameliorated by a little more RAM and/or storage. Both of the latter are fairly cheap nowadays.

 

Using the same box requires no expense, no leaping from one box to the other, no synchronization problems. If it can't be done seamlessly in Linux (I have no experience thus far) then dual boot should do the job. Ubuntu, at least, can read, write & manipulate the NTFS file system so the RootsMagic GEDCOM outputs could go directly into the Windows partition.

 

 

Robert



#8 keithcstone

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Posted 13 March 2017 - 06:50 AM

I use RM7 both on Mac and Windows, on the same machine. I use VMware Fusion because I can take a VM on a Mac created with Fusion and run it as is on a Windows machine under VMware Workstation. I have used Parallels in the past.

 

I don't see any performance issues, and I can compare against a real Windows laptop. I use Windows for reasons other than geneology, but having the Windows VM handy means Windows only tools like GenMerge are always available without worrying about the peculiarities of WINE.



#9 robertjacobs0

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Posted 13 March 2017 - 08:55 AM

Thanks, Keith. I've got Ubuntu installed, but the RootsMagic part of the project is on hold while I try to find out how to get Ubuntu to mirror my laptop display on my smart TV. The hardware is OK -- Win10 does the mirroring perfectly.

 

 

Robert



#10 Dora

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Posted 20 July 2019 - 01:12 AM

I'm having trouble getting Rootsmagic to work properly even in Crossover on Ubuntu 18.04, so I tried it in 64 bit Windows 7 home in VirtualBox.   It slowed to a crawl.  Making sure MSXML6, flash, Internet Explorer, and Net Frame or whatever it's called were installed helped a little.   Expanding resources like RAM and processor cores did not help at all.   

 

In Crossover Rootsmagic is almost normal but still a little slow.

 

Then I tried 32 bit Windows 7 Professional, and Rootsmagic works almost normally.

 

On the same 64 bit computer in Windows 7 Home it worked perfectly.   

 

I think that Rootsmagic is struggling to run in 64 bit operating systems.  The extras you have to add to make it run are intensive graphics stuff that genealogical software with a GUI interface that uses XML should hardly need to run.    Since even diehard users of old equipment like me are no longer using 32 bit computers, it's hard to imagine why Rootsmagic does not update.   It's hard to believe they're trying very hard to do much of anything.   They seem to be a small group of elderly people.   



#11 Don Newcomb

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Posted 21 July 2019 - 03:42 PM

I've run RM6 under WINE on Linux. I can't vouch for every feature but the basics seem to work.



#12 PaperStainer

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Posted 23 July 2019 - 03:44 AM

I'm having trouble getting Rootsmagic to work properly even in Crossover on Ubuntu 18.04, so I tried it in 64 bit Windows 7 home in VirtualBox.   It slowed to a crawl.  Making sure MSXML6, flash, Internet Explorer, and Net Frame or whatever it's called were installed helped a little.   Expanding resources like RAM and processor cores did not help at all.   

 

In Crossover Rootsmagic is almost normal but still a little slow.

 

Then I tried 32 bit Windows 7 Professional, and Rootsmagic works almost normally.

 

On the same 64 bit computer in Windows 7 Home it worked perfectly.   

 

I think that Rootsmagic is struggling to run in 64 bit operating systems.  The extras you have to add to make it run are intensive graphics stuff that genealogical software with a GUI interface that uses XML should hardly need to run.    Since even diehard users of old equipment like me are no longer using 32 bit computers, it's hard to imagine why Rootsmagic does not update.   It's hard to believe they're trying very hard to do much of anything.   They seem to be a small group of elderly people.   

I am currently running RM7 under Wine on Linux. It works well.

 

I also have an installation in a Windows 7 Home 64 bit virtual machine running under Virtualbox (on the same computer) and RM is at least as fast there.

Having said that, the Windows virtual machine has its own SSD dedicated to it. I expect that RM is I/O bound (waiting for data from the database) rather than compute bound and so anything you can do to speed up data access would help.



#13 Jerry Bryan

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Posted 23 July 2019 - 06:50 AM

Having said that, the Windows virtual machine has its own SSD dedicated to it. I expect that RM is I/O bound (waiting for data from the database) rather than compute bound and so anything you can do to speed up data access would help.

 

I run RM on two different Windows machines. The machines are identical 16GB HP Elitebooks, except that one of them has an SSD and the other one does not. RM definitely runs a lot faster on the machine with the SSD than on the machine without. I'm certain that RM is mostly I/O bound rather than compute bound, and my little sample size of one seems to confirm it.

 

Some things I run are about the same speed on both machines, and with 16GB memory, Windows itself usually does a pretty good job of caching the I/O operations. But with a relational database such as is used by RM, caching the I/O operations can't totally compensate for the slowness of the rotational disk especially when all database updates actually do have to be written to the disk immediately.

 

I mentioned GedSite earlier in this thread. It's a Windows only program which makes wonderful Web sites from RM data (and from data from other genealogy software). About 99% of the time I spend "working on GedSite" is really spent working inside of RM, prepping my data for the way I want it displayed in GedSite. But when it is creating a Web site, GedSite itself creates many, many,many files - HTML files and image files and thumbnails of image files. The performance improvement for GedSite on an SSD as compared to a rotational disk is far more dramatic than it is for any other application I run.

 

Jerry