This morning a LAN administrator’s script gone awry rendered my computer at work inoperable. We ended up repaving it. Yeah, this is a pain, but I make it a policy to always expect that my computer will be wiped clean and re-imaged any morning I come in. It’s never actually happened — until today — but it helps me make sure that all my important stuff is backed up. And when I get a new computer or an operating system upgrade, it sure makes the support staff’s job easier: no need to back up everything from my hard drive before doing the installation, since I don’t care if it’s all gone. It also means that I don’t spend a lot of time tweaking my work environment to perfection, since then I might care more than I want to.

But it’s still a pain. It takes time to reinstall everything. There is of course the basic list of what I need to do my job: Java, JBoss, Subversion, Eclipse, VMWare… Also the little things that help make daily life in Windows bearable: Perl, Ruby, Notepad2, UnxUtils, Gaim…

I’m considering setting everything up in a VMWare image and spending all my time inside it. If I burn that image off to DVD every now and then, then getting back up and going would be a breeze.

As we help Cobol and Uniface developers make the transition to Java EE, we’ve found that just setting up the environment and getting them started writing code is an ordeal. A huge ordeal. I’ve been working on a VMWare image with everything they need to get going, tweaked so that everything just works out of the box. I don’t know whether this will have any uptake, but working inside it for a while might give me an idea of how successful it would be. Having two versions of Windows running all the time, though, is not too appealing.

Of course, there’s no saying that it would need to be Windows. I’ve got a development box running Ubuntu already, it would be pretty sweet to use Ubuntu for everyday work. More appealing right now, Sun has just released a developer edition of Solaris, all set up for developers. It includes an AMP stack (think LAMP without the Linux; there are either too many or not enough good names for this). I didn’t think that I had a spare 14 gigs on my too-small hard drive, but now I suddenly do. Yay?

I’ve got to give this some thought over the weekend. Do I want to live inside VMWare? Input is welcome.