I have just discovered one of the coolest software tools I have used in a long time. It is called Q. “Q is a feature packed cocoa port of QEMU” and ” QEMU is a generic and open source processor emulator which achieves a good emulation speed by using dynamic translation.”

What this software allows one to do is run one operating system as a guest under a host operating system. This can be useful for trying out new operating systems without buying new hardware or, for us security folks, Q provides a way to test security software without affecting our working environment.

I installed Q on my mac mini from the disk image file provided on the Q web site. Installation was easy. Drag and drop the Q file into your Application folder. Double clicking the icon launches Q Control.

Q ControlQ Control is where one can create a new guest PC and edit it’s setting. It is relatively easy to use. Very good instructions on how to do this are provided on the Q Help web site.

I decided to try installing Red Hat Linux ES 3.0 on an x86-64 guest PC. This did not go as easily as I had hoped and took much LONGER than expected. Following the instructions on the web site, I created a new guest PC with 256 MB RAM and a 4GB compressed partition. I happily inserted the first of the 4 Red Hat disks and started the guest PC. All was going well; the Red Hat installer came up and I clicked through the mouse and keyboard configuration. Response was a bit sluggish; I guess due to the emulation and the fact that I installed on a 1.42 GHz mac mini. Installation took over 8 hours.

There were a few snags as I figured out that I had to first unmount the CD drive in both the Q guest PC as well as the mac mini. Once the installation was complete I rebooted the guest PC and waited….and waited…. It took almost 15 minutes for Red Hat Linux to boot. Do NOT install Q on a mac mini.

Welcome screen