For my PhD project, my supervisor has suggested to install this (old) mathematical software: http://www.gang.umass.edu/software/cmclab/index.html As you can see in the requirements, this software runs in Linux RedHat 7.1/7.2 i686.

I've tried to set up a virtual machine with the 7.2 version and, after the installation, the OS starts in command mode, and won't switch to desktop mode (needed to use this software). I've digged a little bit and it seems that these old versions are not able to install drivers for the "modern" hardware (or even recognize it), and therefore this system can't start in the graphic mode because it has not clue how to use the screen...

Right, so as far as I can see I have two options:

  1. Try to (somehow) find and install in command mode the right drivers for my graphic card, and hope that this solves the issue. [I'd say very unlikely]
  2. Try to install another distribution (maybe similar enough to enigma 7.2) in which this software can run. This looks like a decent idea, but I don't know which distribution I could pick. This is a software made by a mathematician with who I don't have contact, so I can't ask them if there is such an alternative.

Could anyone, based on the very little information provided in the software web page, help me choosing the "right" distribution? Or maybe does someone have some hope in the first option?

  • You need to list what the virtual machine is. Hopefully you selected virtualbox, if not, help will be difficult to give, so I'd install virtualbox first, then recreate the image if you have not used virtualbox. Virtualbox has what are called extensions, which come with the install, but you have to mount the installer cd and then run the installer from inside virtualbox. This will install the virtualbox graphics driver. Redhat 7.2 was released just a few years ago, and that should work fine. I seriously doubt it requires redhat, though it is probably an rpm package. – Lizardx Nov 25 '17 at 17:32
  • Note that this is just about a certain subset of dependencies your math program has, nothing else, at least that's usually the case. If it's an rpm, it's maybe easier to use an rpm distro, but mostly what will matter is the dependencies, the versions that is. Note that the extension pack is in your host system, NOT in the guest, which is why you have to mount that iso image in your guest, then run the installer there. You should also list the OS of the host, otherwise one can't give further assistance. You should also describe the package, is it an rpm, a tar.gz? – Lizardx Nov 25 '17 at 17:35
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    @Lizardx Edu is talking about Red Hat Linux 7.1/7.2 (Enigma) from 2001 (really 16 years ago...I'm geting old ;-) ). But I agree, setup some VM guest on your favourite virtualization solution with GPU emulation from that time (probably Cirrus) and it should work. – Jaroslav Kucera Nov 25 '17 at 17:48
  • Oh, thanks for catching that, I forgot about that change, and that they restarted numbering with RHEL, right. That makes the question deserve an upvote, since that's a valuable solution if someone posts a clear set of steps. – Lizardx Nov 25 '17 at 18:00
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    I'd check first on how feasible it is to build the application anew from source. You'd learn more. – Thomas Dickey Nov 25 '17 at 21:28

Hypervisors usually support several types of virtualized hardware. Make sure you have selected an old one.

Another approach is to do without the local X output:

  1. You could run ssh -X, execute the software in the VM and view the X output on another system.
  2. You can install a virtual X server which the application can connect to. You need some kind of remote access (e.g. VNC) in this case, too.

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