[R] Suggestions for statistical computing course

Simon Blomberg s.blomberg1 at uq.edu.au
Mon Apr 23 01:49:13 CEST 2007

On Fri, 2007-04-20 at 12:13 -0400, Fred Bacon wrote:

> Ideally, it would work like this:  
>    The free VMware player is installed on each of the lab computers.
>    The lab manager uses a licensed copy of VMware Workstation to create
> a clean image of a computer.  

You can use the open source QEMU program to create VMware machines.

After installing QEMU, the following command creates a machine with 20
Gb disk space, onto which you can load a (licensed!) copy of Windows (or
better, Linux :-) ):

qemu-img.exe create -f vmdk VMmachine.vmdk 20G
>    The instructor makes a copy of the clean image and installs the
> necessary software and instructional materials.  The instructor can use
> either the free player or the paid workstation version to do this.  
>    After the virtual machine is completed, the image is sent back to the
> lab where it is made available to the lab computers.
> If you use the paid workstation version rather than the free player
> version on the lab computers, then you can use the Snapshot feature to
> create a consistent image for every student.  Every time the virtual
> machine is shutdown, the system can revert back to the snapshot for the
> next student.  It all depends on your budget.

Again, you can do this for free with QEMU, using the -snapshot option.

> How you handle the OS licensing issue for the guest operating system is
> up to you.  I personally would recommend using Linux, but some of our
> customers are terrified of anything that doesn't look like a Microsoft
> OS.
> The only caveat is the disk space utilization.  Having a complete OS
> image for every student for every class could eat up terabytes of space.
> But heck, terabyte RAID arrays are readily available these days. 
> Fred
Simon Blomberg, BSc (Hons), PhD, MAppStat. 
Lecturer and Consultant Statistician 
Faculty of Biological and Chemical Sciences 
The University of Queensland 
St. Lucia Queensland 4072 

Room 320, Goddard Building (8)
T: +61 7 3365 2506 
email: S.Blomberg1_at_uq.edu.au 

The combination of some data and an aching desire for 
an answer does not ensure that a reasonable answer can 
be extracted from a given body of data. - John Tukey.

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