Ubuntu / Linux news and application reviews.

testdrive ubuntu

TestDrive is an Ubuntu application that is especially designed for non-technical users to easily download and run the latest Ubuntu development daily snapshot in a virtual machine.

TestDrive can download: Ubuntu Desktop, Ubuntu Server, Ubuntu Alternate, Ubuntu DVD, Ubuntu Netbook Edition or other ISO for which you'll have to enter the URL. For now it downloads and runs Ubuntu Lucid, but the URL is automatically updated so when Lucid comes out, TestDrive will download and run Lucid+1.

Since TestDrive is designed for non-technical users, it is very easy to install and run. Install it in Ubuntu Karmic by copy / paste the following commands in a terminal:

echo "deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/testdrive/ppa/ubuntu karmic main" | sudo tee -a /etc/apt/sources.list
echo "deb-src http://ppa.launchpad.net/testdrive/ppa/ubuntu karmic main" | sudo tee -a /etc/apt/sources.list
sudo apt-key adv --keyserver keyserver.ubuntu.com --recv-keys 4D1BAE55
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install testdrive zsync
If you are not using karmic, replace "karmic" in the first two commands above with hardy, intrepid, jaunty or lucid.

Once installed, you will find TestDrive under Applications > System Tools.

Everything is pretty explainatory: enter the number next to the Ubuntu flavor you want to install, then the download will begin (using zsync so it will update existing ISO rather then downloading the entire ISO each time you want to try out a new snapshot) and once it's completed, a window with Ubuntu running in a virtual machine (QEMU) will open, everything with minimal input from the user.

Note: if you don't install zsync, TestDrive will use rsync instead.

To see TestDrive in action, I've recorded a small demo:

Important: if you are using VirtualBox too, after TestDrive successfully installs, run the following command so VirtualBox will continue to work:
sudo modprobe -r kvm_intel