GISVM - A Virtual Machine for Desktop GIS
I ran into this on the NC GIS mailing list (thanks Julia!).
GISVM is a virtual machine for GIS, including a lot of great open source software: PostgreSQL, PostGIS, GeoServer, Mapserver, FWTools, Quantum GIS, gvSIG, uDIG and Kosmo. It uses Ubuntu Hardy for the desktop environment. Basically, fire up VMware Player, VMware Server, or Virtualbox, load the machine, and you’ll have both desktop and server GIS ready to go.
I haven’t tried it, but the Free Geography Tools folks did, and they liked what they saw. You wouldn’t want to run it on a RAM or CPU strapped machine, but it should fly on most modern PC’s.
One missing element in the software stack that immediately jumped out at me was GRASS. It’s easy enough to install in Ubuntu from the repos, but GRASS would seem to make sense for a virtual FOSS GIS workstation. I’m curious if it was left out for size issues or if the devs thought the other included software adequately covered that space.
It’s a pain-free way to try out a lot of different FOSS GIS packages (not to mention Ubuntu).