How can I run two non-virtualized operating systems simultaneously on the same hardware?

Anonymous March 14, 2014
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We all are pretty much with the ease in locating information of virtual machines and dual/multi-boot OSes but my question is:

Has anyone figured out how to run two operating systems at the same time without the aforementioned requisites?

For instance, let’s say I have my favorite flavor of a non-profiteering/non-bloated operating system and that I want to boot into it

(but at the same time during that boot process)

yet another operating system loads in the background (such as my favorite non-manipulative/non-capitalizing OS) to load a server in the background (that need not be seen anyway).

Yes we can boot one system to do it all, yes we can use virtual machines, yes we can use multi-boot….but where’s the love when you want to NOT do is that way?

  1. Sunpreet Rathor
    March 24, 2014 at 3:19 am

    As Jan says, currently no solution to your problem exists but you can come close to it.

  2. Kenny H
    March 14, 2014 at 6:52 pm

    Thanks guys (gals),

    I knew the answer but geeze...this is 2014. Personally, I believe it's possible with a hybrid framework but it's just a thought floating around (equally, I believe it's possible to be on the net without a "CORPORATE" ip providor...those pesky data waves are all around me....part of me thinks the neighbors should be sued for trespassing by bombarding my brainwaves with their radio/phone/etc. waves. If a 5v phone can reach a signal all the way to some distant tower and cellular having the capability to maintain a distant signal...

    I'm rambling....well I gave you guys some ideas now use those minds and make the new world~!

    • Jan F
      March 16, 2014 at 2:39 pm

      A hybrid framework (whatever that is supposed to be) doesn't help with a problem that is technically not possible.

      In order for true parallel operation everything would have to be at least doubled, two cpu cores, two memory controllers, two memory I/O interfaces, multiple I/O interfaces for all the other hardware, two sound cards, two hard drives.

      Trying to realize that would highly increase costs, size, power consumption ~ everything neither the consumer nor business wants.

      Let's say we do manage to do this: You cannot operate two running operating systems simultaneously? You said it yourself, you want to use one operating system for this and then switch to the other operating systems for something else.

      You are better off cost wise buying two mid-range systems and a switch box.

      For the rest of your comment I suggest a home-made Faraday cage - and stay away from microwave ovens, they are the worst.

  3. Oron J
    March 14, 2014 at 3:52 pm

    As Jan says, you can't. One of the major roles of an operating system is to communicate with the hardware. Even if you could two systems loading simoultaneously, each would be trying to take control of the hardware and they'd be fighting amongst themselves.
    But the problem is even more profound, computers are essentially sequential devices. They appear to do many things at the same time since they are very fast, but they only process one set of instructions, one instruction at a time.* This makes it impossible to load the two systems at the same time. How would you do it - one instruction from each OS? Load a bit here and a bit more there? In short, you need to load one piece of software at a time, and that goes for OSs as well.

    You could use a hypervisor, so OS would bew a "master" of another, but they systems will still be virtualised and the hypervisor itself will be, in effect, the "main" operating system.

    * Multi-core processors, buses etc, mean that a limited amount of concurrency does exist in a computer system, but this is not relevant to this particular question.

  4. simon
    March 14, 2014 at 3:39 pm

    Spot on ;)

  5. Jan F
    March 14, 2014 at 12:20 am

    You cannot run multiple host systems on the same hardware at the same time. That would be like (trying to) driving in two opposite directions in a single car at the same time, it doesn't work.

    If you got 2 people wanting to write something but only 1 pen they have to share it. In order to do so they do have to find some agreement and do scheduling who gets the pen at what time.

    In case of computer hardware that would be the job of the hypervisor used for virtualisation. This hypervisor then shares the single resource (the hardware) to multiple guests by presenting each with a virtual hardware, a virtual machine.

    So the closest you can get to running two operating systems on a single hardware is by using a bare metal hypervisor e.g. ESX(i), Xen, Hyper-V.

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