Seamless WDSC From Linux

Aaron Bartell shares tips on VirtualBox seamless, batch processing in Linux and Qshell, and EBCDIC converting.

Aaron Bartell shares tips on VirtualBox seamless, batch processing in Linux and Qshell, and EBCDIC converting.

After I wrote “Running WDSC From a Linux Desktop,” a conversation ensued on the WDSC-L mailing list concerning WDSC and its inability to run natively on Linux. A gentleman named Luke Gerhardt mentioned that my hope for a Mac OS X coherence-mode type feature in VirtualBox was already here and is called seamless. You can find the conversation in the archives.

So what’s so cool about VirtualBox seamless mode? It lets me have Windows applications like WebSphere Development Studio Client (WDSC) and Outlook appear to be running right on my Linux desktop. What I mean by “appear” is that they’re in fact running within VirtualBox, which is running Windows XP, but you can't tell because you don't see the Windows desktop behind the WDSC application and instead see the Linux desktop. This makes it much easier to switch back and forth between WDSC and all of your other Linux desktop applications.

As with most things dealing with the desktop, it’s often easier to understand the significance of something by seeing a video. I created this video not only to show how the VirtualBox seamless mode works but also to detail a new tidbit you can incorporate into your WDSC source editing—the Ctrl+Arrow key combination. You can use Ctrl+Arrow when in a source line to position the cursor to the next non-blank character on that line. Contrast this with the traditional way of using the arrow keys and waiting for the cursor to move to the desired destination. Ctrl+Arrow is much faster as it can skip entire words at a time. The other cool thing here is that this functionality is available in most modern screen editors (sorry, SEU) including office suites such as OpenOffice, text editors such as TextPad and even text boxes in your Internet browser.

Batch Processing In Linux and Qshell

I use an excellent product called JungleDisk to backup my desktop to Amazon Simple Storage Service. When I start JungleDisk from the Linux terminal, it locks the “terminal command line” from further use and I only get control back when I shut down JungleDisk. This left me wishing that I could submit a job from Linux similar to how I can with IBM i's Submit Job (SBMJOB) command. I discovered that submitting a job in Linux is quite easy by simply adding an ampersand to the end of the command. For example:

prompt:~$ junglediskmonitor &

After trying this on the desktop, I discovered it would also work from Qshell. Let’s walk through a quick example. First, type “STRQSH” from the IBM i command line, which should bring up the Qshell command line. Next type “PWD &” and you should see something similar to Figure 1. You'll notice that an integer of 215513 was returned to the screen. This is known as the process ID (think job number) and is what you could use to further act on the process, if necessary.

You can also use the Qshell job submission to start a Tomcat server or submit to batch a long-running grep command that’s doing a mass search of the IFS. You can find more information about grep at the IBM Information Center. Obviously, many other uses could be served by using the ampersand at the end of your Qshell commands so you’ll want to play around with it. Note that to use Qshell, you must first install licensed program Qshell Interpreter, 5722SS1 option 30.

Aaron Bartell is Director of IBM i Innovation for Krengel Technology Inc. and an IBM Champion.

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