Emulation redux

Because bleeding eyes are a bad thing, I’ll try to explain why emulators are so cool.

  • Emulators reduce a computer to two things: a program (the emulator) and a file (the “image” or drive). That’s all that’s required, and this becomes very easy to move around. I’ve got three computers at home, a laptop at work, and Christine has a desktop and a laptop. I could be working on any of those physical machines. Emulation lets me take “My Computer” and run it on any of those machines – all my files, all my settings, everything, on whichever machine I happen to be using.
  • Emulators make it easy to set up many purpose-built machines. For example, there’s a thread on the WordPress forums about setting up a test/development environment on Windows to play with. Some of the tools are quite nice, bit I want to develop on a Linux environment since my host‘s servers are Linux. With emulation, I can easily set this up and run.
  • Ever been bitten by a virus? Not sure about the program you’re installing? Wouldn’t it be nice to have a clean, easy way to back up your computer? Now you can! An emulated computer is a single file. Make a copy – heck, make five – and you’ve just backed up an entire computer.

I could go on, but I hope this gives you a flavor of why this is so damn cool.