We aimed to help users runnning exclusively Microsoft Windows, without having to develop a native version of SAS on such platform (based on the well known Cygwin environment). That is why we present here the first release of SAS bundled with a Virtual Machine running on Microsoft Windows, a package we have called "Virtual Machine for SAS" (VM4SAS).
A virtual machine (VM) is a software that allows to run an operating system inside another. The VM's technology used here is VMWare which is well known since several years ago. VMWare is a comercially licensed software but thanks to its free VMWare player product, it is now possible to deploy and run a specific VM bundled to a particular software.
VM4SAS 1.0 contains a Linux Fedora Core 4 based virtual machine image created with VMWare Workstation. The image contains the SAS 7.0.0 (xmmsas_20060628_1801) release natively built on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4 (RHEL 4), already installed plus all the external software tools required to work with SAS: ds9, grace, heasoft, etc.
SAS 7.0.0 has been installed under the following directory of the virtual machine: /opt/esac/xmmsas_20060628_1801.
In order to install this software in Microsoft Windows you need:
Download and install first the VMWare Player for Microsoft Windows. Once done, download and unpack the compressed VM4SAS virtual machine in your disk (notice that the whole zip package is 2.76 GBytes). You should get a folder named vm4sas with about 20 files on it. At this point you may wish to remove the image file to save disk space.
To start the virtual machine, just simply double click the mouse on the icon for the file Fedora4.vmx within the vm4sas folder. Alternatively you may start the VMWare Player and select the File Menu, then select the Open option and choose the mentioned file in the referred folder. Once the VM is up and running, you need to log in into it as you would do for a real Linux system. For this purpose we have provided a predefined user to run SAS whose name is xmmsas with password xmmsas. The VM administrator (whose name is root in Linux) has the same password.
To run SAS proceed as for any other platform. First initialize the SAS environment by sourcing the respective script which is provided in the installtion of SAS. For the xmmsas Bash shell, this is done as follows
CCF files are provided within the VM under the /ccf directory. Please set the respective SAS_CCFPATH environment variable having this into account.
The virtual machine is configured to use a screen resolution of 1152x864 by default. This means that you at least need a physical display resolution of 1280x1024. If your physical display admits a bigger resolution, you can change the configured screen size at your convenience. If your physical display is smaller (for example, 1024x768) you still might start the virtual machine and change the virtual screen size until it fits in the physical size. However, using resolutions below 1024x768 is highly discouraged if you pretend to use SAS interactively.
VMware Player is able to use the pysical network interface available in your PC to provide a virtual network interface to the virtual machine. Hence, if your PC has an active Internet connection, you should be able to access the Internet from inside the virtual machine without major problems.
The VM is provided as is. We will not provide official support on the VM software nor on any other aspect related to it on Microsoft Windows. However, support is foreseen to solve minor problems or doubts related with using SAS in this environment, which might be reported by users throught the XMM-Newton HelpDesk. By using the same mean we are open to suggestions and modifications for subsequent VM4SAS releases.