I first read about Xen while still at Cornell. I think it may have been my Junior year. I don’t have the magazines with me at the moment, so I can’t verify. When I finished reading about the new technology in Linux Format Magazine, I racked my brain, but couldn’t find a reason to run it. I mean, I could see a reason to run it if you were running servers, but not at home. So why put it on Fedora, Debian, and all the other distros? The paradigm wasn’t there, so I couldn’t figure it out.
Then I began to use VMWare. Suddenly I was able to try out ReactOS, test version of Fedora, and other operating systems without messing up anything on my computer. Finally, I saw the importance of getting all kernels, even the Windows kernel, to recognize Xen. Using VNC and other technologies, a user could run as many operating systems as they want at the same time and change all of the auxilary ones without affecting their main OS or file system.
Here’s one great example I was thinking. Let’s say you’ve put the money out for a 64bit system with 8 GB of RAM. 99% of the time, when you aren’t doing video or photo editing, you won’t be using your system to the maximum. Now, let’s say you have a son or daughter who wishes to have their own computer. You could go out and spend the money on a new computer for them. Alternatively, you take an old computer you have lying around and set it up as a dumb terminal. On this computer you set up the ability to VNC into your awesome 64bit system. Then, using Xen, you create a virtual computer for your child.
Now, they have their own OS and if they mess it up with viruses or adware, it won’t mess up your computer. They get to access your computer’s awesome resources. Finally, you didn’t have to spend twice the money of that awesome computer and you both get to use it.
That’s just one of the ways Xen will be helpful for the family computer user. (Albeit, one with a technical person in the family capable of setting it up)
Another use, in brief, is running a virtual computer with windows so that you can always load that up when you need an exclusive MS program without having to reboot each time – wasting time and causing you to close out of all of your Linux (BSD, etc) programs.