Even if you haven’t heard about BusyBox, you may have used it. It runs in every ESXi, which doesn’t have a full OS as console like classic ESX. Still, you need an easy way to interact the hypervisor directly. So the ESXi includes a tiny console that uses BusyBox (reduced version) due to its small size.
The BusyBox has been ported to Windows as well. You can download the 600+K executable here. It’s really a simple exe file and you can place it anywhere.
You can list the commands supported by just typing busybox from a command line. These are mainly Linux commands. To run any of them, just type them after busybox in the command line.
Optionally, you can use bash. Just type the following and you will get to the bash mode.
> busybox bash
This is more for fun than anything else. To have a full Linux look and feel environment, you can also try Cygwin.
- “BusyBox simplifies embedded Linux systems – A small toolkit for small environments”. This IBM DeveloperWorks article explains why busybox can be small and how it works.
- “How to Compile BusyBox for ESXi”. This article by William Lam shows how to bring back the full version of BusyBox to ESXi. Warning: long article is loaded with technical details.