VirtualBox: Free Virtualization Software

800px-VirtualBox

I’ve been using VMware Player for quite some time, and it’s quite good, but recently, I stumbled upon another free virtualization tool which also allows you to create new VM images (VMware Player only plays back VMware images created with a purchased version, such as VMware Workstation, or through a website such as EasyVMX: http://www.easyvmx.com/)

According to Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VirtualBox):

VirtualBox is an x86 virtualization software package originally created by German software company Innotek and now being developed by Sun Microsystems as part of its Sun xVM virtualization platform. It is installed on an existing host operating system; within this application, additional operating systems, each known as a Guest OS, can be loaded and run, each with its own virtual environment. For example, Linux can be guest hosted on a single virtual machine running Microsoft Windows XP as the Host OS; or, XP and Windows Vista can run as guest OSes on a machine running OpenSolaris.

Supported host operating systems include Linux, Mac OS X, OS/2 Warp, Windows, and Solaris, while supported guest operating systems include FreeBSD, Linux, OpenBSD, OS/2 Warp, Windows and Solaris.[1]

According to a 2007 survey by DesktopLinux.com, VirtualBox is the third most popular software package for running Windows programs on Linux desktops.[2]

So far, so good, with the exception of a little glitch I experienced while installing FreeDOS. Ubuntu runs quite well, and quite fast, as far as I can tell.

A particularly cool element of VirtualBox is the “Seamless Desktop” mode, similar to what is found in Parallels or VMware Fusion on the Macintosh:

750px-Virtualbox15seamless

Considering the level of functionality given for free, which is quite similar to the functionality you’d have to pay for in VMware or Parallels, I’m tempted to stick with VirtualBox for the near future and put it through its paces.

If you’re curious about VirtualBox yourself, you can find a copy here:

http://www.virtualbox.org/wiki/Downloads

and more directly, here:

Sun xVM VirtualBox 1.6 Download

Update:

Here are some links to download pre-made VirtualBox images:

http://virtualbox.wordpress.com/

http://sourceforge.net/project/showfiles.php?group_id=213555