There is great virtual machine software out there, VMware, XEN, etc. VMware was one of the first I also dared to use for more serious environments, like for instance development environments. Triggered by my old friend Erwin Brinkhuis, he completely switched to Linux (in his case Ubuntu), I had a look at VirtualBox. This product has, IMHO, real potential to become a VMware contender. Currently it can be used on Linux and Windows, a OSX version is in the making.
Of course, one fact that appeals as well, is that it is open source (ehh free 😉 ). Also it looks and feels a lot like VMware and has the advantage over VMware Server (which is also “free down loadable”) that it has the possibility to create more than 1 snapshot. This makes it more useful for developers.
One of the current disadvantages is that there isn’t a converter from, for instance, VMware to VirtualBox or vice versa. Despite that, it is a real good alternative for VMware Workstation. Some of the stuff that I like is that it is possbile to switch different boot disks or boot orders… After installing it on my Windows XP laptop, Damn small Linux install was a breeze (first small test) but my small test with VirtualBox 1.3.8, regarding installing EduBuntu in it was less successful.
They just offered a new release version 1.4.0 that I didn’t try jet so maybe this version will better perform in that area. There is a community effort going on to port it even to OS/2 !
The current release VirtualBox 1.4.0 is available for:
- VirtualBox 1.4.0 for Windows Hosts
- VirtualBox for OS X Hosts (Beta 1; Intel Macs only)
- Ubuntu 7.04 (“Feisty Fawn) i386 | AMD64
- Ubuntu 6.10 (“Edgy Eft”) i386
- Ubuntu 6.06 LTS (“Dapper Drake”) i386
- Debian 4.0 (“Etch”) i386 | AMD64
- Debian 3.1 (“Sarge”) i386
- openSUSE 10.2 i386 | AMD64
- Fedora 7 (“Moonshine”) i386 | AMD64
- Mandriva 2007.1 i386
- Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 (“RHEL5”) i386 | AMD64
- Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4 (“RHEL4”) i386
- Xandros Desktop 4.1 i386
- All distributions i386 | AMD64
- Debian-based Linux distributions
A list of guest operating systems can be found here: http://www.virtualbox.org/wiki/Guest_OSes
The VirtualBox 1.4.0 version can be downloaded here: http://www.virtualbox.org/wiki/downloads
Anyway, this is one to take into account…