VirtualBox on Gutsy
janvier 20, 2008
I got into a limited flamewar with one of the commenters on this blog a few months ago when I commented on the fact virtualization features added to Gutsy were of little use to the common desktop Ubuntu user. I can’t find the specific thread back again to admit defeat: I was flat wrong, virtualization is GREAT, even for simple users like myself (ie not a developper).
I installed VirtualBox to run XP and Office so I could use my main Ubuntu box to check Word docs (with all of the nice features like Track Chnages) and large Excel models and shoot them back to my colleagues. I tried OO but that did not work, esp. with regards to presentation.
VirtualBox is simple to install and runs XP really nicely. The hardest part is to understand the virtualization concepts (guest, host…) and make sure you do enable USB, sound AND install guest additions. If you are in search of the right how-to, I would suggest the VirtualBox article in the French Ubuntu Documentation center which, as usual, is fantastic.
It is incredible, actually: XP is easier to run and administer when virtualized on Linux than on its own. I have access to more graphical options (size of screen) than when it was installed in dual boot on the Ubuntu box which I am writing this post on. VB can manage the XP disk size dynamically meaning there is little downside to giving XP quite a bit of room as it will be used only when needed…. Finally, XP does not have to be rebooted, as you only load a snapshot of the OS state, meaning it takes about 30 second to launch VirtualBox and start working! Amazing. It remains to be seen whether it is truly stable or whether I have to "reboot" XP every other day.
I have found the only downside to be those pesky activation processes XP and Office throws at you: I won those copies but MSFT seems to think I need to waste half an hour with support on the phone, just to make sure I did not steal them.
Has anyone out there had a better experience (speed, stability…) with VMWare or QEMU? Should I try them on for size as well?