Sunday, 18 May 2008

Virtualbox: Open source virtualization with OOmmph!!


The wonders of Ubuntu and its open-source components never cease to amaze me. Once again I've had my mind blown. This time its Virtualbox - a virtualization utility to match the well known consumer versions - VMWare and Parallels to name but, two. I decided yesterday that the aggravation of installing Mono and trying to get software like Flashdevelop and such other Actionscript development tools was too much for me. The solution - run Windows XP as a parallel OS in a virtual machine on Ubuntu. The question was which virtualization package would be ideal for moi. I tried the demo version of VMWare and immediaely ran into trouble. Errors here, there and everywhere. Nah, not for me I said. As someone said '' Google is your friend', so I googled and up came VirtualBox. I must confess I was vastly suspicious until I tried to download it and was redirected to the Sun downloads portal. If Sun was supporting this little bijou, it cannot be half bad, I thought. SO onwards.
VirtualBox comes as a Debian package so downloading and installing it was smooth. Next I set up a new Virtual desktop. I initially ran into some problems with running the virtual machine but, the moment I assigned my user account as a member of the vboxusers group all was fine. I did this with this command in Terminal

sudo usermod -a -G vboxusers ayo

You need to restart the virtual machine though for the settings to take effect. After this it was smooth sailing. I installed Windows XP Home and now I can run all my Windows software on my virtual machine in 'seamless mode'. Its bloody brilliant. I've installed .Net without issues, I'm really looking to running FlashDevelop and the Flex SDK here - see how it compares with the Linux FlexBuilder in performance. You should see the Flash 10 player run here, just amazing, its the fastest I've ever seen Windows run. Believe it or not WinXP runs faster in my vritual machine, than it does on my other laptop where it is the prime OS. Now I can start to work in earnest. On the downside, now I need to start installing antivirus software and all that crap... :(

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