While this isn’t generally within the realm of the topics that I discuss here I was impressed enough to give it a blurb. A few months ago I started playing around with a few of the different virtual desktop solutions available. I wasn’t really looking to spend any $$$ so I looked around at all the free and open source solutions. I stumbled across VirtualBox which had recently been acquired by Sun Microsystems and was very impressed. I had VirtualBox installed on a Windows XP desktop within minutes and had an Ubuntu 8.04 installation up and running in a virtual window within an hour.
On September 4, 2008 VirtualBox 2.0.0 was released. There’s suppose to be some significant performance increases in this release including support for SATA NCQ (Native Command Queuing) when using raw disks and Nested Paging on AMD machines. This release also promises support for 64 bit guest hosts. You can find the full change log here.
If you’re looking to toy with Linux, VirtualBox makes it really easy to install Linux on top of your existing Windows XP desktop/laptop without the worry of destroying your personal computer. While I still dual boot a number of my desktops/laptops I’ve been finding VirtualBox almost indispensable in my daily work activities. There are even a number of organizations running VirtualBox as a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) solution from a number of different thin clients.
You might even be persuaded to load up a virtual machine to check out an upcoming clone of Microsoft Windows called ReactOS. It’s not based on Linux in any fashion but promises to be compatible with all software that can run on Microsoft Windows. While it’s still in it’s infancy (alpha) it will be interesting to see how Microsoft will respond if it ever starts to gather steam.
VirtualBox is definitely worth the time and effort to download and install if your interested in a virtual desktop solution.