Monday, May 11, 2009


In my previous ramblings I've talked about wanting a Mac Pro, wanting to try Linux, and the pitfalls of Software Quality Assurance. I've recently come across an app that applies to ALL of these topics: VirtualBox.

VirtualBox is a free virtualization application. For the uninitiated, it is software that runs on your computer that pretends to be another computer to a "guest" operating system. If you are familiar with Parallels for the Mac or VMWare, you know what I'm talking about. I started toying around with this in hopes of coming up with an answer to the "I don't have the hardware to test that" problem, and I was rewarded. Using my works MSDN license (remember, I'm not using the Windows installations for anything but testing) I managed to install on my XP Pro box: Windows XP Home, XP Pro (different config from the host), Windows Vista, and Windows7. Just for fun, I also installed Ubuntu.

Here is a pic of it in action....

Top Left : Windows XP Pro - running IE 6
Bottom Center : Windows Vista
Top Right : Windows 7

As far as the computers on my network are concerned, these are just other physical systems connected. The Vista installation is running IE7 and the Windows 7 installation is running IE8. Not surprisingly, Vista seems to have some quirky behaviour when trying to operate in the Virtual Environment. It has a problem recognizing everything it needs to know about the "computer" it's running on. I guess that is to be expected.

The only real problem I've run into with this configuration is that it scoops up memory FAST. I have 3GB of RAM on my system (I run the 32-bit version of XP) and so I can't really install more memory.

Toying around with Ubuntu on a virtual machine is nice as I'm able to do this with a full safety net - something I previously could not do.

Virtualbox is available for Windows, Macintosh, and Linux, if you are interested in hardware virtualization, you won't regret it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

i have never used virtual box, but i am familiar with Vmware, and virtualization, is freaking awesome, you can get some much done with virtualization --- cliff