Can support Ubuntu VMware

The best virtualizers for Linux at a glance

David Wolski

For Linux systems, there is a wide range of different approaches and programs for virtualizing guest operating systems. This overview shows the most important virtualizers for the desktop in comparison.

EnlargeNo matter if Virtualbox, Qemu or Vmware Player - we will show you the best software for virtual PCs under Linux.
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A practical introduction to the subject of virtualization is not difficult under Linux. The use of virtualizers on the desktop has long ceased to be the domain of experienced specialists and operating system builders. While virtualization technology for companies today focuses on management software for managing entire networks of virtual machines, virtualization environments for desktop users are about quick setup and easy operation.

The article concentrates on tried and tested programs that are of interest to users, for example in order to have a Windows installation ready in a virtual machine after switching to Linux. Many of the programs are free for private use or can be tested with a time limit. The download address mentioned in the respective "profile" offers suitable installation packages for various Linux distributions and architectures.

The basics of virtualization in Linux

Vmware Workstation: Best in Class

EnlargeWorkhorse: The Vmware Workstation 10.0.3 puts the other free virtualization solutions in the shade in terms of functionality, performance, but also at its price of 225 euros.

The veteran and top dog is the Vmware Workstation, which goes back to the first virtualization solution Vmware Virtual Platform for Intel CPUs of the x86 platform from 1998. The workstation has been maintained as a product since 1999 and is now in the tenth generation. VMware Workstation is tailored for users and therefore offers a detailed graphical interface. The type 2 hypervisor emulates hardware such as chipset, hard disk controller and network a touch faster than the competition. The graphics drivers for Direct X and Open GL for guest systems show the clearest advantage.

EnlargeUpdates itself: The Vmware Workstation is set up via its own installer and can update itself.

Using a “physical-to-virtual function” (P2V), users can conveniently transfer a complete operating system on a real computer to a virtual machine. In addition, the workstation is also an introduction to the Vmware ecosystem: Virtual machines can be uploaded to a server with the powerful type 1 hypervisor Vmware ESXi. However, performance and functionality have their price: a license costs 225 euros in the Vmware online shop. With a free registration you will also receive an evaluation serial number for testing for 30 days. Since Vmware Workstation is not open source, it is installed on Linux using an executable binary file.

Profile Vmware Workstation

Compatibility: Vmware Workstation runs on 32-bit and 64-bit Linux hosts, but requires a 64-bit CPU. All Windows versions and Linux distributions can run as a guest system. Guest drivers also enable Direct X and Open GL. MSDOS, Netware, BSD variants, Solaris and OS / 2 are also supported. Nested virtualization with VMware ESXi and Microsoft Hyper-V as a guest is also possible.

Website: 225 euros, 30 days evaluation possible after registration

Vmware Player: The free entry

Enlarge“Vamos a la Player”: Vmware earns its money primarily with virtualized IT infrastructure and makes the player available free of charge as a functionally reduced version of the workstation.

Vmware Player is the little brother of the workstation and is free as freeware for private users. But there is a purchase option that turns the player into VMware Player Plus, which is then also licensed for a commercial environment. The program, which is only available in English, was originally intended primarily to easily run finished virtual machines that were created with VMware Workstation or the server products on the local computer. Software manufacturers can thus deliver pre-installed test versions of their software, including the operating system. Originally, the player was very limited and could not create new virtual machines by itself. Since version 3 of 2009 the player can also create new machines, albeit not with all the options that Vmware Workstation offers.

A wizard takes care of the creation of VMs and guides you through the necessary steps. You will also be offered to download the VMware tools with drivers and install them in the guest system. Compared to Virtual Box or Vmware Workstation, there is no function that can be used to conveniently create backup points. Nevertheless, the Vmware Player is an ideal and free entry point into the virtualization environments of Vmware.

Vmware Player

Compatibility: Works on Linux and Windows Vista / 7/8 / 8.1. All Windows versions and Linux distributions can run as a guest system, as well as MS-DOS, Netware, BSD variants and Solaris. (222 MB)
Price: free for private users, 89 euros for commercial use as VMware Player Plus

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Virtualbox: the open source solution

EnlargeIn the Virtualbox: As an open source program, the Virtualbox from Oracle is an adequate solution for Linux users who need other Linux systems or Windows as a VM.