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Author Topic: Free virtualization options  (Read 10395 times)
Darwin
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« on: October 20, 2007, 09:29:19 AM »

Hi all,

I'm keen to set up a virtual machine on my notebook. However, I'm trying to pick between Virtual PC 2007 and VMWare Player 2.2. I'm reading conflicting reports about the capabilities of each and don't know which way to jump!

Anyone here have experience with either or both and willing to enlighten me?

Thanks,

Mike

PS For now, I simply want to run Win2k and possibly 98 in a VM on my XP Pro notebook...
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jgpaiva
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« Reply #1 on: October 20, 2007, 09:38:06 AM »

I'd also consider the option of VirtualBox.

I've tried all 3 of them. I decided to stick with VirtualBox because at the time, both VirtualPC and VMware didn't allow me to use AltGR to insert special characters while VirtualBox did.

On the other hand, currently i'm using VMware Workstation (now it supports using the windows key as "host key") and it's way superior to VirtualBox (ubuntu runs noticeably faster), so i suppose that from those3 options, i'd go for VMware player.

On (yet) another hand, I'm not sure if VMware allows you to create new machines, i think it only allows you to use "virtual appliances" already made by someone..

These are pretty similar products, but if you're going to be running windows, probably Virtual PC is the best option, since it's made by microsoft and works quite well with windows guests and hosts.

[edit] After re-reading this post, i want to apologize for making it this confusing. In conclusion, i'd go for Virtual PC [/edit]
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Darwin
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« Reply #2 on: October 20, 2007, 09:47:49 AM »

Thanks João! That's just the kind of input that I'm looking for... One of the points of confusion for me is the issue regarding VMWare Player - some people say that you CAN create new machines with it, others say you can't. I think I'll go the MS route, which is the way I was leaning anyway - I'm going to be running Win2k so the MS solution makes the most sense for now.

Thanks for the VirtualBox pointer as well. I neglected to ask for other options in my original post, but that was one of my questions/objectives  Thmbsup
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Darwin
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« Reply #3 on: October 20, 2007, 09:57:32 AM »

Just grabbed this from the VMWare Player FAQ:

Quote
Can I create VMware virtual machines using VMware Player?
No. VMware virtual machines can only be created with VMware Workstation, VMware ACE, VMware Server, VMware ESX Server, or VMware VirtualCenter products.

So for now VMWare is off the table for me (unless anyone knows of a TrialPay offer on VMWare Workstation  cheesy?).
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jgpaiva
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« Reply #4 on: October 20, 2007, 11:14:58 AM »

Well.. You could not take VMware out of the picture right away. Just like this guy made a bunch of images of linux distros for VMware player, i bet there should be someone out there that has already built a few windows images for it too.
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« Reply #5 on: October 20, 2007, 11:22:42 AM »

Quote
both VirtualPC and VMware didn't allow me to use AltGR to insert special characters while VirtualBox did.

That's something you can configure at least in Virtual PC. Open File+Options+Keyboard. Then change the configured AltGr shortcut to something else and you can use AltGr correctly in the guest system.
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jgpaiva
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« Reply #6 on: October 20, 2007, 11:27:29 AM »

That's something you can configure at least in Virtual PC. Open File+Options+Keyboard. Then change the configured AltGr shortcut to something else and you can use AltGr correctly in the guest system.
That's why i said "didn't" Wink
At the time, there was only the option of using the following combinations:
  • ctrl
  • shift
  • ctrl + shift
and as altgr is identified as ctrl+shift, pressing it would be recognized as the host key, no matter which option you chose.
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Darwin
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« Reply #7 on: October 20, 2007, 12:02:42 PM »

I'm updating Win2k Sp-4 to Sp-4 as I write this. Virtual PC is pretty slick. I like your idea about looking for a windows image online, João, but wonder about the legality?

I wish I'd known about this five years ago when I got rid of my Windows for Workgroups 3.11 and DOS 6.22 install disks. I'd love to load them up and try them out on a modern machine...
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jgpaiva
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« Reply #8 on: October 20, 2007, 12:04:55 PM »

I'm updating Win2k Sp-4 to Sp-4 as I write this. Virtual PC is pretty slick. I like your idea about looking for a windows image online, João, but wonder about the legality?
I hadn't thought about the legality, but i guess that if you found a version of XP that isn't activated, it shouldn't be a big deal... Also, there should be machines that only contain a free disk, and you could install windows on that disk.
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« Reply #9 on: October 21, 2007, 01:11:54 AM »

Here is a free site that creates blank virtual machines for VMware Player: http://www.easyvmx.com/
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jgpaiva
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« Reply #10 on: October 21, 2007, 04:52:32 AM »

Here is a free site that creates blank virtual machines for VMware Player: http://www.easyvmx.com/
Thanks a lot, cchian!
I knew that site existed, and a similar site was posted here on the site some time ago, but i just couldn't find it.

Looks like the vmware option is on again, Darwin tongue
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Carol Haynes
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« Reply #11 on: October 21, 2007, 06:38:41 AM »

Do I understand correctly that a combination of VMware Player and www.easyvmx.com is effectively equivalent to VMware Desktop? If so I can't see any real reason for me to upgrade tot he latest version of Desktop. (Does anyone know how the versions of Player and Desktop compare - I preusume they stay in tandem so that people can generate new VM machines with any version of Desktop).

Can you install the VM tools (which normally you do once you have installed an OS in a VM in the desktop edition) - or is that one of the limitations?

I haven't tried VMware Player - how do things like disk and network configurations work?

By the way if you can create VM machines with WMware Server - isn't that free too these days?
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tinjaw
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« Reply #12 on: October 21, 2007, 07:09:43 AM »

I use VMware Server and, recently, MS VPC 2007. VMware Server is free, allows you to create VMs, and run multiple VMs at the same time.
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Carol Haynes
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« Reply #13 on: October 21, 2007, 07:34:38 AM »

Question - if VMware Server and can create and run multiple VMS is free why does anyone now buy VMware Workstation.

Are there any advantages to the Workstation version?
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Darwin
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« Reply #14 on: October 21, 2007, 07:40:56 AM »

My question exactly, Carol! For now, I'm happy enough with Virtual PC, but it's always nice to have options  cheesy
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tinjaw
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« Reply #15 on: October 21, 2007, 08:43:51 AM »

Question - if VMware Server and can create and run multiple VMS is free why does anyone now buy VMware Workstation.

Are there any advantages to the Workstation version?

The usual reasons. More better features. For example, large businesses will be using the higher-end server products from VMware, and the workstations will be integrated with the workstation version. Also support for Windows Vista, multiple monitor displays, support for USB 2.0, I think it works better with accelerated 3D, and a bunch more stuff.
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Carol Haynes
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« Reply #16 on: October 21, 2007, 08:56:16 AM »

Thanks that's useful - now the biggy - is it worth $99 to upgrade? I think their upgrade policy stinks a bit really - you have to upgrade EACH VERSION to get upgrade price. Version 4 -> 6 is not allowed, it is treated as a new purchase. So as I own version 5 I have to decide is it worth upgrading to version 6 or when version 7 is released do I start again.

Alternatively do I just stick with version 5 which does what I want (I'm not using Vista at all at the moment) or do I move to Virtual CP (which I didn't especially like when I tried it when it was first released as a freebie - it just isn't as slick or easy to use as VMWare IMHO)?
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tinjaw
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« Reply #17 on: October 21, 2007, 09:23:32 AM »

Yeah, I know what you mean Carol. I have VMware Workstation 4, but can't bring myself to spend the money for the latest version. I plan on just using the free server version and MS VPC 2007 until I run into some kind of hurdle, and then I'll decide if it is worth the money.
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« Reply #18 on: October 21, 2007, 09:27:57 AM »

Your best options are MS Virtual PC 2007, VMware Server (which is not just the player), and VirtualBox.. all are free.

And regarding the legalness of windows vm's (for download).. they are not legal.. that's why you find only *nix based "Virtual Appliances" at the the virtual appliances section at the vmware site.
« Last Edit: October 21, 2007, 09:32:37 AM by mitzevo » Logged

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tinjaw
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« Reply #19 on: October 21, 2007, 09:29:36 AM »

I would really like to see somebody put together a LiveCD that you pop into all of your computers. When you boot them up they become one large cluster of CPU and memory and you run virtual machines on it. Take the volume group approach to disk space and just start stacking the disks end to end in a huge storage bin. Make it a virtual RAID5 with enough parity built in to that one or more disks could go bad and nothing but some performance would be lost.

Maybe have your "best" computer run on bare metal for gaming and act as the frontend for all of these virtual machines on the cluster.

Oh, and let's not forget you should be able to hook monitors up to all of them and be able to use it as one H U G E virtual desktop, X style, so you have apps from any of the virtual machines opening up windows on the common virtual desktop.

(Please excuse me while I go calm down, I got a bit excited thinking about such a thing being possible in the next few years.)  Kiss Kiss Kiss
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Carol Haynes
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« Reply #20 on: October 21, 2007, 10:18:05 AM »

I haven't used VirtualBox - what are people's experience with it? Is it reasonably mature and stable? Sorry I don't really want to install it unless I know it is in good shape first  embarassed

How does networking work in VirtualBox - can you just connect via your normal network connection (as in VMware) ?
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jgpaiva
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« Reply #21 on: October 21, 2007, 05:08:44 PM »

Re: vmware workstation vs vmware player
There are a few differences. AFAIK, there is no support for things like snapshots in player, nor for vmware extensions (which make a huge difference when you use vmware workstation for work like i do and you keep switching between the real desktop and the virtual machine).

Re:virtualbox:
I had a few problems with networking in virtualbox, i had to reconfigure my network adapters to have it working. Interestingly, the first time i installed it, it worked out of the box. Also, vmware's networking also has a small glitch that annoys me: when i save the state of a machine and then resume it, the networking is lost.
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Carol Haynes
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« Reply #22 on: October 21, 2007, 05:22:10 PM »

Thanks for that.
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AEngineer
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« Reply #23 on: November 04, 2007, 06:47:53 PM »

I've used Virtualbox on a Ubuntu (7.10) machine and been quite impressed with it.  I found it considerably easier to deal with than VMWare Server, but my familiarity with Ubuntu had increased between the two experiences (VMS first) so that may be unfair.

I cannot compare the speed of the two, but Virtualbox seemed quite perky when running XP (LEGAL) and my a sample of standard windows Apps within XP.
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Jim Mitchell
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« Reply #24 on: November 04, 2007, 07:13:07 PM »

Not free but looks interesting (and a lot cheaper than VMWare Workstation). Has anyone tried http://www.parallels.com/en/products/workstation/ ?
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