VirtualBox vs VMware Player? which linux?

Discussion in 'Linux Compatibility and Software' started by hoodle, Jul 5, 2011.

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  1. hoodle

    hoodle Notebook Enthusiast

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    Hi,
    I'm going to be setting up two computers running Windows 7 pro to virtualize linux.
    #1: HP elitebook 8460p, with 128 gb ssd and 500 gb hdd, 8 gb ram.
    #2: Lenovo e420s, with 64 gb mSATA ssd and 300 gb hdd, 6 gb ram.

    Any thoughts on which solution would be easier and more effective? Once the machines are set up, they won't need much fancy managing - more to install and run bioinformatics programs, handle large quantities of data, SSH into other computers to access data. Useability and speed are most important.

    I'd also really appreciate thoughts on which linux distro - mint, fedora, ubuntu...? Again, useability and speed. This will not be used for primary activites (browsing, music, etc) but instead for installing and launching command-line, windows-incompatible programs).
     
  2. TuxDude

    TuxDude Notebook Deity

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    I'd say VMWare player is far more stable than Virtualbox in my experience and as far as the compatibility for the virtual devices in your guest OS goes as well. It provides enough options to set up your VM and since you wont be doing much of managing after that - it is a better solution.

    Regarding the linux distro it is your choice finally. I myself am a fan of openSUSE, but other than the themes and stuff, the packaging tools, other in-house control panel tools - all distros are the same for running the applications you mention.

    The latest Fedora 15 comes with gnome 3 and it's UI has received mixed review. I personally hated gnome 3 and so avoid F15. Ubuntu, Mint are also good choices. Go with them if you want one-click options for installing properietary tools/codecs/drivers and such stuff. All these distros have a good community for support as well - so you should not be having any hard time looking for help.
     
  3. bc2946088

    bc2946088 Notebook Consultant

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    I'm in love with Virtualbox. I never tried VMware player but I did some googling and it seems like virtualbox has won on some personal opinions I found. I won't compare as I don't know. I can say however, I am really amazed at what I can do in a virtualized os. I don't think you can choose poorly.

    I go the other way, I run ubuntu and virtualize a few different windows systems.
     
  4. bc2946088

    bc2946088 Notebook Consultant

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    Re-reading my post, I noticed I didn't really say anything helpful.

    So to follow up... Someone correct me if I am wrong...

    Virtualbox has better support for snapshots and VMware has better 3d.

    Brian
     
  5. RWUK

    RWUK Notebook Evangelist

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    Virtualbox is incredibly easy to use and manage (at least, compared to KVM) but I've had small hiccups with it running linux guests though none whatsoever with Windows guests. I've not used VMWare so can't comment there.

    If you're looking for a distro that doesn't need codecs and everyday sort of stuff, forget Mint & Ubuntu (even Opensuse is way overkill) with all the codecs, file sharers and media players. I suggest Scientific Linux or Debian Squeeze. Quick, lightweight and simple. You can even install the XFCE desktop in place of Gnome to trim more 'fat'.
     
  6. Rykoshet

    Rykoshet Notebook Deity

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    I've never had a problem with VMWare, I think I even managed to install OSX on there once...

    Actually, I may have had a problem when I ran AMD64, but that was one of the first 64-bit CPUs out there, and I made the mistake of installing XP 64...
     
  7. colin.p

    colin.p Notebook Enthusiast

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    I have lucidX64 as host and use Virtual Box 4.0.10. In it I have OpenSuse, natty (with 3D Unity), LDR linux, Bodhi, Debian, as well as XP Pro SP3. I run it all on a pretty bare-bones Dell 1545 with 4 GB ram. All the linux distros run fairly slow and somewhat choppy (I expected that), but XP runs great. I use it to run a DVD copy sw (from China) and I have no slow downs whatsoever.
     
  8. debguy

    debguy rip dmr

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    If you only want to launch CLI programs from within Linux forget all those distros with bloated desktops like Suse, Ubuntu or Fedora! Just install a plain CLI Slackware, Arch or Gentoo and you're done.
     
  9. colin.p

    colin.p Notebook Enthusiast

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    I agree. If all a person wanted was to try out different distros, then install away, but if you wanted, or needed, to actually use linux (in a virtual box), then install a very simple, or bare-bones distro and save all the extraneous overhead.
    If you are running windows host, then you don't need to run mkv's or mp3's in linux. That's what you have windows media player (whatever version comes in 7) for.:rolleyes:
     
  10. hoodle

    hoodle Notebook Enthusiast

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    Thanks for all the thoughts here. I guess you're right - it really doesn't make sense to install OS-replacement distros with music and stuff. I'm attracted to the idea of simplicity, since I'll be primary tech support on these two machines and have no experience doing this. Any thoughts on the pros and cons of the different bare-bones distros mentioned here...

    scientific linux (the name is attractive to me...)
    arch
    gentoo
    slackware
    debian squeeze

    Thoughts on what will be easiest for beginners in this to work with - trimmed of "fat" but still intuitive?

    Also, in terms of the VMware vs virtualbox comparision, which is easier in terms of file management between host and guest OSes?
     
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