Friday, May 9, 2008

Why VirtualBox is better

I'd tried to load up QEMU or Xen with no success on my OpenSUSE 64-bit ver 10.3 (I am running kernel version 2.6.25).  I then tried VirtualBox OSE (Open Source Edition) downloadable from www.virtualbox.de.  After installing all the needed libraries as instructed and compiled this VB, it worked as charm!

With QEMU or Xen, there were problems I couldn't fix (this because my Linux is heavily customized and not running kernel from openSuSE anymore).  I also tried the pre-compiled (proprietary/non-OSE) version, and this actually even better.  As mentioned on the website, the proprietary version supports USB and file sharing between host and guest O/S.

So far, I am able to run my Windows XP Pro SP3 under this Linux 64-bit with no problem.  I could print, browse internet and even play games (eventhough it is slower than running in native/standalon XP).  With file sharing, I could install Microsoft Office in the guest O/S and share the doc/xls/ppt files.

For the networking, the VB provides a firewall and NAT.  The subnet it gives is in 10.x.x.x subnet, but work with no issues. 

I still have small issue though as the screen resolution under XP is limited to 1024x968, eventhough the host O/S (Linux) has nvidia driver and was running resolution 1680x1050.  But interestingly, on my MacBook running OSX 10.4 Tiger, I could set the screen resolution as much as 1680x1050 (which is even beyond my laptop resolution).  Why?

With Windows XP as host O/S, I initially tried Microsoft Virtual PC.  The interface is good, but when I installed Linux OpenSUSE 10.3 (32-bit), the network worked sporadically and took almost a week to download necessary modules from opensuse.org!   I tried installed offline, the same issue happened.

After this painful waiting, finally I managed to install it, but everytime I rebooted the guest O/S it never came up correctly (the screen stayed blank after the initial OpenSUSE login screen).  I eventually dumped this stupid Virtualization tool completely and install VirtualBox.  Yes, as you might guess, it works like a charm on Windows XP too.  

I still need to try on Windows Vista though.  Will report it later.


What a tool!

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