I came across the Open Source Edition of virtual box a few days before and am thrilled at the experience of working with it. For more detailed info visit -> wiki page.
I have a Dell Vostro 1310 laptop with 2GB ram, 128MB NVidia GeForce 8 series card with 160GB hard disk and a 2.1 GHz Intel Centrino (Core2Duo).
The primary purpose to use Windows is for running softwares like FLUENT and CATIA and to play some games occasionally. Dual booting in such a case is a preferrable option but with the availability of the powerful hardware i decided to go in for Virtual Box.
The possible alternatives that pop up are WINE . WINE is an Open Source Software for running Windows applications on other OS’s is a good alternative if you lack the hardware to carry out virtualization. However , making larger programs like FLUENT and CATIA work with wine can be a hassle. In such cases virtualization comes in very handy.
Another problem I was facing with WINE was its lack of connectivity with the Local Network i.e. I could not connect to the LAN , probably coz WINE couldnt access the ports on the system. Hence , playing Age Of Empires on the LAN was impossible.
Working with VirtualBox and configuring it on LAN was easy and hassle free. Also , I managed to play AOE on LAN without any lag in the system.Read further to know more on going about the installation.
Virtual Box emulates hard disks in a special format known as the “Virtual Disk Images”. These files are normally stored in $HOME/.VirtualBox/HardDisks. It supports both Intels VT-x and AMD-V.
To install VirtualBox download the deb/rpm package from here .
Further in the terminal cd to the location where you have downloaded the deb/rpm package. In my case it being $HOME/Desktop. The following commands will run in Ubuntu 8.10 .Then run the following commands to install the software.
sudo dpkg - i virtualboxversionname.deb
Follow the instructions in the dialog boxes. Make sure that you have gcc installed prior to it as it requires it to compile the kernel modules.If you wish to work your way around the installation with apt-get then do the following .
1. Open /etc/apt/sources.list and add this line deb http://download.virtualbox.org/virtualbox/debian intrepid non-free
sudo gedit /etc/apt/sources.list
2. Import sun public-key and register it using apt-key (wget is for downloading, apt-key is for registering the key to your machine)
wget -q http://download.virtualbox.org/virtualbox/debian/sun_vbox.asc -O - | sudo apt-key add -
3. Update your system’s package index file
sudo apt-get update
4. Install virtualbox 2.2
$ sudo apt-get install virtualbox-2.2
The installation wont proceed until the necessary kernel packages are compiled.
If you wish to do so later make sure that you run:
sudo /etc/init.d/vboxdrv setup
Restart your computer. A suitable icon would come in Applications -> System Tools.
Start the Application.
To create a new Virtual Machine click new and follow the instructions on the wizard.Make sure that you give suitable amount of RAM. My system without the VirtualBox uses 458 MB of RAM as shown by System->System Monitor. I alloted around 1.1GB for Windows XP on VirtualBox.On running FLUENT the system monitor showed usage of 1.5GB of RAM with a small amount of SWAP usage . Make sure that you do not give too much to VirtualBox as it will affect the performance of the system. For Vista , a minimum allocation of 1GB of RAM is necessary for smooth operation.
If you have a CD/DVD image for install load it in the CD/DVD ROM tab in the settings tab. If you want to install via a CD in your drive make sure that you check the Host CD/DVD drive option.
After the installation sharing files between the host (your computer) and the guest (virtual OS) can be done via adding the suitable share paths in Folders option. However , this didnt work for me that well and Windows XP on the VirtualBox did not recognize the network and the shared folders. I circumvented it for the time being by sharing the necessary files via ftp by copying suitable files in /home/ftp/ . For a permanent solution however I decided to share the files via the SAMBA server protocol. Install SAMBA and share the folders you want to over the network . Windows XP would recognize these and file sharing is easier.
To connect to the LAN via the ethernet controller on your system do the following :
Select the suitable OS and in the Settings -> Network Tab enable Adapter 1 and select the Bridged Network option in the Attached To drop down list.
There are certain issues with allocation of IP via the DHCP method with version 2.2 with XP as the Guest . It seems SUN has fixed the problem as mentioned here and would make the patch available in the forthcoming releases . Configuring a static IP works fine.
Run all the required programs as usual. You do not have to install the drivers if you are working on a Laptop. All the best with the virtualization .
Also keep visiting the official VirtualBox website for updates and the discussion forums.
i) Sharing Folders was cumbersome in my case though its worked for many as per the internet.
ii) Network speeds are fairly low.
A pic showing FLUENT running in the Guest OS with the System load.