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Virtualbox

VirtualboxI’ve been toying with VMware Fusion and Parallels for a while now trying to make up my mind which one to settle on, and the decision just got a lot easier. Innotek’s Virtualbox is another X86 virtualiser, with the big distinction of being free. Innotek have just been aquired by Sun Microsystems, so it looks like there won’t be any shortage of funding. I’ve been playing with the latest Beta 3 for OS X hosts, and for a beta product it’s pretty smooth. There are virtual machine additions just like VMware and Parallels so you can freely move the mouse cursor out of the window, and dynamic window resizing is supported. An impressive list of supported guest operating systems including all flavours of Windows from the past 18 years, OS2, Linux 2.2,2.4 and 2.6 kernels, BSD’s, Netware and Solaris. One of the things I wasn’t expecting was support for hiding the windows desktop so only application windows and the taskbar show. It’s called seamless mode in Virtualbox, and operates in the same way as Parallels Coherence and VMware’s unity.

Virtualbox Beta 3 Seamless mode

This is looking like an impressive product for all my virtualisation needs, so if testing continues as smoothly as it has so far I won’t be needing anything else. Next up is some benchmarking using geekbench so I will post again when I have the results.

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