Virtually speaking, think outside the bochs.
Our cross platform IA-32 emulator friend, Bochs, has a powerful new competitor who offers more than the emulation we have all come to know and dread...err...I meant love.
Our cross platform IA-32 emulator friend, Bochs, has a powerful new competitor who offers more than the emulation we have all come to know and dread...err...I meant love. Step aside - contiguous native virtualization is the new release VirtualBox from Innotek. Host support is complete for GNU/Linux and Windows 32 and 64X while Mac, OS/2, FreeBSD and Solaris are not far behind.
I was particularly impressed with the virtual serial ports and seamless windows that allow a VM window to directly integrate with your GNU/Linux or Windows desktop. No other solution offers this much functionality in virtualization. The interface is very user friendly and help is plentiful. The IRC channels offer instant help while the Forums are packed full of tips and tricks.
VirtualBox has pro actively covered all the shared dll nightmares we have all encountered with emulators and paravirtualization (Xen) allowing the sheer power of this tool to shine above the rest. I have been a VMWare fan for quite a few years, this is simply more powerful and easier to use from administration to end use. Imagine not having to modify your host system! How would you like RDP and USB support for your Virtual XP box? Wouldn't having the ability to share folders on your virtual machine be a blessing? It's all there, today, in the latest release, VirtualBox 1.5.0.
The key to the success of this virtualization solution, I believe, is in
the ability to port VM definitions to other computers with a minimum of the issues we currently face. The use of XML for configuration files makes this a fast and simple solution - no more rebooting.
If you are looking for a solid open source solution to virtualization,
give this a peek. The install takes less than 5 minutes to install and
create a host and guest in either GNU/Linux or Windows. Time well spent. If your feeling nostalgic, go ahead and load up OS/2 VM on your GNU/Linux host!
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