VirtualBox runs great on Win 7

Linux seems to be the OS of choice for utility computing providers. EC2 charges 3 cents/hour for Linux instances (when buying $325 or $500 hours in bulk) compared to the 12.5 cents per hour charged for the comparable Windows instance. Given the price savings, that’s incentive enough for me to try building an app on the Linux system. OK, and the fact that knowing Linux will open up a wealth of Open Source tools to me AND I’ll be able to use the Advanced Packaging Tool (aka apt) to get and install applications. If I go the Windows route, I would lose the apt path, and that’s unacceptable since the Windows installations are a bit more difficult than the Linux ones.

I’m also not willing to give up Windows 7 as my main OS, which means I need a VM to run things. My filter process to pick out a VM host is simple: if I can install Ubuntu AND have the wireless card in my Dell XPS 13 work, I’m done with the search. Here’s how the search panned out:

Windows Virtual PC

Installed but wouldn’t run on Windows 7. I couldn’t find any other VM software on my installed image, and I gave up after 20 minutes of digging around the Internet and my PC. FAIL.

Total time spent: 45 minutes.

VMWare Workstation

This seemed to be the next, obvious choice. Everything installed great, but I couldn’t figure out how to share my wireless card with the Ubuntu VM. After 20 minutes, I again called off the search and moved on to something else. Remember, I’m just trying to get Ubuntu to work on my machine and talk to the Internet over my wireless card. If I fail on everything I try, I’ll do more research, but I gave up here too.

Total time spent: 55 minutes.

Virtual Box

Installed quickly, then allowed me to get Ubuntu set up. Wireless worked immediately-no thinking required on my part.

Total time spent: 20 minutes.

So, if you are running a 64-bit Windows 7 instance (or maybe something else?) and need to run Ubuntu 9.04, I can state that downloading an Ubuntu ISO and installing using the defaults onto a Virtual Box VM just works. I’m not going to investigate any other options-I’m happy enough with how things have been working, including speed of execution.

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