Considering diving into VM's - I have questions

After seeing @dalto’s thread regarding VMware Workstation Pro’s shift to free for personal use, it got me thinking. Many years ago, when I only had my PC, I used Virtual Box to test out a Linux distro before doing an actual install on my PC. The distro in question escapes me, but that’s not important. I don’t really even recall my experience using Virtual Box, to be honest.

Nowadays, Linux distro reviewers are a dime a dozen on YouTube. And nearly all use one of the VM’s listed below to show the install process and review from there. I’m a distro hopper at heart, and loved testing various distros on my old laptop. After getting a new laptop, I have EOS Cinnamon installed and don’t want to get rid of it for the sake of distro hopping/testing. Same for my EOS KDE install on my MacMini.

So, for someone like me who has no real experience with VM’s, Which of the following would be best? What are the benefits and/or downsides of any of them? Which would be best for someone who’s technically a noob to VM’s?

  • VMware Workstation Pro
  • Gnome Boxes
  • Virtual Box
  • QEMU
  • KVM
  • Virt Manager

QEMU/KVM are the underlying technologies used in virt manager and several other solutions.

That being said, there is no “best”. That is like asking what is the “best” DE. It is all personal preference.

Here is my opinion. If we are talking about full VMs and not containers, there are only two solutions worthy of consideration. VMware or something based on QEMU/libvirt. For the latter, there are two front-ends I would recommend, virt manager and gnome boxes. Virt manager is sophisticated with many options and gnome boxes is simple and easier to use.

Since it sounds like you want something basic, I would recommend either VMware or Gnome Boxes.

You couldn’t pay me to use VirtualBox at this point. It used to be great but has been poorly maintained and has not aged well. Not only is it the worst performing, but it is common to hit compatibility issues.


Best is very subjective.
Best for someone new to VMs? From my experience, VirtualBox.
Or, even simpler, Boxes. But Boxes may be too simple.

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Yes, “best” definitely is subjective. Perhaps I wasn’t quite clear enough. I didn’t mean best as in the best in general. I meant best for the specific scenario of someone with no real experience with VM’s.

I appreciate your suggestions and advice! Leaning towards VMware or Gnome Boxes at the moment. I may install Gnome Boxes on my EOS Cinnamon laptop and Vmware in my EOS KDE MacMini and give them each a test run for a while.

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Nah. You were clear. We just both addressed both parts of your query. :sweat_smile:

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So, which distros are you thinking of?

I’m not 100% sure. Either something I haven’t used in a very long time. Maybe Debian Stable. Or one of the immutable/atomic distros. Maybe Fedora Silverblue or Nitrux.

Okay. I’ll be trying out Nitrux too. They are making some changes related to KDE, and I’d like to have a more hands-on experience with their decisions.

Tried Rhino too, but their package manager is too finicky.

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Indeed. Interesting that they will not be using KDE Plasma 6. They will continue to use KDE Plasma 5 for most of 2024, as version 5.27.x is an LTS release.

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Yeah, looking forward to what they do. They want to keep providing a user-friendly and beautiful DE/shell experience.

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