VM software preferences?

I’m getting ready to reconfigure a number of my machines in the next few months, and I figured I’d play around in some VMs first. Does anyone have strong likes or dislikes when it comes to VM software? The main ones I’m looking at are the obvious choices (I think): VMware, VirtualBox, and QEMU. I’m not running a very powerful system (8-12GB RAM depending on the machine), so efficiency is appreciated. Please feel free to mention options beyond those three if I should know about them. Thanks!

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Qemu w/ KVM here. I’ve had bad experienced with Vbox and it’s from Oracle, and VMWare I learned to hate managing it at work before I abandoned it for Nutanix (which is built on KVM)


VirtualBox because of its ease of use and good GUI.
QEMU is IMO a better alternative but a little more difficult to set up depending on the guest.


VirtualBox is by far the easiest way to get up-and-running quickly and reliably. QEMU is technically “better” (and will support different architectures etc.) and the gnome-boxes (simplistic) or virt-manager (advanced) GUI front-ends can make things easier. Avoid VMWare unless you are running a kernel they support.

The main thing is to enable virtualisation support in your BIOS (VT-x for Intel, SVM for AMD) and make sure hardware virtualisation is enabled in your virtualiser settings.


some marketing for the wiki


I use them all but my favorite is still virtual-box. It’s the main one i use because i find it much easier to use and setup quicker than the others. You can clone a setup and use it for all installs that are the same base.


I prefer vmware workstation for my needs. I haven’t really found anything else that meets my needs from a performance, reliability and system integration perspective.

Virtualbox has been filled with bugs since version 6 and performance is lower compared to vmware and qemu/kvm. It is certainly the easiest to get working.

qemu/kvm is more complicated from a configuration perspective and while it has the ability to configured for high performance you need to know how to configure and optimize it for each different type of guest OS. It lacks many system integration features(or I don’t know how to configure them)

gnome boxes is a front-end for qemu/kvm but it so simplistic that it doesn’t support many guests.


gnome-boxes for me here. It’s enough for me to run a Win10 VM or test some Linux Distros out. If gnome-boxes feels to simplistic, one can change to virt-manager and use/manage the gnome-boxes VM with it (or just configure it within virt-manager - then fire it up again in gnome-boxes).

Virtmanager and gnome-boxes are interchangable also with cockpit if you are far from home and wirk just need some virtual envirenmentz or containerz that do some heavy work instead your phone or laptop (θ‿θ)

I use VMWare Worksation as it is what we use at university. I’ve used virtualbox earlier on as they wanted us to use different VM software, but nowadays we mostly use VMWare unless it’s a vagrant automatic install which builds a virtualbox VM(like metasploitable 3). From my experience with those two, VMWare seems to have the most advanced networking features.

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I have vmware 16 Pro working with 5.9 kernel.

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Thanks all, this is very helpful. I’ll report back on successes/failures when I get a chance to really start working on it.

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I use virt-manager withquemu/kvm. I find it overall the best. Never have any issues with updates, open source, and linux distros run incredibly well on it. It can run Windows quite well, and it provides complete control. VMWare is nice, but it is proprietary, and it does a lot of the work for you which makes it a PITA in some ways. Virtualbox, I have used in the past but frequent issues with updates.