What is Best, VirtualBox, VMWare or virt-manager

The title says it all. Which is better for having virtual machines to play with?
My system is i7, 8GB RAM.
VirtualBox, VMWare or virt-manager.

I care most about shared folder between hosts and guests, shared clipboard two way.

What would you guys recommend?
I always prefer to ask experts and learn from others.

Thanks a lot.

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Performance wise i had best results with virt-manager (QEMU/KVM). Here I’m mostly talking about the fluency of the experience. I think this is because out of the three it has the best virtual display driver so there is no perceivable lag and the VM is very responsive.


Best for what?

If your goal is best isolation and hardest for something to escape out of VM - it’s definitely VirtualBox.
Performance - QEMU/KVM

Thanks @nate
I tried it when I was distro hopping, and it seemed ok.
I still wait for more input from other users.

Thank you very much.

QEMU is mind-blowingly fast, VirtualBox is extremely easy to setup and use but a bit clunky in comparison.

Thanks @LDC @keybreak @nate

Sorry, I am not that techie. Allow me to ask and correct me if I am wrong. QEMU comes with virt-manager?

If I install virt-manager, it is a front end for QEMU?

As Isaid I care about sharing clipboard and folders between host and guests.

You should go Virtualbox since you don’t know much tech.

Setup QEMU/KVM (virt-manager) gives you more headache or stress, you will ask a lot of questions about virt-manager here for sure.

I guess that free VMWare does not have a snapshot function except the paid version. It is full proprietary software.

I remember Virtualbox should support that. If you use KDE on both, you should use Xorg on guest and host.

this detail has escaped me until now. given the amount of ram, using a VM on that machine is going to be a poor experience. I recommend at least 16GB ram for VM use. 32GB would allow for even more wiggle room.

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I was thinking of adding more RAM as it didn’t work well with me when I tried all three on Debian!
I am thinking of making it like 32 GB

Virt-manager (QEMU/KVM) here as well for some years now, never looked back. Tried Vmware, VirualBox first and used them for a few years.

Thanks @sammiev

I noticed virt-manger was somehow attractive to me when I tried the three apps.
I think I will go for it after I add more RAM.

@limotux Another long-time and happy user of QEMU/KVM with virt manager. It’s very fast and easy to setup, albeit a bit dated looking. Not to mention, the CLI commands are really easy to learn if you want that instead of the GUI.

I strongly agree with @nate. 16gb ram would be the absolute minimum, but that would maybe allow for two or three low-end VMs, in my personal experience. If you can afford it, spend the little extra and get 32gb. Overall, I’ve had a lot of good luck with buying used memory on eBay (although, I’d not buy other things used). I recently upgraded the memory in one of my servers (non-ECC) for about 1/3 the cost of new and it’s been running brilliantly. If you’re buying DDR4 laptop memory, it’s pretty inexpensive at the moment. I recently upgraded my partner’s laptop to 32gb for about £34/€40/$42US and you can often find better deals than that. I was just impatient.

Good luck.

It depends what you want.

For ease of use, I would consider gnome boxes or vmware.

For performance, it depends what you are running in the VM, what type of performance you care about most and how much time/effort you are willing to put into it. Generally speaking, almost anything will perform better than virtualbox. VMware will usually perform the best without configuration but qemu/kvm in most cases can exceed that performance with the appropriate choices/setup.

For you, personally, my recommendation is gnome boxes. This is an easy to use and configure front-end for qemu. virt-manager is great, but it definitely has a learning curve.

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Myself I used to use virtual-box but i ran into too many times where it wasn’t working properly with updates and i started using vmware-workstation. I’ve been using it since although at one point i did use virt-manager too. I’ve mainly stuck with vmware for my purposes.

Gonna second @dalto on this one: QEMU/KVM is the way. So gnome-boxes for a simplified experience, or virt-manager if you want more in terms of user configuration. I also tried both Virtual Box and VMWare and they were ok, but neither performed as as well as the former two.

Thanks all for all your valuable input.
I can conclude from what you said, and my previous experience with the 3 front ends, QEMU is the way to go.
I think I will go for virt-manager I tried it, and yes it has a learning curve somehow but I could actually create a virtual machine and run it. (though it wasn’t that easy as VirtualBox, but it was OK. The beauty of Linux is I am learning something new all the time.

Regarding the gnome box, I am on KDE, I don’t like to install something Gnome that will pull/install Gnome stuf to my system. KDE is KDE, Gnome is Gnome. (This is what I think and what I feel comfortable with).

My use case would be mainly to just create a virtual machine, set it up, the basics I need on it, then clone it to play with the clone, try whatever I want to try, kill the system or break it. It is cloned anyway.

This way, I will be ditsro hopping but without actually doing it. IT is just virtual machines.

I am not at the moment thinking of anything too advanced or complicated like running or networking different virtual machines. (maybe later), but the main thing is to play with whatever distro I want.

Of course the first virtual machine would be my lovely EndeavourOS, will install everything and clone it and play with the clone, perhaps I would clone again the clone. I wil try some other distros.

As you said guys, I think I will be going to add 32 GB RAM (maybe on top of the 8GB) I am thinking of just one chip depending on how many slots I have inside for RAM chips, just in case I need to add more later.

Thank you all for all your inputs.
By the way, the other thread, where I mentioned I would go for BTRFS, Grub… etc. I shyed away! (a bit old man here (63 y/o, a bit impatient) and well, my rule of thumb to stick to the defaults though I sometimes tend to be naughty and break the rules and always trying something new.

gnome-boxes doesn’t actually have any gnome dependencies. It is a standard gtk3 application.

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Wow. I will give it a try then.
Thank you @dalto

this made me curious too.

I’m MODERATELY certain this is one of them questions that if you ask 20 people, you’ll get 10 answers.

That said, qemu/kvm w/ virt-manager.