A Short VMWare and VirtualBox Comparison

‘ve been using Oracle’s VirtualBox software for a few years and have been considering using VMWare Workstation. VirtualBox works great with Linux Mint 15 with Mate (running Gnome 2), but I’ve had some level of difficulty with almost every other distribution of Linux. That’s not to say I couldn’t eventually sort out most issues with a greater or lesser amount of fiddling. I just don’t want to.

In the case of Mint 15 with Mate, I can resize the parent window, and Mint will resize itself to accomodate the new window size. Mint also works flawlessly in full screen as well as in VirtualBox’s seamless mode. All this without having to install the VirtualBox Additions. Ubuntu 12.04 was the last distribution of that family that came close to Mint’s ‘out of the box’ performance with VirtualBox. I’ve also tried some other distributions such as Debian, Fedora, Kubuntu, Centos, Mint with Cinnamon. Unfortunately, none worked as well as Mint 15 with Mate.

This doesn’t necessarily bode well for VirtualBox though, as I feel it should be working better with the newer distributions, again ‘out of the box’.

VMWare Workstation 10, on the other hand, works very well with Ubuntu 13.10. Performance is absolutely spectacular in full screen mode.

Mint 15 with Mate doesn’t fare as well under VMWare though. Like Ubuntu, it has fixed screen sizes in Windowed mode, but it doesn’t automatically adjust the screen size in full screen mode. Furthermore, the missing 1920×1080 display settings option (well, it didn’t show up for me) also leaves me pretty cold.

As far as licensing goes, VirtualBox is free, whereas I would need to purchase a $250 license for both of my laptop and desktop computers. That clearly takes VMWare Workstation 10 off the table for me.

If I could purchase a single license to support both my laptop and desktop, I consider taking the VMWare Workstation plunge, but would need to perform a LOT more testing before doing so.

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