Trying to get a Virtual Machine to work on 64 bit Redhat 5.5? You may want to read these reviews of Virtual Box, and VMWare Player first.
Over many hours over a number of weeks, I struggled to install Virtual Box on 64 bit Redhat 5.5. Please read about these struggles first. It was version:
rpm -qa | grep -i “virtual”
I’ve also installed the extension pack.
Interestingly, Virtual Box does not have a simple –version or -v flag! Unlike the majority of commands and RPMs on Linux.
You can see the struggle I had just to install Virtual Box in another post. Four very fundamental things were documented wrong, or not documented at all! Surprise! Finally I got it installed.
Then I tried to create a Windows XP virtual machine. But Virtual Box just didn’t want to work.
Virtual Box has a 296 page user document. I read about all kinds of things to worry about. Connectivity with USB. CD drives. How to transfer the control of the cursor from the VM to the host. And what was written, didn’t make sense. Just what keys was it referring to?
I tried to create an XP VM. But it wasn’t working. One initial problem is that Virtual Box wants the Extension Pack to be installed also. This was easy enough to do. Just go to Virtual Box Settings, Extensions, and add the Extension.
But you really gotta wonder, why a separate process? If Extensions are pretty much a prerequisite, why not just make them part of the core product? Hey, it’s not that difficult.
Then I eventually found out that I also needed an XP installation CD. Again not disclosed. Surprise! Why was this not blatantly obvious even before I download Virtual Box?
No matter. I have a number of XP installation CDs. I put on in the drive, and tried to create a VM again.
When I hit the Create button, everything hung. I don’t mean that the Virtual Box program hung. I mean the entire Linux Redhat server hung! So badly that when I pinged the server from another machine, I got the message: Request timed out. I saw a progress bar stuck at 20%. On the the keyboard, the Caps and scroll lock lights blinked. Finally I had to pull the plug on the server and reboot.
I’ve worked with Unix and Linux since 1995. And with DOS before that. DOS used to hang frequently, and require a reboot. While Linux can have lots of issues, Linux is pretty stable. In all the time I’ve worked with it, I don’t think that I’ve ever seen Unix or Linux hang.
But Virtual Box managed to hang the entire Linux server! Unbelievable! Just what did they do to accomplish that?
Finally I gave up and downloaded VM Player.
The installation was flawless. In contrast to the character based Virtual Box installation, VMWare Player uses a simple and straightforward GUI installation.
VMware Player 4.0.2 build-591240
I was then able to quickly make a Windows XP virtual machine. VM Player has another intuitive and straightforward GUI to create the machine.
I put in a CD and installed XP. Just like installing on a bare hard drive, this took a while. After XP installed, I was able to use the Windows XP VM, from within my Linux server. Even browse the internet. Cool.
There have only been a few issues so far with VM Player. One has been with the XP license. While I have used these CDs to install on my Dell machines with never an issue before, now I am getting a message that the license key must be updated within 30 days.
The other issue has been to make a share drive with the Linux server. I’ve used the GUI. But it is not showing up in the Windows VM. The VMWare Player manual is only 110 pages long, so hopefully it will be straightforward enough.
One nice thing about VM Player is that there is no need to worry about the keyboard and mouse. When you move from Linux to the XP VM, it’s implicit and automatic. Documentation and pop ups for Virtual Box talk a lot about a control key to toggle between the VM and the host.
Originally I choose Virtual Box because it was from Oracle. And installed it on official the Oracle Redhat 64 bit operating system. But it didn’t install. When I finally got it to install, it then wanted me to install an Extension Pack. Then it not only would not create the VM, it actually hung the entire Linux server! After many hours of struggle over a number of days, I had nothing to show for it. I was not happy.
VM Player on the other hand, downloaded, installed and created a VM in about two hours. It was intuitively obvious. I didn’t need to read any documentation. The longest time involved was actually installing the Windows XP software. A few issues, but I’m confident they will be solved.
It’s such a pleasure when software just installs and works properly! Why doesn’t all software work like that?