Ubuntu is a super-fast and intuitive operating system that powers servers, desktops, laptops and netbooks. It is mostly available free and provides a stable and up to date system for the average user. It has a strong focus and ease of installation.

A need for virtualization on the Ubuntu desktop arises mainly in order to access Windows programs. Another reason to use virtualization on the desktop is to test different versions of Ubuntu or other Linux distributions without bothering to reboot. It also helps to provide security to people as most visualization products offer snapshot features. These allow users to take the image of a virtual machine and roll back to it later in a few clicks. To work in an environment that is free from malware, a virtual machine can be created and quickly restored to a known clean state whenever desired.

Virtualization Tools for Ubuntu

Using virtualization in Ubuntu requires the use of the below mentioned tools, which are the most intuitive and most popular of those available for the operating system.

VMware: This one is one of the first commercial virtualization packages that were targeted at desktop users, and it offers user-friendly tools for virtualizing Linux and Windows guests within an Ubuntu host environment.

Most of its products are available only from the VMware website and users need to register on it before downloading any of its applications. Nevertheless, VM’s applications are one of the most intuitive offerings which can be free or very expensive. If you don’t mind software that needs to be paid for, these can be checked out.

VirtualBox: Desktop users who are looking for a free and easy way to build virtual machines can use the VirtualBox tool. It offers innovative features like support for 3D acceleration in guest operating systems and is a perfect place to start for users new to virtualization. As of today, VirtualBox remains absolutely free for personal use and can be installed in a click from Ubuntu’s repositories.

KVM: It is the ’native virtualization tool’ for Linux and is mostly developed with servers in mind. However, when combined with user-friendly management tools like Red Hat’s Virt-Manager, it can have practical implications too. Its drawback is that it works well only on those processors with virtualized extensions. It is also not fast enough and normal users would rather prefer VirtualBox or VMware.

Xen: It is a virtualization solution pretty much similar to KVM and still remains less intuitive than both VirtualBox and VMware. It doesn’t support all versions of Windows as guest operating systems but in certain cases can be appropriate for desktop virtualization.

It can be summed up that the market for virtualization tools and solutions targeted at the Linux desktop users is flourishing. Although the intuitive options of VMware and VirtualBox remain user friendly, it won’t be a surprise to see Ubuntu endorsing an official desktop virtualization infrastructure on the basis of Xen or KVM in the near future.