Virtualization is great for testing stuff or for learning new skills. In the old days, if you wanted to test something or teach yourself a new platform, you had to dig out some old computers and hope that they worked. Nowadays, you can just fire up a virtual machine. If your PC has multiple CPU cores and more than 2 GB of RAM, there’s no reason not to use a virtualization product. There are a number of different virtualization tools available for Linux; VMWare Server is a popular one, as is VMWare Player. However, VMWare Server is a tremendous pain to install and set up, and VMWare Player only works with pre-created virtual machines.
Oracle’s (formerly Sun’s) Virtualbox OSE product is much simpler and easier to use for casual testing or serious experimentation.
To install Virtualbox in Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin, issue this command from a terminal window:
sudo apt-get install virtualbox-ose
(If you don’t know how to open a Terminal window, hit CTRL+ALT+T on your keyboard to launch one.)
And that’s it! The apt-get utility will download Virtualbox and its dependencies, and then will then automatically execute its rather lengthy installation script. As ease of installation goes, you can’t beat that. After the installation is finished, you can start Virtualbox by going to the Dash, searching for “Virtualbox”, and then clicking on the icon for Virtualbox OSE.