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I depend upon Ubuntu for most of my work but I still need Windows 7 for some applications such as

Office 2010

Casual Gaming

Adobe CS4 and other windows softwares that are not available on Ubuntu yet.

I checked Wine but as of now it provides no support for Office 2010 and most of my games and softwares. So, I decided to go for Virtualizing Windows 7 inside Ubuntu, but I am confused about which virtualization software should I use on Ubuntu for virtualization.

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Due to lack of suuficiently fast 3D support VirtualBox is not recommended for gaming. –  Takkat Mar 1 '11 at 10:49
    
Note that VirtualBox is a virtualization software, so the word you're looking for is virtualization. And yes, for gaming, go for dual-boot. –  Oxwivi Mar 1 '11 at 10:51
    
@Takkat: As of now I am only interested in casual gaming . –  gkt Mar 1 '11 at 10:54
    
Define "casual gaming". World of Warcraft? Farmville? Short sessions of Crysis or CoD4? –  WernerCD Mar 1 '11 at 15:19
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5 Answers 5

up vote 6 down vote accepted

"VirtualBox" is not a generic term. It only refers to one software product, that is VirtualBox.

As far as virtualisation software goes, yes, it's pretty good. You can (as I do) run Adobe CS4 applications in it just fine and the performance is still fairly good too.

While we're talking about virtualisation, I would perhaps suggest not installing Windows 7 as a virtualised "guest". You typically want the lightest possible operating system and for most modern support that's still Windows XP. If you have a license of that, you'll probably find it runs faster.

I'm not sure I'd bother with it for MS Office. Trying to keep yourself locked to Office is usually a recipe for failure. I strongly suggest you attempt a migration to something like OpenOffice or LibreOffice or even something internet-based like Google Documents (which adds on extra collaborative features).

Gaming in a virtualised environment is a no-go. It's just not fast enough. The virtual environment doesn't have direct access to the video hardware (because Ubuntu is using it) so any acceleration is software based (there is a 3D layer provided by Wine - but it's very slow and buggy).

If you want something for gaming you either go with:

  • Wine. Google for: "appdb your-game-here" and you'll find out how well it is supported. Performance is usually poorer than in Windows and some things just won't run well, if at all. But some games do run really quite well.

  • Dual Boot. You leave part of your disk dedicated to Windows so that you can still boot to it when you restart. This leaves you with the best gaming performance but it does mean you have to restart to play games and then restart again to get back to Ubuntu.

The important thing you should take away from this is: you don't need to pick just one route for migration. You can have VirtualBox for CS4 apps, native alternatives for Office and Dual boot or Wine for games. Each technology has its benefits and drawbacks and hopefully this will let you choose which is best for each.

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Well said! I'd add Vineyard into the mix - it's quite the painkiller in configuring Wine. –  Oxwivi Mar 1 '11 at 12:25
    
♦: I agree with you suggestion for using Win XP instead of Win 7 as it will be more compatible with virtualbox and will be light on resource use, but as I know there are may security issues in XP which I am particularly concerned about. I am afraid if running Xp as Host in Ubuntu will do away with its known security issues? –  gkt Mar 1 '11 at 13:38
    
With guest additions, virtualbox (non free version) do better, can do seemless applications, could open your native windows partition of your dual-boot, could use usb hardware but don't work with my tv tuner ... Virtualbox is limited with games, vmware could help play some 3d games but I'm not sure it's worth it ... –  zillion Mar 1 '11 at 15:49
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VM Ware is also very good. It allows you to even activate the Windows 7 Aero theme feature.

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Office 2007 work on wine, 2010 should also work ...

Cs4 work, even Cs5 ...

Gaming with wine (with or without playonlinux), crossover, cedega or a dual-boot could help you play your games ...

Wine is more than decent with old games and softwares, retro gamers are happy cause many games don't work on windows xp and 7, but they could play them easily on linux ...

Native linux games are better but some games work better on wine than on windows, it's more a matter of choice and time used to configurate your games on linux ...

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You might also want to checkout PlayOnLiunx if your interest is also gaming. However it is not only for gaming!

Here is the list of supported software.

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The main problem with playonlinux is that it use a specific version of wine to setup your game, you could sometimes do better with the latest wine that you configurate by yourself ... So it's good for beginners but for others it can be a rock in theirs shoes ... –  zillion Mar 1 '11 at 15:45
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Virtualbox is probably the simplest to set up and use for this see http://www.virtualbox.org/

It's also available in the Ubuntu Software Centre for easy installation

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The version from Software Center does not support USB or RDP. –  Takkat Mar 1 '11 at 10:50
    
most of the software that i will be using on virtualbox will require internet connection, is there any knows issues on virtualbox for internet connectivity or any ethernet driver problems ? –  gkt Mar 1 '11 at 11:06
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If you can connect to the internet with your Ubuntu install you should have no problems in a Win7 virtual environment. –  Mark Rooney Mar 1 '11 at 11:16
    
@gkt.pro, OS inside VirtualBox will behave as if they're connected to a wired connection. –  Oxwivi Mar 1 '11 at 11:37
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