I need both running on one computer

  • What do you mean by "better"? Dec 12, 2011 at 7:37
  • 1
    This question appears to be abandoned, if you are experiencing a similar issue please ask a new question with details pertaining to your problem. If you feel this question is not abandoned, please flag the question explaining that. :)
    – Ringtail
    Feb 28, 2012 at 3:18
  • @LuisAlvarado A question with upvoted answers should not have been closed as too localized based on the idea that it's "abandoned." I can see an argument for closing this as not constructive (though its answers, citing objective facts and presenting clearly identifiable advantages and disadvantages to each way, have redeemed it), but not too localized. This should probably be reopened. Apr 13, 2013 at 8:41

6 Answers 6


Well, "it depends".

Which do you see yourself spending more time in? That should probably be your primary OS.

Keep in mind that device support for VMs is still a bit lacking, so for example it's complicated to sync your iPhone with Windows in a VM on Ubuntu, so that'll also factor into your decision.

There is no right answer, only which works for you.

  • 3
    If you install the proprietary VirtualBox package, you get great USB support for guest VMs. Jul 30, 2010 at 17:17
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    I develop on Ubuntu, yet work oriented communication which happens all day still requires Office.
    – Aviah Laor
    Jul 30, 2010 at 17:22
  • @aviah Have you given Open Office (openoffice.org) a try? It is a free and open source alternative to Microsoft Office. It can work with Microsoft Office formats too.
    – User
    Jul 30, 2010 at 19:51
  • If you depend on Windows just for Office, I suggest to use Windows inside a VM. But you have another options, like run OpenOffice or run MS Office in Wine. Aug 1, 2010 at 12:52
  • If you need virtual machine rollback you may want to have your primary environment as a vm. Dec 12, 2011 at 7:38

I develop on Ubuntu, yet work oriented communication which happens all day still requires Office.

It depends:

  • virtualization takes much of the pain out of O/S upgrades and maintenance; I'd virtualize the environment that changes most rapidly
  • virtualizing your development environment allows you to back it up and restore it more easily
  • but, depending on how heavy-weight your software stack is, the performance hit from virtualization may be unacceptable

Assuming sufficient disk space, you could run Ubuntu and Windows instances under an Ubuntu host.


If you only need Windows for Office, you should probably look at Crossover. It's wine polished, with some tricks and licensed bits (like fonts) to run some applications. It's way cheaper than a windows license and the folks that sell it are the main funders of Wine.

Depending on the version of Office that you need and the exact programs (Word, Excel and Outlook are usually much more polished than Frontpage) it could be a better solution than a VM.


I've been running Ubuntu as my host for a year now. Running Microsoft world in VM's. Only issues are limited 3D support in the guests, but that seems to be an issue with my video card and drivers.


I use VMware Workstation (currently using version 7.1) on Ubuntu to run both Windows 7 and Windows XP guest virtual machines. I am primarily running Linux applications so I find that it works quite well, but I've never run VMware with a Windows host OS so I can't really compare.

In cases where I need to run just one particular application I really like the Unity mode of VMware Workstation (which hides the guest desktop and displays open guest windows directly on the host desktop). It is my understanding that Unity works with either a Linux or Windows guest OS.

When running something like Microsoft Office on a Windows guest virtual machine, I recommend making sure that the host computer has a enough RAM available to run both the host and guest comfortably.

  • Windows host + Ubuntu guest = no Unity Jan 27, 2018 at 1:50

I develop on Ubuntu, yet work oriented communication which happens all day still requires Office.

Then I would say Ubuntu as host. Especially if:

  • you are using heavy tools like app servers and Eclipse
  • you are compiling C/C++, or a lot of Java.
  • what you are developing has networking features

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