You want to run Ubuntu, but you don’t have any extra hardware, and you don’t want to overwrite or dual-boot your Windows or MAC computer. What to do?
Use VirtualBox! It’s free software that lets you run multiple operating systems within an application on your existing computer.
It’s available for Windows, MAC OS X, Linux, and Solaris. That covers any operating system you’re likely to be using.
Once you’ve tried a virtual environment, installing on hardware seems slow and painful.
Many server infrastructures are virtualized, running on VMware ESXi, Microsoft HyperV, or are in the cloud on Amazon Web Services, DigitalOcean, or a similar provider.
Taking a moment now to learn VirtualBox increases your options for trying new operating systems and practicing new things yourself, and can make using virtualization software at work more understandable.
The Operating System you install the downloaded VirtualBox software to is called the Host. The systems you install are virtual machines, or Guests.
Virtual machines are often abbreviated as VM’s.
So, let’s get VirtualBox installed.
Download the appropriate package for your operating system from https://virtualbox.org/wiki/downloads.
Once it’s downloaded, browse to the file. It will probably be in your Downloads folder, unless you typically download to another location or moved it.
I’m showing the steps for MAC OS X here, but it will be similar for other operating systems.
For MAC OS X, double click on the VirtualBox…dmg file to start the installation process.
Your MAC will verify the integrity of the downloaded file.
The VirtualBox installation window will open. Double click on VirtualBox.pkg.
Your system will verify the integrity of the VirtualBox.pkg file.
A window will open asking you to run a program to determine if the software can be installed. Click on Continue to continue the installation.
In the Install Oracle VM VirtualBox window, click on Continue.
Enter your username and password if prompted and click Install Software.
If the installation was successful, click Close to close the installer window.
Under Number 2 in the VirtualBox window, double click the Applications folder to open it and browse to VirtualBox.
Double click on VirtualBox to launch it.
You can also launch it from Launchpad.
For Windows, double click the executable you downloaded and follow the default installation prompts. Then open it as you would any other application.
You’ll see how to install new virtual machines and work with them in upcoming lessons.