Gnome Boxes - Easy Way to Run a Virtual machine

Gnome Boxes - Easy Way to Run a Virtual machine

Gnome Boxes is a virtualization tool for the GNOME desktop environment. It allows users to run virtual machines within a GNOME desktop and supports a variety of popular guest operating systems, including Microsoft Windows and various Linux distributions. In today’s article, we’ll take a look at what Boxes are, how it works, and some of their features.

A little bit of history

Gnome Boxes is a virtualization application for the GNOME desktop environment. It’s a great tool that allows users to run virtual machines on their computers without installing any additional software. As a result, it’s pretty easy to use. The application was originally developed by Red Hat and was included in the GNOME 3.4 release in March 2012. However, in May 2012, the project was transferred to the GNOME Foundation. Gnome Boxes are based on the virt-manager application.

How to install Gnome Boxes

As a Debian user, I’ll describe the whole process of installation on this distro. It may vary on other distributions, but the idea is the same.

First, you need to install the Boxes package from your package manager. If you’re using a graphical package manager, you can search for “Gnome Boxes” and install it from there. If you’re using a command-line package manager, the package is called “gnome-boxes”. In the case of Debian, the best way to install it is to use this command:

sudo apt-install gnome-boxes
sudo apt install gnome-boxes
Install gnome-boxes using the command line

After installation finishes, you can launch Gnome Boxes from your application launcher. Once Gnome Boxes is open, you can create a new virtual machine by clicking the “New” button in the top-left corner. A wizard will guide you through the process of creating a new virtual machine. You’ll need to choose an operating system template, specify a name and location for the virtual machine, and allocate memory and storage space for it.

Once the virtual machine is created, you can start it by clicking the “Start” button. The first time you start a virtual machine, you’ll have to choose an installation method. You can either install an operating system from an ISO image, or you can download and install a pre-built operating system template.

If you choose to install from an ISO image, you’ll need to specify the location of the ISO image. Once the installation of the operating system finishes, you can launch it by clicking the “Launch” button. And that’s it! You should now have a working virtual machine that you can use for whatever purposes you need.

Alternative software for virtualization

Although Boxes virtual machine is a great option for beginners, it’s not a virtual machine manager. It’s more just a runner for virtual machines. There are plenty of other great options for running virtual machines. Here are some of the most popular ones you can choose from:

  • VirtualBox
  • VMWare
  • QEMU
  • KVM
  • Xen

Gnome Boxes vs VirtualBox: A Brief Comparison

When it comes to virtualization software, both Gnome Boxes and VirtualBox are popular choices for creating and managing virtual machines. While they share some common features, there are key differences that may influence your decision depending on your needs and expertise.

Gnome Boxes are designed with simplicity and ease of use in mind, offering an intuitive user interface and essential virtualization features such as creating, starting, and stopping virtual machines. It seamlessly integrates with the Gnome desktop environment, making it an ideal choice for those looking for a straightforward virtualization experience. On the other hand, VirtualBox caters to users who require greater control over their virtual machines, boasting a more comprehensive feature set, including support for multiple virtual CPUs, advanced networking options, and 3D acceleration. Though it may be slightly more challenging for beginners to navigate, VirtualBox’s advanced features make it suitable for complex virtualization scenarios.

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