We will be using free software to "virtualize" pretty much any operating system (OS). That means your guest OS (The one you are virtualizing) will run inside your host OS (The OS that your computer runs natively) as if it was an application. To learn more about virtualization, check out Wikipedia.
The benefits are that you will save energy by running all your operating systems in one computer. You will also save money as you are not buying new computers for different operating systems. All your OSs will be right in front of you!
One downside of this is your computer will not run as fast because your system resources are being divided. However, if your computer is pretty powerful, you won't notice the speed difference much. You will need a computer that has enough free hard disk space to install the OS and enough RAM to run smoothly.
Step 1: Software
It will run on Windows, Linux, Mac, and OpenSolaris.
Here are some of the features:
- Guest Additions can be installed on some guest operating systems to provide better performance and integration with the host OS
- Great hardware support
- Full ACPI support, allowing better power integration between the two or more OSs
- USB Device Support, implements a virtual USB controller allowing your virtual OS to utilize your computer's USB ports
- Multiscreen resolutions, allowing your virtual machine to be spread over multiple monitors
- Multigeneration snapshots, VirtualBox can save successive snapshots of the state of the virtual machine. You can revert the virtual machine to the state of any of the snapshots.
- Run 64-bit guest OS inside 32-bit host OS, if you have 64-bit processor
- Windows XP (32-bit)
- Windows Server 2003 (32-bit)
- Windows Vista (32-bit and 64-bit).
- Windows Server 2008 (32-bit and 64-bit)
- Mac OS X (Intel hardware only)
- Debian GNU and Linux 3.1, 4.0, and 5.0 (32-bit and 64-bit)
- Fedora Core 4-10 (32-bit and 64-bit)
- Gentoo Linux (32-bit and 64-bit)
- Redhat Enterprise Linux 4 and 5 (32-bit and 64-bit)
- SUSE Linux 9 and 10 (32-bit and 64-bit)
- OpenSUSE 10.3, 11.0, and 11.1 (32-bit and 64-bit)
- Ubuntu 6.06-8.10 (32-bit and 64-bit)
- Mandriva 2007.1 and 2008.0 (32-bit and 64-bit)
Got all that?