Enough VMware, let's use VirtualBox-OSE!

I've been using VMware server mainly for accessing Windows (sometimes I need MS Office or IE). VMware server is a very good product, but is also closed source, and very disconnected from the community.

Some of the source is open (such as vmmon & vmnet kernel modules), but still VMware don't cooperate with the FOSS community. This means that good people make patches to support newer kernel versions, but they act like pirates. VMware won't apply their patches. VMware can't work out-of-the-box on kernels since ~2.6.21 or so.

Same goes with a more minor, X <-> GTK <-> VMware bug I've been writing about. It might be a non-VMware bug but something in Xorg. But I'd expect them to figure it out and post a message or even help to fix the Xorg bug, if it's an Xorg bug. Instead, they either ignore our requests or tell that we use non supported distros. Which is true. But if the problem is Xorg7.3 integration, they'd better fix it, because RHEL 6 would probably use it as well. Same goes for new kernel versions.

Both bugs are being neglected by VMware for more than a year.

So screw them, I chose a community supported virtualization solution: VirtualBox Open Source Edition. Debian has a kernel module package for each kernel versions, and stuff looks much better so far.
I'd suggest VMware to hire a single FOSS guy for Linux integration and "community special tasks". He'll be very busy, but I think that this is all it takes to change their "community involvement" upside-down.

Update: been using it for few days, VirtualBox is cool 😉

4 thoughts on “Enough VMware, let's use VirtualBox-OSE!

  1. Meir

    How about opening vmdk files in OSE ? Has it worked for you or you've installed the machines from scratch ?

  2. Oded

    This is hardly the experience I got- VMWare Server 2 worked out of the box for me on both Fedora and Ubuntu, and VMWare Workstation on Fedora. Earlier betas for server-2 and workstation-6.5 had problems with networking and VMCPI but patched versions where available from the community forums and the recent versions have these patches integrated so no more problems.

    I understand that you are a Debian guy, and considering Debian\\\'s meddling policy(*) it may well be that your problems are with the broken Debian kernel packages.

    (*) patching software locally and maintaining the changes for all eternity instead of pushing them upstream or even reporting bugs upstream - there are so many recent examples that it useless to count.

  3. Oren

    Oded: I was going to try VMware server 2, but it was so bloated (~500MB, which is at least x3 size of VMware server 1) that I got scared and canceled the download.

    Anyway, according to what you say it sounds promising, I hope that I was wrong about their contact with the community.

    One thing for sure: VMware server 1.x kernel compatibility problems have nothing to do with Debian patches. It's problematic against vanilla.

    And about Debian's don't-send-to-upstream policy: I won't be surprised if RedHat's kernel is even more patched and far from vanilla. But they can, cuz they ARE the standard 🙂

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