On my PC running Windows 7 I use VMware Player to run Ubuntu in a virtual machine.

What would I use in my MacBook Pro to run Ubuntu? What about for running Windows?


VirtualBox is free (as in beer and as in speech), and I've run Ubuntu under it just fine. Of course, Oracle just bought Sun, so we don't really know yet if they will continue offering VirtualBox for free. Supposedly Windows runs under it just fine too, I haven't tried it, though VirtualBox doesn't offer any sort of video acceleration so lots of the new eye candy in Vista and Windows 7 won't work so well.

The other two common choices are Parallels and VMWare Fusion. I'd check a recent comparison of all three that was published in Macworld for information on how to choose between them.

  • 1
    It's either beer or speech. Not both. – Josh K Feb 10 '10 at 1:55
  • @Josh Yes, I should clarify. There's a free as in beer option, that has a nice installer and is easy to set up. There's a free as in speech option, which has a few features left out but is available under the GPL. It's not a setup conducive to enticing outside developers to contribute, since the free as in speech option is limited and they require you to rebrand it if you distribute a modified version. The point is, it don't cost nuttin', and you can tinker with most of it if you want to. – Brian Campbell Feb 10 '10 at 2:28

Parallels is one choice. VMWare Fusion is another. I prefer VMWare Fusion because in my experience it's a lot more stable then Parallels.


This Superuser question compares the 3 options mentioned above; Paralles, VMWare Fusion, and Virtualbox. Well worth the read.


I prefer VMWare Fusion, particularly if you like running several OSs, particularly Linux distribution. The availability of canned "appliances" makes installation very quick. Parallels is also very good, and Virtual Box is both good and free, Any of them will run Windows well. Virtualization has gotten fast enough to support the Aero effects in Windows, but dual booting is still the best choice for playing games at high frame rates.

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