What is Virtual Machine?

What is Virtual Machine?
1) A virtual machine program is a computer program that creates a virtual computer system, complete with virtual hardware devices.
2) This virtual computer “machine” runs as a process in a window on your current operating system.
3) You can boot an operating system installer disc (or live CD) inside the virtual machine, and the operating system will be “tricked” into thinking it’s running on a real computer. It will install and run just as it would on a real, physical machine.
4) Whenever you want to use the operating system, you can open the virtual machine program and use it in a window on your current desktop.

Why You’d Want to Create a Virtual Machine

5) Aside from being good geeky fun to play around with, virtual machines have a number of serious uses.
5.1) They allow you to experiment with another operating system without leaving your current operating system. They’re a good way to play with Linux, or at least a new Linux distribution, without actually installing that Linux distribution on your current hardware or even just booting to a live CD or USB drive. When you’re done with an operating system, you can just delete the virtual machine.
5.2) A virtual machine is also a great way to test out a new version of Windows. When the Windows 9 preview comes out, you can avoid potential system instability by installing it in a virtual machine to play with it rather than installing it as your sole operating system.
5.3) A virtual machine also gives you a way to run another operating system’s software. So, if you’re a Linux user, you can install Windows in a virtual machine and run Windows desktop programs in that virtual machine. Mac users can also use virtual machines to run Windows software. Even Windows users could benefit from a virtual machine allowing them to run Linux software in a virtual machine environment rather than dealing with Cygwin or using a dual-boot configuration.
5.4) Virtual machines are also “sandboxed” from the rest of your system, which means that software inside a virtual machine can’t escape the virtual machine and tamper with the rest of your system. A virtual machine can be a good place to rest out programs you don’t trust and see what they do.

Virtual Machine Programs

6) There are several different virtual machine programs you can choose from:
6.1) VirtualBox (Windows, Linux, Mac OS X): VirtualBox is very popular because it’s open-source and completely free. There’s no paid version of VirtualBox, so you don’t have to deal with the usual “upgrade to get more features” upsells and nags. VirtualBox works very well, particularly on Windows and Linux where there’s less competition — it’s a good place to start out.
6.2) VMware Player (Windows, Linux): VMware has their own line of virtual machine programs. You can use VMware Player on Windows or Linux as a free, basic virtual machine tool.  More advanced features — many of which are found in VirtualBox for free — require upgrading to the paid VMware Workstation program. We recommend starting out with VirtualBox, but if it doesn’t work properly you may want to try VMware Player.
6.3) VMware Fusion (Mac OS X): Mac users will need to buy VMware Fusion to use a VMware product, as the free VMware Player isn’t available on a Mac. However, VMware Fusion is more polished.
6.4) Parallels Desktop (Mac OS X): Macs also have Parallels Desktop available. Both Parallels Desktop and VMware Fusion for Mac are more polished than the virtual machine programs on other platforms — they’re marketed to average Mac users who might want to run Windows software.
6.7) Koding.com (previously known as "Kodingen") is an online development environment owned by Koding, Inc. which allows software developers to program and collaborate online in a web browser without the needs of downloading the software development kits. The platform supports multiple programming languages, including Python, Java, Perl, Node.js, Ruby, C, C++, PHP, and Go.



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