Saturday, August 25, 2012

Virtualization on Ubuntu: TestDrive

If you're looking to testing out Ubuntu in a virtual environment, then Ubuntu's own TestDrive is probably the tool for the job. The UI is basic yet functional. Just pick the version you want to test. Downloading, updating and even creating USB startup disks can all be easily done right from the UI.

The TestDrive main UI
It's that simple.

The Sync button downloads the selected ISO if it's not in the local cache and updates it if it is. Launch to run the ISO in a virtual machine (it uses KVM by default). Create USB Disk is self-explanatory.

Be careful though when testing more than a single ISO. You're downloading a pretty big file (~800MB for the standard desktop image) so things quickly add up. Be sure to have a really big bandwidth connection when initially downloading the image.

Pros:
  • Simple UI to manage ISO disk images and virtual machines
  • Create USB startup disk right from the UI

Cons:
  • Ubuntu-specific. You can't test drive any other distributions (Fedora Core, Mandriva, OpenSuse, etc)
  • There's not much to customize in the virtual machines