Ditch VMware. Don’t look back.

After working in Ubuntu running in VMware for my Ruby on Rails development over the last few months I have come to the realization that VMware is really annoying.

First, I am tired of playing Russian roulette with their poorly chosen keyboard shortcuts. I have inadvertently rebooted the whole VM with a Control+R intended for the Firefox inside the VM more times than I care to admit. Much wailing and gnashing of teeth followed.

Equally poorly planned, but less damaging is their co-opting of the standard undo shortcut Control+Z. The fine folks at VMware decided to use that to suspend the VM which you will eventually discover after flipping between the VM and the host OS and then trying to undo something…

While the fact that switching between the guest and the host OS a few times makes their network connection crash and their seeming inability to make their shared folders work with Ubuntu in any sane way (hopefully fixed now…), both rank on my list of frustrations, the worst by far is the mouse.

I was hoping to get the mouse working better once the VMware tools were installed but that never ended up being the case. For whatever reason after the install I still had to explicitly click in the VM to get it to grab the mouse (or press Control+G… Don’t get me started…) and Control+ALT to release it. I suppose I might have been able to figure out some sort of fix for that had it really caused some acute aggravation, but for the most part it remained as a low level annoyance.

The acute aggravation came from the fact that VMware assumes that anytime you move your mouse anywhere near the top of the screen that you would like to jump out of the VM and access their menu.

Without fail this completely screws up the mouse and I have to try to click several times inside the VM to convince it to grab the mouse again.

Well I am pleased to tell you there is a fix for all of that. Virtualbox. No stupid shortcuts, is actually capable of running compiz-fusion, shared folders that actually work (sudo mount -t vboxsf sharename /mnt/share is all thats needed after you set up your share, exactly what a *nix user would expect), and a single key (the control button on the right side of the keyboard) that releases you from the VM. As a bonus it even seems faster than VMware. The best part is that you don’t have to go trawling on piratebay to get a copy, since it is open source and freely available from their website.

Ditch VMware. Don’t look back.


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