OSBoxes Virtual Machine Appliances

You'll know by now I'm a huge fan of Oracle VirtualBox (hint: I wrote a book on VirtualBox Networking because the article series here was so popular). Virtual machines are an incredibly useful way to test operating system releases, new applications, server tools and sandbox potentially troublesome software.

If you don't have time to build your own virtual machines, however, you can get pre-built appliances from a number of sources, one of which is community project OSBOXES.org.

There you will find a huge number of open-source (Linux/Unix) virtual machines (VDIs) for VirtualBox. These base-level installs are ready-to-use VirtualBox images you can download and run on your own host machine.

You can download and attach the VDI image to your VirtualBox and use it. There are machine images for both 32bit and 64bit architectures. I've lost count of the number of OS choices there are on the site, but it's over thirty Linux/Unix distributions, PLUS you get the choice of historical releases. The Ubuntu selection goes all the way back to the 12.04 release, for example.

The site also supports images for the other virtualisation giant, VMWare.

If you don't want to go through the process of installing virtual machines from scratch, this is a great time saver. RC