5 Best VirtualBox Alternatives On Linux

Oracle VM VirtualBox is a popular virtualization tool on the Linux platform for one reason: out of all the virtual machine tools available, it’s one of the easiest to use. The program has an excellent amount of features and is widely available on a lot of  Linux operating systems.  Still, Oracle isn’t exactly a great company, and lots of Linux users have problems with their business practices.

If you’ve been trying to find a VirtualBox replacement on Linux with equivalent features, look no further than this list! Here are the five best VirtualBox alternatives on Linux!

1. Gnome Boxes

Gnome Boxes is the Gnome Project’s attempt at making complex virtualization operations on Linux simple. Many people in the Linux community praise the tool for its quick setup wizard, ability to load up an OS image directly from a URL, and more.

This application is quite useful, even for advanced Linux users with complex needs. The app is quite similar to other virtualization programs on Linux and is quite competitive in features despite its basic appearance.

Notable Features:

  • Intuitive, easy to understand user interface that lets even complete newbies create and manage virtual machines quickly.
  • Boxes can automatically detect the OS based on what ISO you choose during setup. During the detection process, the program will automatically assign the correct amount of virtual disk space and allocate RAM.
  • Useful “clone” feature lets users instantly make complete copies of existing virtual machines.
  • Gnome Boxes has a compelling search feature that when paired with Gnome Shell can be used to launch VMs directly from the desktop.
  • The Boxes application has a robust command-line user interface that scratches the itch of more advanced VM users.

2. Virtual Machine Manager

If you’re working with virtual machines a lot on VirtualBox for multiple server jobs, the most logical alternative is Virtual Machine Manager.

What is Virtual Machine Manager? It’s a graphical user interface for Libvirt on Linux. It can handle the standard Linux KVM virtual machine, as well as other VM types like Xen and even LXC containers.

The VirtManager tool is excellent, especially for those who use VMs on Linux in the enterprise.

Notable Features:

  • Virtual Machine Manager can interact with KVM, Xen or QEMU style virtual machines.
  • The Virtual Machine Manager application can not only manage VMs locally but remotely too.
  • Even though Virtual Machine Manager is mainly for VMs, it is also possible for users to interact with LXC containers using the same interface.
  • Aside from stellar support for many Linux features (KVM, etc.,) Virtual Machine Manager also can interact with FreeBSD’s bhyve hypervisor technology.
  • Virt-Manager lets users add and remove physical hardware on the fly with a simple user interface.

3. VMWare Workstation Pro

VMWare Workstation Pro is a commercially developed virtualization platform for Linux, Windows, and other OSes. Users must pay for the software, and as a result, it packs in some of the most useful virtualization tools on the market.

This program isn’t free, and to use it you’ll need to pay a pretty penny. However, if free virtualization tools like VirtualBox aren’t enough for you, VirtualBox may be the answer.

Notable Features:

  • VMWare Workstation has a stellar networking editor tool that lets users customize how their VMs interact with networks and each other.
  • The “scan for virtual machines” wizard makes setting up pre-configured VM appliances refreshingly simple.
  • VMWare works with both remote and local VMs, on a variety of hypervisors.
  • The program has an excellent set of easy to access ESXi Host options (which improves in variety with each release), and makes dealing with VMWare ESXi servers dead simple.
  • VMWare Workstation Pro has one of the best snapshot systems in virtualization. With it, users can create and revert to a snapshot in an instant, without too much downtime.
  • Users can quickly test and share virtual machines in a “simulated production” environment.
  • VMWare virtual machines are in one standard format and ecosystem. Having a single ecosystem enables users to run VM appliances on Linux, Mac and Windows hosts with little effort.

4. UCS Virtual Machine Manager

UCS Virtual Machine Manager is a Linux VM management tool for Linux, which specializes in working with cloud VMs, clusters, and other enterprise-level virtual systems.

The software is free and open source, and though its primary target is the enterprise, average users can take advantage of it for things like Amazon Private cloud, etc.

Notable Features:

  • Out of the box support for cloud hosts like Amazon EC2 and OpenStack.
  • UCS supports private clouds via Amazon AWS.
  • UCS Virtual Machine Manager has it’s own unique Linux distribution that is crafted to run in clusters and UCS style VMs.
  • The tool has a web-based management center which makes managing VMs anywhere very easy.
  • Managing virtual machines is done through Libvirt and KVM, ensuring that nearly every Linux distribution has excellent support.
  • UCS has support for paravirtualization, which uses hardware much more efficiently.
  • Users can quickly migrate running instances from server to server very quickly.

5. AQEMU

AQEMU is a slick GUI tool for kernel-based virtual machines on Linux and BSD. It is written with Qt4 and allows users to create VMs for many different operating systems very quickly.

While it’s not anyone’s first choice in the “easy to use” section of virtualization tools on Linux, AQEMU is still an excellent alternative to VirtualBox due to how much it lets users customize and configure their VMs.

Notable Features:

  • AQEMU has a useful folder sharing feature that makes accessing directories on the host OS quick and easy.
  • With AQEMU, users can add/remove devices from any VM on the fly, thanks to the Device Manager feature.
  • The HDD image creation tool can also convert images to other formats.

Conclusion

VirtualBox is an excellent tool for virtualization on Linux, but it’s not the only choice. If you’re trying to get away from Oracle, the alternatives on this list are sure to satisfy your virtualization needs. Be sure to click on the links to learn how to get them for your Linux operating system!

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How To Install The RawTherapee Image Processing Tool On Linux

In need of a proper raw image processing tool on your Linux PC? Check out the RawTherapee image processing tool. It’s an application that specializes in analyzing, editing, tagging and managing many types of digital photographs.

RawTherapee has excellent Linux support and has detailed instructions for all of the mainstream Linux distributions. To install it, you need to be running Ubuntu, Debian, Arch Linux, Fedora, or OpenSUSE. Alternatively, if you do not use any of these distributions, you’ll need to be able to execute and run things like AppImages.

Note: in addition to running on Linux, RawTherapee also has a Windows and Mac OS version.

Ubuntu

The RawTherapee photo processing tool has some pretty good support for Ubuntu, and its derivatives in the form of a software PPA. To enable this personal package archive, you’ll need to open up a terminal window. In the terminal window, paste the following command.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:dhor/myway

PPAs are easily set up in Ubuntu, but they aren’t fully functional until the system has a chance to add it to the software catalog. To do this, you must run the update command.

sudo apt update

Running the update command allows Ubuntu to check all software sources for new packages, update the release files, etc. After this command finishes, the RawTherapee PPA will be fully accessible. However, before continuing, you’ll need to finish updating, with the upgrade command.

sudo apt upgrade -y

Ubuntu is up to date, and the app is ready to install. Grab it with the install command.

sudo apt install rawtherapee

Debian

RawTherapee has a pretty good community, and as a result, the program has support for many different Linux distributions — including Debian.

Installing the software on Debian requires interacting with the OpenSUSE Build Service. Officially, only Debian Stable and Old Stable (version 8) are working. To start the installation, open up a terminal and add the software repo to your software sources.

Debian 9

sudo echo 'deb http://download.opensuse.org/repositories/home:/rawtherapee/Debian_9.0/ /' >> /etc/apt/sources.list.d/rawtherapee.list

Debian 8

sudo echo 'deb http://download.opensuse.org/repositories/home:/rawtherapee/Debian_8.0/ /' >> /etc/apt/sources.list.d/rawtherapee.list

With the software source added to Debian, it’s time to use the update command. Updating allows the system to check if the new software repository is accessible.

sudo apt-get update

Running the update command on Debian will enable the system to set up new software sources. Additionally, it’ll check for any software updates, which you can install using the upgrade command.

sudo apt-get upgrade -y

With everything up to date on Debian, install RawTherapee.

sudo apt-get install rawtherapee

Arch Linux

Arch Linux users have a few ways of installing the RawTherapee image processing tool. In this tutorial, we’ll focus on the third-party software repository that the developers provide. The third-party software repository is superior to the AUR version as it allows users to get constant updates, without needing to fiddle with compiling packages.

Note: want to get the AUR version? Grab it here.

Using Nano, open your Pacman configuration file. Paste the code below into it, at the very bottom of the file.

[home_rawtherapee_Arch_Extra]
SigLevel = Never
Server = http://download.opensuse.org/repositories/home:/rawtherapee/Arch_Extra/$arch

Save the file in Nano with Ctrl + O and exit the editor by pressing Ctrl + X. Once you’ve left Nano, re-sync Pacman to enable the new RawTherapee software repository.

sudo pacman -Syyuu

Finally, install RawTherapee using the Pacman tool.

sudo pacman -S rawtherapee

Fedora

The RawTherapee application can easily be set up on Fedora Linux, and users can expect regular updates thanks to the OpenSUSE Build Service. Officially, RawTherapee supports every version of Fedora, from version 25 to 28. There’s no doubt that in the future they’ll update it with support for future releases as well.

To set up the RawTherapee Fedora repo, open up a terminal and run the following command.

Note: change X to the version of Fedora you want RawTherapee to run on.

sudo dnf config-manager --add-repo http://download.opensuse.org/repositories/home:rawtherapee/Fedora_X/home:rawtherapee.repo

Finish up the setup process by installing the RawTherapee application on your Fedora Linux PC.

sudo dnf install rawtherapee

OpenSUSE

Are you an OpenSUSE user looking to install the RawTherapee image processing tool? Lucky for you, it’s super easy to install and set up. To do it, you’ll need first to add the third-party software repository.

OpenSUSE Leap 15.0

sudo zypper addrepo http://download.opensuse.org/repositories/home:rawtherapee/openSUSE_Leap_15.0/home:rawtherapee.repo

OpenSUSE Leap 42.3

sudo zypper addrepo http://download.opensuse.org/repositories/home:rawtherapee/openSUSE_Leap_42.3/home:rawtherapee.repo

OpenSUSE Tumbleweed

sudo zypper addrepo http://download.opensuse.org/repositories/home:rawtherapee/openSUSE_Tumbleweed/home:rawtherapee.repo

After adding the new software sources, run the zypper refresh command.

sudo zypper refresh

Lastly, install RawTherapee on OpenSUSE with:

sudo zypper install rawtherapee

Generic Linux Instructions Via AppImage

RawTherapee has support for almost every mainstream version of Linux. That said, they can’t cover them all. To make up for it, the developers make an AppImage available. This AppImage can run the RawTherapee photography application on all versions of Linux, regardless of the distribution details. If you’re on an obscure Linux distribution that doesn’t enjoy first-class support, this is your best option.

To get the AppImage working, download the file and change the permissions of it so that it can execute as a program.

wget https://rawtherapee.com/releases_head/linux/RawTherapee-releases-5.4.AppImage
sudo chmod +x RawTherapee-releases-5.4.AppImage

Next, make a new AppImage folder, to prevent the RawTherapee executable file from being deleted.

mkdir -p ~/AppImages

Move RawTherapee into the new folder and run the AppImage for the first time.

mv RawTherapee-releases-5.4.AppImage ~/AppImages

cd ~/AppImages/
./RawTherapee-releases-5.4.AppImage

Running RawTherappee from the terminal will instantly start the application.

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How To Take screenshots From The Linux Terminal With Scrot

Linux has dozens of screenshotting tools. These tools have different features and allow users to quickly take pictures of what they see on their desktop, save it in different formats, and share it with friends. The trouble is, most of these screenshot tools are bloated GUIs that don’t always work. If you’re tired of GUI screenshot tools that don’t always do their job, the Scrot screenshot tool may be just what you need. It lets you take screenshots from the Linux terminal and saves you the trouble of going through a GUI.

Install Scrot

The Scrot tool is pretty well-known, and many people use it to take screenshots, especially on lightweight desktop environments like LXQt, or with tiling window managers like AwesomeWM, i3, and others. To install the software, open up a terminal window and follow the command instructions that correspond with your Linux operating system.

Note: you need to be running Ubuntu, Debian, Arch Linux, Fedora, or OpenSUSE to run Scrot. If you’re not on one of these Linux distributions, you may need to compile from source.

Ubuntu

sudo apt install scrot

Debian

sudo apt-get install scrot

Arch Linux

sudo pacman -S scrot

Fedora

sudo dnf install scrot -y

OpenSUSE

sudo zypper install scrot

Generic Linux

The Scrot screenshotting tool is one of the best terminal applications that can take screenshots of what’s happening on the Linux desktop. As a result, many distributions — even obscure ones distribute it in their software sources. That said, if you’re not able to find an installable package, building the code from source is the next best thing.

For whatever reason, the website that hosts the downloadable packages for Scrot is down. Luckily, thanks to Archive.org, it’s possible to download the code regardless. In a terminal, use the wget command and grab the Scrot sources.

wget https://web.archive.org/web/20060716123357if_/http://linuxbrit.co.uk:80/downloads/scrot-0.8.tar.gz

Extract the Scrot source code to your Linux PC using the tar command.

tar -xvzf scrot-0.8.tar.gz

Move into the code folder with CD and read the README file using cat.

cd scrot-0.8

cat README

The README file outlines how to build the code, but doesn’t include any information about the dependencies you’ll likely need for a successful build environment. Start the build by running the configure script. This script will scan your Linux PC for the correct dependencies. If you’re missing any, it’ll tell you what to install.

./configure

The configure command will only finish if you’ve got all of the dependencies up and running. If the configure script finishes, build the Scrot software.

make

The make command will compile everything rather quickly, as Scrot isn’t a large piece of software. When the process is complete, finish up by installing it into the system.

su -c "make install"

Using Scrot

Scrot is a terminal application, so to take a screenshot, you’ll need to have quick access to a terminal. Open up a terminal and use the following command to take a screenshot of what’s on your screen.

scrot

If you run the command above, your screenshot will end up in /home/username/.  The screenshot is instant, and you’ll get no feedback about the screenshot you just took. Want something a little more user-friendly? Try the “c” switch. Adding the “c” switch to scrot will print out a countdown timer. The timer feature is helpful, as it makes the user more aware of when the screenshot happens.

scrot -c

Want to improve the countdown in Scrot further? Try out the “d” switch. It lets users specify (in seconds) when Scrot should take the shot.

Note: replace X with your desired number.

scrot -cd X

The Scrot screenshot tool lets users take a screenshot of the current window in focus by way of the “z” switch. To use it, do:

scrot -cd X -z

Or, if you prefer not to use a timer, try the following command.

scrot -z

An incredibly useful feature that a lot of screenshotting tools on Linux have is their ability to take screenshots of individual rectangular areas of the desktop. The Scrot screenshot feature also has this ability, and it’s accessible via the “s” switch.

scrot -cd X -s

To take a screenshot of a particular region without a countdown do:

scrot -s

Save Scrot Options

The Scrot screenshot tool has a lot of options, switches, and features. If you’re a newbie, these different options may be hard to remember. While it’s quite easy to use the “h” switch, it’s much better to save the help instructions to a text file for later.

To save the Scrot options for later, you’ll need to run the “h” switch option through the redirect command.

scrot -h >> ~/Documents/scrot-options.txt

At any time, you can open up the Scrot document file you’ve saved for later by launching the file manager, clicking on “Documents” and looking for “scrot-options.txt.”

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How To Upgrade Fedora Linux

Fedora Linux is an operating system mainly targeted towards users who know what they’re doing. Getting it set up isn’t like Ubuntu or Linux Mint, and it takes some know-how to use it day to day.

Despite all of the complexities of this operating system, the upgrade process is one of the most natural and most hands-off in all of Linux. Very few distributions come close. Are you a new Fedora Linux user? Don’t know how upgrading works? If so, create a backup of your critical data and follow along to learn how to upgrade Fedora Linux  to the latest version.

Note: don’t feel like going through this process? Consider downloading the latest ISO of Fedora Linux and re-installing instead.

Upgrade Fedora Linux With Gnome Software

Fedora Linux is one of the easiest ways to get the latest version of Gnome Shell, Gnome Software, and the entire suite of Gnome applications.

If you’re using the main release of Fedora with Gnome, the upgrade process couldn’t be easier. To do it, log into your Fedora Linux PC and open up the Gnome Software application.

In Gnome Software, there are three separate panels. Choose the “Updates” panel, and look for the refresh button. Click the refresh button and allow Gnome Software to look for new updates.

When the refreshing process completes, the Software app will display all updates available. If the app discovers a new version of Fedora Linux, you’ll see a message that says a new version of Fedora is “ready to be installed”.

Start the upgrade by clicking “Install,” followed by “Restart & Install Upgrade.”

Clicking the “Restart & Install Upgrade” button will reboot Fedora Linux to the Grub bootloader. Don’t press any buttons, or try to load in one of the many options in the menu. Instead, sit back and let the OS automatically load up.

As it loads up, you’ll see a screen that has the Fedora logo slowly filling up with a white color. This screen featuring this the logo is the Fedora upgrade area. Sit back, let the emblem fill all the way up. When it’s complete, you’ll have finished updating to the newest version of Fedora Linux.

Upgrade Fedora Linux Via DNF

Fedora Linux has a lot of different flavors, not just Gnome Shell. There are several different versions (KDE, Cinnamon, XFCE, Mate, etc.). As a result, the project can’t create a special upgrade tool for each.

Instead, if you’re using an alternative spin to the Gnome version of Fedora the best path to a new release is through DNF in the terminal. Luckily, It’s efficient, quick, and about as easy as Gnome Software.

Before starting the upgrade in DNF, however, some things need to be done. Mainly, you’ll need to install any pending software updates on the system.  To install updates, open the terminal and run the following commands.

sudo dnf refresh
sudo dnf upgrade -y

Let DNF install any updates on your Fedora Linux PC. When the update completes, it’s time to start the distribution upgrade process. This process begins by installing the DNF upgrade plugin to the system.

sudo dnf install dnf-plugin-system-upgrade -y

This plugin allows Fedora users to quickly grab a new version of the operating system directly through the terminal. To use this plugin, you’ll need to specify the latest Fedora release number.

In this tutorial, we’re using Fedora 27 to upgrade to Fedora 28, as it is the newest release. If you’re reading this tutorial in the future, be sure to change “28” in the command below to the version you’re trying to install.

sudo dnf system-upgrade download --releasever=28

The system-upgrade command works by downloading all of the individual updates available to your system. These downloads are enormous, so you’ll need to be patient and let the command run its course.

When the upgrade command finishes downloading all of the packages and essential files that Fedora needs to do the upgrade, it’s time to complete the upgrade process.

Much like in the Gnome Software method, Fedora Linux needs to be in a state of “upgrading” to change to a new release. To get to this state through the terminal, you’ll have to run the system-upgrade command, with the reboot modifier.

sudo dnf system-upgrade reboot

As Fedora reboots the Grub menu selection screen will appear. Don’t press anything, or attempt to load another operating system. Keep your hands off the keyboard and let Fedora Linux boot on its own.

During the upgrade, pay attention to what the messages say as they appear on the screen. Let Fedora handle everything. When the OS finishes upgrading, it will automatically restart.

To use the new version of Fedora Linux, enter your user details and log back in!

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How To Try Different Desktop Environments On Ubuntu

Ubuntu Linux has a unique desktop environment. It has a dock on the left side with shortcut icons in it, and a panel at the top of the screen where users can access things like WiFi, audio controls, etc. Overall, it’s a somewhat unique, user-friendly setup. The great Ubuntu desktop setup is handy, but it’s not for everyone. Thankfully, Ubuntu is Linux and has dozens of other desktop environments to use in its place. Here’s how to install and try out different desktop environments on Ubuntu.

KDE Plasma

KDE Plasma is the number one alternative to Ubuntu’s Gnome Shell desktop environment. It’s got some of the same amazing graphical effects, and options for users to take advantage of. However, unlike the Ubuntu Gnome Shell, it uses a more traditional Windows-like experience.

Thanks to how Ubuntu works, it’s easy to transform any traditional Ubuntu Gnome Shell desktop into a fully functional Kubuntu setup. To start the transformation, you’ll need to open up a terminal window and install the Kubuntu Desktop meta-package.

sudo apt install kubuntu-desktop -y

During the installation, Dpkg will detect that the Kubuntu meta-package is trying to set up the KDE desktop manager, rather than sticking with the one that is already set up. In the terminal, look out for a purple dialog box. This dialog box will ask you to choose between the KDE desktop manager or the Gnome one.

Using the arrow keys, highlight the “SDDM” option and press the enter key on your keyboard.

When the Kubuntu installation is complete, reboot your Ubuntu PC. When it starts back up, you’ll notice that the traditional Ubuntu loading screen is now a Kubuntu loading screen.

At the SDDM menu, Kubuntu should be the default. If it’s not, look for “session” and set it to Kbuntu. Then, enter your user details, and KDE Plasma is ready to use!

XFCE4

The Ubuntu Gnome setup is beautiful, but that beauty comes at the cost of user performance. If you’ve recently installed Ubuntu on your PC only to find out that the desktop isn’t responsive enough and using too much memory, don’t give up on it! Instead, it’s a good idea to switch to one of the lightweight alternative desktops that Ubuntu has to offer, like the Xubuntu XFCE4 desktop.

To be clear, XFCE4 isn’t the only lightweight desktop environment. However, it is one of the best options for those on old PC’s. To install it, you’ll need the Xubuntu desktop meta-package. This package will pull in XFCE4, along with all of the other essential programs and tools it uses.

sudo apt install xubuntu-desktop -y

Let the Xubuntu desktop install and when the installation process finishes, reboot your Ubuntu PC. As it starts up, you’ll notice that the traditional Ubuntu loading screen is now a Xubuntu one.

At the login screen, find “session.” In the session menu, select “Xubuntu” and log in to be greeted with Xubuntu.

LXQt

LXQt is an extremely lightweight desktop environment that is highly customizable and built with the latest Qt technologies. On Ubuntu, this experience is easily accessible by using Lubuntu.

The Lubuntu version of Ubuntu, aside from having LXQt, comes with slim alternatives to your favorite programs found in the traditional Ubuntu setup. If you’re interested in trying it out, grab the latest Lubuntu meta-package.

sudo apt install lubuntu-desktop -y

Installing the Lubuntu desktop meta-package will force you to choose between the default Gnome Display Manager (GDM), or the one commonly used with Lubuntu (SDDM).

In the terminal, select “sddm” to tell Ubuntu to use the Lubuntu desktop manager from now on. Once that’s setup, reboot your Linux PC. As it comes back on, find “session” in SDDM, select “Lubuntu,” or “LXQt.”

Upon login, you should see your new Lubuntu setup!

Budgie

The Budgie Desktop is synonymous with Solus, as it’s the Linux project that primarily works on it. With that said, there is an Ubuntu flavor that uses it as it’s primary desktop environment.

Budgie is born of Gnome Shell, so it performs similarly. As a result, users can enjoy a Gnome-like experience, while enjoying a more traditional, Windows-like layout.

If you’re itching to switch to the Budgie desktop environment on Ubuntu, you’ll need to install the Ubuntu Budgie meta-package.

sudo apt install ubuntu-budgie-desktop -y

Budgie works fine alongside Gnome, so it’s okay to stick with Ubuntu’s default of GDM. That said, the developers prefer to use it with LightDM.

To switch to LightDM, select the “lightdm” in the terminal prompt when it comes up.

After installing the Ubuntu Budgie meta-package, restart your PC. When it comes back from the restart, enter your user details and log in. Keep in mind that if you chose to use GDM, you’d need to click “session” then “Ubuntu Budgie” or “Budgie” before logging in.

Mate

The Mate Desktop environment is an effort to preserve the old Gnome 2 desktop from years past. Despite this, it’s a very modern, efficient desktop environment and is perfect for users who don’t care about fancy effects and need to get work done.

Mate is everywhere on every mainstream Linux distribution. On Ubuntu, users can easily access it by installing the Ubuntu Mate meta-package.

Like all of the other desktop meta-packages, installing the Ubuntu Mate one will pull in everything from the Mate core components, to programs, and everything else.

Get Ubuntu Mate going by running the following command in a terminal window.

sudo apt install ubuntu-mate-desktop -y

Ubuntu Mate, like many others, uses LightDM, rather than what the default Ubuntu setup uses, so be sure to select “lightdm” during the installation process.

When the installer finishes, reboot your PC. When it comes back up, click the session icon, select Mate, and log in to enjoy your new Ubuntu Mate setup!

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