I’ve found a free emulator for windows and linux which does the same job as VMWare: Qemu. This is not as fast as VMWare, but hey – its free.

VMWare and Qemu are very useful as a means of building a quarantined test environment – allowing you to run another operating system in a window.

So far I have XP running inside a Qemu VM (on top of XP), and also Fedora Core 4, and I’m just installing Solaris 10 to evaluate for a little server job I might need to set up in the next few months.

Best performance is obtained using the Qemu kernel virtualiser (kqemu) – under windows this needs to be started separately as a service each time which is a bit of a pain. On my 2.4 GHz P4, I get performance roughly the same as about a 500 MHz P4 – maybe a bit better. It would be even better if I had more memory.

You can find Qemu here.

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