Monday, July 26, 2010

Review of "VirtualBox 3.1 - Beginner's Guide" book.

“VirtualBox 3.1 - Beginner’s Guide -- is a book released by Packt, a publishing company which produces books and eBooks for administrators, developers, but also for newbies. This book is organized in 8 chapters, each chapters being organized in more parts, making it easier to learn and understand what the book contains. A free chapter (like a demo for you) is available for download here.”

This is a book designed for the beginners, as the title say, but I would definitely recommend it to anybody (even to the experts) who would like to use the virtualization. It starts by telling you the minimum resources your computer should be having. Whether your on Windows on Linux, you don’t have to worry, because the whole process, from starting the download to finishing the installation is explained clearly in words, and with the help of images at every step. Whether you had never “touched” VirtualBox ever before or not, it is practically no way to get stuck.

I have to tell you that the Guide is designed for VirtualBox 3.1, the newest version of VirtualBox being 3.2.6 now. However, 99% of what is presented in this book is still correct. VirtualBox has been created by Sun, which has been recently bought by Oracle, who, of course, got everything Sun had (including VirtualBox), in their “property”. Even if after that significant improvements were done to the VirtualBox ( guest operating systems run mainly better now), many people say that Oracle killed the VirtualBox, because there are currently several problems present. However, as I’ve already told, 99% of what is in this book is still applicable, because, theoretically, everything remained the same.

I told that I recommend this book even to the experts, because, even if it explains things like configuring (in a basical way) VirtualBox and downloading an image of an operating system, installing it and running that OS, the author also explains things that I couldn’t pass using my own knowledge. It explains anything, from 3D hardware acceleration for the guest OS, to the best configuration of the HDD, and from the optimal network configuration, to the remote control of the operating system (these are advanced things). Of course that it also explains you what you can do with a virtual operating system (this is useful if you come from Windows for example, and you have never used Linux before).

The reason for which the author chose VirtualBox is simple in my opinion. It offers anything a newbie or an expert would wish to do via virtualization, and more than this, it is free. If you are a beginner in virtualization and you buy this book, I recommend you reading it all (there is a common English used, so even if you’re not a native English speaker, like me, you’ll surely understand anything), or, even if you know how to use VirtualBox, there is a possibility to get stuck somewhere, so having this book on your desktop would be a real help in this situation.

At the start of each chapter, there are some lines which tell you exactly what you’re going to learn. After you finish each chapter, it will give you advice on what to do (eg: to continue practising what you’ve learned), and it will also summarize all that the chapter has covered. At the end of the book, there are more quizzes which will help you to verify the knowledge you accumulated. This is something that I like and I think that they are really useful for everybody.

To conclude, I think that “VirtualBox 3.1 - Beginner’s Guide” is a book that is worth buying, because it addresses to absolutely anybody who uses or intends to use the virualization on his/her computer.

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