VirtualBox alternative for Raspberry Pi

There is no VirtualBox for ARM-based devices like Raspberry Pi.
How can we replace it?

VirtualBox alternative on Raspberry Pi is ExaGear Desktop

VirtualBox is the most common Virtual Machine in PC world. People use it to launch different Operation Systems on one PC. But unfortunately, VirtualBox isn’t supported for Raspberry Pi as well as for any other ARM-based device. Moreover, if somebody ports VirtualBox for Raspberry Pi and Raspbian, this port won’t be able to launch x86 programs. Virtual Machines (such as VirtualBox) usually provide guest OS instances with access to system resources and manage guest and host systems, but can’t translate guest code to another CPU architecture (from x86 to ARM in our case).

Exagear Desktop is a solution that can substitute VirtualBox on Raspberry Pi for some particular tasks. With the use of Exagear Desktop you can create x86 Linux environment on an ARM-based device and execute x86 programs. For running x86 Windows programs you can use Wine which allows to run Windows programs on Linux.

ExaGear is the alternative to VirtualBox on Raspberry Pi

Installation of ExaGear Desktop

Installation of ExaGear Desktop is very easy.

1. Put ExaGear Desktop archive with installation packages and ExaGear Desktop license key in the same folder. Open Terminal (command line), move to this folder and unpack the archive using the following command:

$ tar -xvzpf exagear-desktop-rpi2.tar.gz

2. Install and activate ExaGear on your ARM device by running install-exagear.sh script:

$ sudo ./install-exagear.sh

Launch guest x86 system

3. Enter the guest x86 system using the following command:

$ exagear
Starting the shell in the guest image /opt/exagear/images/debian-8-wine2g

Now you are in x86 environment that can be checked by running the ‘arch’ command:

$ arch
i686

You can use this guest x86 environment on your RPi as x86 Linux system and install different PC applications: TeamViewer, Spotify, Dropbox, Skype, TeamSpeak Server, etc. which aren’t available for ARM-based devices.

Running of PC applications on Raspberry Pi

ExaGear Desktop allows you to interact with PC applications the same way as you interact with ARM applications. After installing a PC application in the guest x86 environment you can just go to the Start Menu of your Raspbian and run this PC application from there simultaneously with native ARM applications.

Run PC application on Raspberry Pi simultaneously with native ARM applications

Difference between VirtualBox and ExaGear Desktop

ExaGear Desktop it’s not a complete analog of VirtualBox for Raspberry Pi. VirtualBox has features that lack in ExaGear Desktop and vice versa. Below you will find a short summary.

Unique features of VirtualBox comparing to ExaGear Desktop:

  • Provides full virtualization, i.e. allows to run fully independent instances of Operation Systems

Unique features of ExaGear Desktop comparing to VirtualBox:

  • Provides cross-architecture virtualization, i.e. you can run programs from alien architecture on your machine (run x86 programs on Raspberry Pi)
  • Carefully handles your device resources like CPU or RAM due to reusing host OS services, such as graphic system, sound, networking, etc. It’s very important because even the most powerful RPi has only 1.2 GHz frequency and 1GB of RAM.

Get my ExaGear Desktop

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ExaGear is registered trademark of Eltechs, Inc. Raspberry Pi is a trademark of the Raspberry Pi Foundation. Other trademarks and product names are the property of their respective owners.