Tutorials/Tips

Using GNOME Boxes to create and access local virtual systems on GNOME 3.14

GNOME Boxes is a native GNOME 3 application for accessing remote machines and local virtual systems, primarily using the libvirt technology. Consider it an alternative to VirtualBox and VMPlayer.

It’s being a usable application for quite some time, but with the release of GNOME 3.14, I decided to give it a test drive to see how far it has come. Luckily, it came installed by default on the alpha release of Fedora 21.

This post shows off some of the capabilities of this native GNOME 3 application with regards to creating and accessing a Guest OS on the local machine.

GNOME Boxes, or just Boxes, actually has an elegant interface. And it’s pretty easy to navigate. You can’t miss the Continue button.
GNOME 3.14 GNOME Boxes

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Every ISO image in your Downloads folder should show up in this next screen. Just select one and click Continue.
GNOME Boxes

By default, Boxes allocates 1 GB of RAM and 21.5 GB of disk space to the virtual system. Those figures are customizable.
Linux Mint 17 GNOME Boxes

Here are those properties at a place where they can be modified.
GNOME Boxes

The host machine has 4 GB of RAM, so I could afford to borrow a little bit more for the virtual system. Ditto for disk storage.
GNOME Boxes options

Booting up a very popular Linux distribution. By the way, the host computer is running Fedora 20 KDE.
Boot Guest OS GNOME Boxes

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This shows an installed Linux Mint 17 Cinnamon desktop.
Linux Mint 17 Cinnamon GNOME Boxes

Access to (USB) devices connected to the host OS is pretty easy to configure. Much easier than on VirtualBox.
GNOME Boxes host device access

More configuration options.
GNOME Boxes settings

With access to the host machine’s wireless USB adapter enabled, I was able to use the wireless Internet connection.
Host OS wireless access GNOME Boxes

Aside from using it to create and access local virtual systems, Boxes can also be used to access a remote system using any one of three supported remote access methods – SPICE (Simple Protocol for Independent Computing Environments) via the Xspice server, Qemu and VNC. That will be the subject of a near-future article.
GNOME Boxes remote desktop

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