Running Bionic on Oracle VirtualBox vs VMWare Player

I just installed Ubuntu Bionic (18.04.1) (Unity desktop) on both Oracle VirtualBox (VB - v5.2.18) and VMware Player (v14). I have Guest Additions on both VMs.

On VB, the %system is always about 20% (using $ sar) and all graphics interactions are super slow. Opening the Dash takes forever (~ 1min) and opening both LibreOffice Write and Calc take several minutes.

The same tasks on VMware Player are “fast” – a sec or two. I can actually see the animation when opening the Dash in Player, but not VB.

I have 3D acceration enabled on both. I’m using 8Gb Ram on both. I assigned 4 “CPUs”. My host is a Dell XPS i7.

Has anyone else been able to get Unity on VB to run ‘acceptably’ like it’s a real machine? It feels like something with the graphics emulation, but I can’t figure out what? (Xubuntnu runs acceptibly on VB, but not Unity.)


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I think I found my own answrer.

I was originally stuck because I thought Ubuntu was using Unity GUI still. Nope. Not sure when, but Ubuntu Desktop is now using Gnome UI. Once I tracked the system wait states to gnome-shell I had new info.

There is a known issue with Oracle Virtualbox + 3D Accerlation + Gnome UI. This post seems very complete:

The possible solutions are to change any one of the above factors: use VMWare, turn off 3D Acceration, or use a different UI like Xubuntu or Lubuntu.

I can accept those solutions. I’ve tested all 3, and they do indeed solve the problem I was seeing super-long “unworkable” UI delays.