Nice, lightweight VM applications for testing

Just wanted to recommend a couple of applications I have been using for managing VMs for testing, making clean working environments, etc.

Mac (M1 Monterey & up): VirtualBuddy
Linux: Virtual Machine Manager

VirtualBuddy makes use of the new Mac M1 virtualization framework and is wonderful. It’s still very new, so you have to duplicate the VMs instead of going through a fully fledged snapshot utility. For this reason, it is best to run it on APFS (which is copy-on-write). However, it is super easy to use and the application is like 4MB. I use SMB shares to transfer files.

Virtual Machine Manager makes use of QEMU in Linux which gives you great performance using virtio devices. Setting up a shared folder is a little confusing, but if you set up SSH access with VSCode, you can just browse the filesystem there! Snapshots and all kind of features are built in.

Any suggestions along similar lightweight lines for Windows?

VMs are a great way of testing how your application will run on someone else’s computer - for example, checking notarization on Mac (I recommend doing this!), or dependencies on Linux.


My favorite way to test and build a multi-platform app is Gitlab Runner, with virtualbox runners. You can set it up to perform a sequence of actions on the different virtualbox VMs and pass artifacts around (like binaries). You can even make it auto release.
This way when you push a new branch, it can call your own personnal runners, test, then build the app for all platforms.