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VirtualBox is more free than you might think

I read a post today at the Zend Framework general mailinglist from Ralf Eggert, having trouble with Internet Explorer 6. As all of us developers know, IE6 is trouble.

But what's more trouble is MultipleIE's, and more of the like. It has been helpful for a while, but it is more trouble than it's worth, nowadays. It causes crashes, render bugs and other difficulties, while a native IE6 is no trouble at all.

So, I suggested installing VirtualBox, with a Windows XP and native IE6 on it. It reminded me that VirtualBox gave me the impression the first time I downloaded it, that the compiled (binary) version isn't really free, and that you might need to pay a licence fee whenever you're using it in a commercial environment, since they separately license a free open source version, distributed under GPL .

Well, read the terms. You can use it on a desktop for exactly these kind of purposes, in any environment you like. Please note the following quotes:

"Personal Use" requires that you use the Product on the same Host Computer where you installed it yourself and that no more than one client connect to that Host Computer at a time for the purpose of displaying Guest Computers remotely.

6. What exactly do you mean by personal use and academic use in the Personal Use and Evaluation License? Personal use is when you install the product on one or more PCs yourself and you make use of it (or even your friend, sister and grandmother). It doesn't matter whether you just use it for fun or run your multi-million euro business with it. Also, if you install it on your work PC at some large company, this is still personal use. However, if you are an administrator and want to deploy it to the 500 desktops in your company, this would no longer qualify as personal use. Well, you could ask each of your 500 employees to install VirtualBox but don't you think we deserve some money in this case? We'd even assist you with any issue you might have.

Use at academic institutions such as schools, colleges and universities by both teachers and students is covered. So in addition to the personal use which is always permitted, academic institutions may also choose to roll out the software in an automated way to make it available to its students and personnel.

Be aware of this, people. Go download and go berserk. This is a gem.

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