For the past few years, I have been using a Linux system installed on VirtualBox as my work environment. This allowed me to do two important things:
- I can install specific versions of any library and softwares that I need for that specific project without impacting my host machine
- I can save that on usb and in the cloud, which allows to work with any machine as long as it is powerful enough and has VirtualBox installed.
I am quite happy with that setup except for the fact that it's extremely power hungry. Even when I am not doing anything, the simple fact of running it uses two cores on my powerful host, and this means that I cannot use this on standard hardware, let alone ancient ones. I had to install a lightweight DE too (xfce), as even my workstation was sluggish otherwise.
I have several programs running in there, at a minimum: the web server, the DB server, FF, VS Code, a software to look into the DB.
Would there be lighter alternatives which would retain the advantages listed above, while running on more standard hardware?
Alternatively, would switching from LMDE (debian mint) towards a lighter (alpine? bunsenlabs?) one bring a significant amelioration with the same programs running?
You can see that even when nothing special is running:
- in my VM, among the 4 cores allocated to it, one is at 10% and the others at 0 => fine!
- on my host machine, when the VM is stopped all the cores are almost 0% with the busiest one around 4%, but when the VM is running, one core is at ~30%, another ~20%, and two more between 10 and 20%. I am assuming, perhaps wrongly, that this discrepancy implies that for those 4 cores assigned to the VM, most processor power is used up by VirtualBox itself (my idle server inside the VM uses only 10 of those 70-80 per 400).