When comparing Xshell vs VirtualBox w/ any Linux distro + Terminator, the Slant community recommends Xshell for most people. In the question“What are the best terminal emulators for Windows?” Xshell is ranked 8th while VirtualBox w/ any Linux distro + Terminator is ranked 20th.
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro Connections management
Pro Has tabs
Pro Can use any system font
Pro Local shell interface to control Xshell
Pro Tunneling bar
Channel monitoring and dynamic port forwarding.
Pro User defined key map support
Pro Compose bar to send a string to multiple servers at once
Pro Task automation with VB script
Pro Runs Pre-configured virtual machines
Allows you to run your virtual machines pre-configured by you or others.
Virtual Box versions for:
-- Windows 7/8/10
-- All Linux installations
-- MAC OS x
-- Solaris 10/11
Virtual OSs include:
-- Oracle Linux 5/6/7.x (RHEL clones)
-- Occassionally a Windows Beta
Oracle itself provides many free VMs, pre-configured with various software stacks and hands-on lab materials for learning, geared toward. These have helped me earn three of my Oracle certifications:
-- Oracle Database development
-- Oracle DBA
-- MySQL development
-- Java Standard/Enterprise development
-- Big data
-- Webcenter portal & others
Pre-installed software in or more of the various stacks includes:
-- Oracle Database 11/12
-- Enterprise Mgr
-- Cloudera, etc.
Pro Supports modern shells
Whether you prefer zsh, bash, or fish, Linux will support it.
Pro Isolated from Windows
VirtualBox provides almost total isolation from Windows running underneath it, removing a lot of security issues.
Pro Free / Libre Software
While the OS underneath it is proprietary and does spy on you or actively violate your freedom, so to speak, you can still have a little piece of mind knowing that VirtualBox (your Linux distro and shell of choice) as well as Terminator are all FOSS.
Con Not free
The subscription costs $89 per year.
Con No stable portable version
Any portable version present is wrapper. It moves files from portable folder to appdata and backward, which often cause dataloss
Con Install a whole operating system for one program
You would need to install the entire Linux distribution just for one single program.
Con Slightly slower than just running Linux
The Windows + VirtualBox layer introduces some overhead that wouldn't be present if Linux were installed directly on the machine.