Legality of using free VMware Workstation Player for alpha and beta testing of Ubuntu?

John Chittum john.chittum at
Sat May 14 16:21:35 UTC 2022

Not a lawyer, so grain of salt.

Ubuntu, the OS, is not a commercial product by itself. Ubuntu is offered as
a free and open source OS. If you are testing non-commercial offerings of
Ubuntu, as part of community work, then it should be fine to use VMWare
Player, Virtualbox, or other items for non-commercial work. Community work
is, by definition, not commercial.

If you are working on a commercial product, for instance, testing Ubuntu
Pro features offered by Canonical, or an appliance that will be sold to a
customer, then you may be in violation. If you are an employee of Canonical
employed to work on the OS, things get dicey _but_ there are options
available (we have licenses available). Or if you are using it as part of
your job (say, you're a sys admin, and part of your job is to vet Ubuntu,
and you just happen to also contribute upstream when you find a bug). Then
you should talk to your workplace about getting you a license.

TL:DR if it's solely community work, it shouldn't be a breach. Other things
would be case by case.

On Sat, May 14, 2022, 10:50 Aaron Rainbolt <arraybolt3 at> wrote:

> Thanks, that's what I needed to know! Virt-manager is more than sufficient
> for my needs, and I can always cough up the $150-$200 if I really want to
> do VMware testing.
> Thank you for your time and help!
> On Fri, May 13, 2022 at 3:51 AM Shane O'Sullivan <hitsuji at>
> wrote:
>> It's a breach of the EULA. I would highly recommend installing
>> virt-manager as a suitable alternative.
>> On Fri 13 May 2022, 08:17 Aaron Rainbolt, <arraybolt3 at> wrote:
>>> I am digging deep into the world of Ubuntu development and am trying to
>>> make sure my alpha and beta testing is as effective as possible. I also
>>> don't want to cash out an arm and a leg for expensive software to do so.
>>> I've been using virt-manager (QEMU/KVM) for testing on virtual machines,
>>> and while things seem to be going well, I'd like to test on other
>>> hypervisors too for the sake of catching as many bugs as possible.
>>> VMware provides their Workstation Player product for free, *for
>>> non-commercial use.* Problem is, I can't figure out if using VMware for
>>> Ubuntu testing would be considered commercial use. One one hand, I'm not a
>>> Canonical employee, nor am I using VMware for employment purposes, so that
>>> would be non-commercial, but on the other hand, I'm helping a large
>>> enterprise build an OS that is used for commercial purposes, so that seems
>>> like commercial use.
>>> Do any of y'all do QA testing in the free version of VMware Workstation
>>> Player? Does anyone know if this is a legal use of VMware?
>>> Thank you for your help and time.
>>> (Note: I *think* these kinds of questions are what this mailing list is
>>> for, but if I'm misguided and should have sent this to
>>> ubuntu-devel-discuss, please let me know and I'll direct these kinds of
>>> questions there instead.)
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