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Virtualization Oracle Software

VirtualBox 4.3 Comes With New Multi-Touch Support, Virtual Cam and More 114

Posted by timothy
from the abstractly-wrap-your-collection-of-virtual-boxes dept.
donadony writes "Oracle announced the release of VirtualBox 4.3; this is a major release that comes with important new features, devices support and improvements. According to the announcement, 'Oracle VM VirtualBox 4.3 adds a unique virtual multi-touch interface to support touch-based operating systems, and other new virtual devices and utilities, including webcam devices and a session recording facility. This release also builds on previous releases with support for the latest Microsoft, Apple, Linux and Oracle Solaris operating systems, new virtual devices, and improved networking functionality.'"
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VirtualBox 4.3 Comes With New Multi-Touch Support, Virtual Cam and More

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  • by gstoddart (321705) on Thursday October 17, 2013 @09:31AM (#45152045) Homepage

    OK, somewhat related question ... what are the current workable options for virtualization?

    I've used VMWare at home for years. Virtual box, being Oracle, isn't necessarily something I'm interested in.

    Anybody got a link to something which covers the current state of virtualization stuff suitable for home use?

    • by Anrego (830717) *

      It's unfortunate that VirtualBox is in the hands of evil, because it really is a solid product :(

      • by war4peace (1628283) on Thursday October 17, 2013 @10:11AM (#45152453)

        I never judge products based on who builds them. To me, software is like art. It doesn't matter whether the author was a drunk homosexual, all I care is whether the product has value.

        • by Anrego (830717) *

          I can respect that view, and I'm not one of those guys that points and screams "EVIL DOER!!" every time someone buys from a company I don't like.

          I guess it's just a personal thing. All companies are evil, however I view certain media companies, Oracle, and Apple (though a little less so) to be excessively evil in ways I personally care about so I try to avoid doing business with them when practical (and occasionally when not).

        • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 17, 2013 @10:19AM (#45152539)

          What's wrong with being a drunk homosexual?

        • Kind of right, but this art was done by a drunk homosexual who made you sign an agreement to let him change the artwork whenever he likes and installed a remote-controlled self-destruct mechanism in the artwork.

          How he lives might not affect his art, but it doesn't mean you trust him to install an auto-update mechanism on your PC.

          That said, I use VirtualBox and like it. The Oracle connection makes me nervous, though. With other Oracle products you have to run updates very carefully to avoid all the crapwar

    • If you have some bare-metal lying around, I would recommend XenServer (http://www.xenserver.org/). I used to be a VMWare proponent for SMB's, until I saw that product. If you need a virtual container on an existing workstation, VirtualBox is really the only player in town. I used to use VMWare Server, but Vmware doesn't support it anymore. Its a shame, it was a great product and I'm still running a few VM's on my beefy workstation for testing.

      • by gstoddart (321705)

        If you need a virtual container on an existing workstation, VirtualBox is really the only player in town. I used to use VMWare Server, but Vmware doesn't support it anymore. Its a shame, it was a great product and I'm still running a few VM's on my beefy workstation for testing.

        That's the exact use case I'm looking for -- when I bought my current machine it was specifically bought to be beefy enough to run VMWare Workstation so I can keep some stuff sandboxed in VMs.

        Looking at the current price (and licens

        • VirtualBox is open source. Having a lot of Oracle contributors doesn't make much difference. Oracle may decide to make a closed fork, but the builds for FreeBSD and in most Linux distros' package systems are from the open source tree, so they'll keep being supported even if Oracle decides to do something evil.
          • by gstoddart (321705)

            so they'll keep being supported even if Oracle decides to do something evil

            Except it sounds like USB 2.0 support only comes from Oracle.

            And it seems like USB 2.0 would be pretty basic functionality to me, considering the only input devices attached to my computer are USB -- if I need some Oracle proprietary stuff to use my keyboard and mouse it's kind of useless (no idea if keyboard/mouse is special and still works or not).

            • by DeathToBill (601486) on Thursday October 17, 2013 @10:22AM (#45152569) Journal

              Your keyboard and mouse do not require USB 2.0 to work. For two reasons: 1. Most keyboards and mice do not have bandwidth requirements that justify USB2. Almost every keyboard and mouse out there is USB1. 2. VirtualBox does not use the keyboard and mouse as USB devices directly. You install a virtual keyboard and mouse driver which redirects events from the host operating system. Otherwise you'd have to have a separate keyboard and mouse for the host and guest operating systems.

              • by timeOday (582209)
                In VMWare you can also choose to present a Mouse / Keyboard to Windows as a USB device instead of a keyboard/mouse specifically. As you said, this way the keyboard/mouse is only connected to the VM, which is one way to create a multi-seat setup.
            • by Tanktalus (794810)

              Keyboard/mouse are special. My keyboard and mouse are both USB and worked fine with the open-source version of VB. I went to the closed version to try to get a USB headset to work, as well as to try to connect to my kids' LeapFrog Tag pens. Didn't work, but haven't switched back as much out of laziness as anything else.

      • by Hatta (162192)

        How well does Xen work at virtualizing graphics cards for gaming? I know "vga passthrough" exists, is it stable and performant? I assume I need to dedicate a graphics card for Windows?

      • I have no issues using esxi/Vsphere. It is still free, and fully functional as long as you don't need enterprise management (moving VM's between hypervisors and what not).

        I currently have it running on a quad quadcore E5 Xeon series with 64G ram and and an SSD, with 15 1TB drives and 2 SSD's in the same chassis, but assigned to a Storage VM (Nas4Free fork of FreeNas) using VT-D.

    • Other than those two you have Microsoft's Virtual PC and HyperV. Then you have Qemu. For Linux users there are also a couple of Linux-only solutions I'm not familiar with like Xen. I think that covers all the major players.
      • by kimvette (919543)

        Xen is great and powerful, but after having worked more on RHEL 6 lately (which forced a move to KVM if I want to stick with the official repositories for updates - no Xen kernel from Redhat any more!) I've developed a new appreciation for Qemu+KVM. As a nice bonus when I run it on a workstation I do not have to resort to fugly hacks to use the NVIDIA drivers.

    • by twocows (1216842)
      Regardless of whose hands it's in, VirtualBox is free software, excluding a small extension pack which is not included by default. Unlike other proprietary products, like VMware, you have the freedom to fork it if you don't like the direction development is going or don't like the vendor. And if you're worried about security, you can always audit the software.
      As for other options, you may want to check out Wikipedia. Usually they have lists/comparisons of classes of software, and I do remember seeing one f
      • Regardless of whose hands it's in, VirtualBox is free software, excluding a small extension pack which is not included by default. Unlike other proprietary products, like VMware, you have the freedom to fork it if you don't like the direction development is going or don't like the vendor. And if you're worried about security, you can always audit the software.

        Not only that, but it works quite well, at least for me and my use cases, and has for years. I will definitely be checking out the new release.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      If you want Windows/Mac software virtualization your choices are: Parallels, VMware, VirtualBox. Hyper-V on just Windows.
      For Linux hosts: VMware, Xen, VirtualBox, KVM, OpenVZ

      For dedicated host hardware implementation: ESXi, Xen both free. Hyper-V is also a choice.

      VMware/Parallels are the best choice still right now. If you want free go VirtualBox.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by fast turtle (1118037)

        The only problem with Virtual PC is it doesn't support anything older then XP unless you have a copy of Virtual PC 2007. That's the version that still supports Win98 with working sound. I've got a copy and refuse to give it up as it's the only option for those win95 apps that simply do not work in Win7 - the damn things tend to do some very screwy things and a VM instance is the safest way to run em.

    • by DeathToBill (601486) on Thursday October 17, 2013 @10:36AM (#45152747) Journal

      For cross-platform desktop virtualisation, your options are:

      VMWare Server - free but essentially abandoned by VMWare. Requires ancient versions of web browsers to work.
      VMWare Player - free but only for non-commercial use. No snapshotting. I've found the console interaction randomly buggy.
      VMWare Workstation - full-featured. Currently quoting £190 per seat.
      VMWare vSphere / ESXi - bare-metal virtualisation. Not free and not really suitable for desktop virtualisation.
      VirtualBox - free and fairly full-featured. If you want to use USB2 or boot it from a network drive then you need an add-on pack from Oracle. This is free for 'individual' use which Oracle defines to include single users installing it for commercial purposes but not having it installed by IT admin.

      If you're happy running on Windows then Hyper-V might be an option. It comes in bare-metal or Windows-hosted variants. Supports most operating systems as guests.
      Or VirtualPC might be an option. It only 'supports' Windows guests but says that "you can install most x86-based operating systems" as well.

      Xen might be an option. It's a bare-metal hypervisor that runs Linux as a management environment and can run any x86 operating system as a guest. I've not used it. This sounds attractive, but keep in mind it imposes some limitations, too - you probably can't keep the disk for one operating system as a file in the host operating system and copy it around at will, for instance. A bare-metal hypervisor requires that the guest disks all be physical devices, as though the guest OS was running on the bare metal. So when you want to add a new OS, you either need to have thought ahead and left some space unpartitioned on your disk, or you need to add more disk. Even something like Wubi won't work if you plan to run Windows and Linux side-by-side.

      Personally I use VirtualBox and it does alright.

      • ESXi is free. It replaced vmware server. You still need equipment on the hardware compatibility list to run it but it makes for a nice virtual server. Google 'ESXi free' and you should see one of the hits as a feature matrix.
        • by pnutjam (523990)
          ESXi is ok, but there are limitations that are not obvious.

          For example, the version of sftp throttles your speed, so if you pop another drive in and try to copy something, you should be prepared to wait hours. The file system it uses is also not supported in any of the bootable linux CD's I usually use. I think they were considering adding it to the system rescue cd.
          Suffice to say, this makes migration and backup tediuos...
    • I believe vbox is just Oracles version of Xen.

      • by haruchai (17472)

        No. That's Oracle VM.
        VirtualBox was originally from InnoTek based on work done for Connectix and Microsoft VirtualPC.

    • by mspohr (589790)

      One nice thing I've discovered is chroot.
      It's low overhead, easy to use and doesn't require all of the fiddling of a VM.
      It only works with the Linux/OSX world so if you need Windows, you're out of luck (but, in general, if you need Windows, you're out of luck).

    • by sjames (1099)

      If you have a CPU with virtualization support, go with KVM and libvirt. If not, VBox OSE really does have the best performance.

    • VirtualBox "being Oracle" is a pretty crappy attitude to have. Yes it is funded and written by Oracle employees, but it is also 100% GPL*. You can't say that about VMWare. For an Open Source solution VirtualBox is very full featured and VMWare does not have much to hold over it at all. Compared to the other open source virtualization solution - KVM - the usability and support for various configurations is head and shoulders above. What's more, Virtualbox works on Windows and Mac, something KVM can not do.

  • Do they still require a paid license to forward a USB device to the guest?

    That killed it for me when they added that "feature" a few years ago now... I think it was the first major release after Oracle took over.
    • by Anrego (830717) *

      Was that ever a paid feature? A closed feature for sure, but I thought it was made available at no cost.

      • Technically, the USB2 support is a personal / evaluation use license, so you may not be allowed to use it without paying Oracle in some situations.
  • by AmiMoJo (196126) * <mojo @ w orld3.net> on Thursday October 17, 2013 @09:37AM (#45152113) Homepage

    USB support, at least with Windows hosts, still seems to be broken though. It just never, ever seems to work, or at best once and then never again. That made me switch to VM Ware a while back.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Are you using the extensions pack? USB support seems to work pretty well for me with it enabled. Of course, it's not free software, but it is freeware.
    • by mrdogi (82975)

      I've actually had good luck with previous versions, actually. I have a USB-Serial adapter that I need to use for device management. The software, however, will not run on Windows 7 or higher. I've created an XP VM on the Win7 host that has pass through for the device. Works just fine.

      I think I've done this for for a USB-HDD adapter as well. Works for the old laptop disks, for certain. I think for the SATA adapter as well. Haven't actually tried it for the normal ATA drives, but don't see why it woul

    • by _merlin (160982)

      I've found the USB support works perfectly when it works, and otherwise just doesn't, with both OSX and Windows hosts. It works perfectly for hard disks, card readers, FPGA programmers and input devices. It doesn't work at all for mobile phones. At lest Nokia S40 and Samsung Android phones don't work with it.

    • USB support, at least with Windows hosts, still seems to be broken though.

      I run Windows as a guest on a Kubuntu host, and USB works fine for printers and USB drives.

  • use LXC (Linux containers) or KVM or OpenVZ instead. Remember, this is the same company that killed solaris, pissed on RHEL, and shit all over the idea of open source recently. Now its trying to turn a buck on an open source product?
    • by Anrego (830717) *

      My main use case has been running a windows VM for the small but unavoidable number of windows-only apps I need to run. Obviously this means LXC and OpenVZ are out, but KVM is starting to look attractive. I haven't done much research, but biggest requirement for me is probably USB support.

      VirtualBox in the hands of evil was a real kick in the teeth, because it really is a great product :(

      • I use USB passthrough with my KVM guests fine on Fedora 19 ...

        Have Windows (XP and 7) VMs with full virtio drivers installed along with the SPICE agent etc etc

    • by OzPeter (195038) on Thursday October 17, 2013 @09:57AM (#45152303)

      use LXC (Linux containers) or KVM or OpenVZ instead. Remember, this is the same company that killed solaris, pissed on RHEL, and shit all over the idea of open source recently. Now its trying to turn a buck on an open source product?

      None of those solutions run on anything other than a linux based system. So how do you propose I run my VM's on Windows and OSX? And please don't tell me that I can move to Linux .. it ain't going to happen due to all the OS specific software that I am using as a part of my work.

      • by Gothmolly (148874) on Thursday October 17, 2013 @10:03AM (#45152379)

        You know if you have OS specific software that you need for work, there's a solution for that...

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Or I just want to run a VM here and there on my desktop? Switch out my whole work chain to support some vague notion of 'they will break it'. IF that happens I will move to VMWare.

        I use linux hypervisors all the time and 99% of the time I never touch them and do not even know they are there. But to suggest switch you whole work process chain out for something as 'they might screw it up'? Seriously?

        Someone is mixing up server setups with desktop user setups again...

      • by sjames (1099)

        So turn it inside out and run the Windows in KVM.

    • why is this product still viable?

      Because they were one of the first out of the gate with a cheap, workable, windows oriented product.

    • by cpghost (719344)

      use LXC (Linux containers) or KVM or OpenVZ instead.

      I'm running FreeBSD, you insensitive clod. How am I supposed to run other OSes from within that OS, when LXC, KVM and OpenVZ are all Linux-based? VirtualBox is perfect here, thank you very much.

    • Because those are not in the same market. With vb and vmware workstation I can run whole freaking networks and domains. I can test software pushes and group policy changes. I can create host only clients that only talk to my virtual router to simulate a real business network! I can test vender updates with a multitude of systems and unix scripts on my own network.

      Can these do these things? Or run a single VM?

  • (No, I didn't RTFA.)

  • Virtual touch? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by camperdave (969942) on Thursday October 17, 2013 @10:12AM (#45152463) Journal
    Virtual touch? How is that supposed to work? Do you get drop down menu with a list of all of the gestures, or do you get a hand icon that you click and swipe with the mouse?

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