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Oracle Software Virtualization

VirtualBox Development At a Standstill 288

jones_supa writes: Phoronix notes how it has been a long time since last hearing of any major innovations or improvements to VirtualBox, the virtual machine software managed by Oracle. This comes while VMware is improving its products on all platforms, and KVM, Xen, Virt-Manager, and related Linux virtualization technologies continue to advance as well. Is there any hope left for a revitalized VirtualBox? It has been said that there are only four paid developers left on the VirtualBox team at the company, which is not enough manpower to significantly advance such a complex piece of software. The v4.3 series has been receiving some maintenance updates during the last two years, but that's about it.
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VirtualBox Development At a Standstill

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  • Does It Matter? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 30, 2015 @11:49AM (#48940575)

    Legitimate question. I like VirtualBox and have used it for a long time, but as the summary said there are good alternatives available which are improving. As far as I know the only real "killer" feature of virtualBox is its OpenGL acceleration, and we'll probably see that in KVM and friends soon enough. Besides that, VirtualBox basically does what it's supposed to do at this point. Even if it stands still, it'll still be useful for awhile (I know I find no compelling reason to switch right now).

    Are there some other core VirtualBox features I'm not aware of that keep people pinned to it? If not, I say let it stagnate and eventually be replaced.

    • Re:Does It Matter? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by TWX ( 665546 ) on Friday January 30, 2015 @11:51AM (#48940583)
      I only use vbox for local VMs, like when I need to emulate a Windows machine on my Linux box for some Windows-only software that I have to deal with from time to time. I'm not the VM guy at work, but there are lots of virtualized servers running headless on some big blade systems, does vbox do that or is that pretty much out of its scope?

      I agree, for basic workstation stuff it works fine as-is.
      • Re:Does It Matter? (Score:5, Informative)

        by CodeReign ( 2426810 ) on Friday January 30, 2015 @12:01PM (#48940675)

        I have vbox running a few hobby servers using its headless mode. But I do this from familiarity and a need for a user friendly cross platform service.

        That said it's not a business worthy endeavor as its headless functionality is solid but there are 0 management tools that work WELL with it (phpvirualbox is fine but there are few bugs that cause major issues).

        Oracle does have some of its own tools but if you're willing to pay oracle costs you are willing to pay VMWare costs too.

        • by afidel ( 530433 )

          If you're going to pay Oracle for support you're going to want to go with OracleVM which is their Xen based product, it's terrible but better than trying to make vbox run at scale.

      • Re:Does It Matter? (Score:5, Informative)

        by thedbp ( 443047 ) on Friday January 30, 2015 @12:02PM (#48940685)

        VirtualBox does have a headless mode, which is how I use it. Combine it with phpVirtualBox for a web-based front-end and you can admin from anywhere or any system.

        Autostart, autosave, auto-snapshot, etc can be achieved with simple startup and cron scripts.

      • Re:Does It Matter? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by rwa2 ( 4391 ) * on Friday January 30, 2015 @12:10PM (#48940767) Homepage Journal

        For basic workstation stuff it's fine.

        It's also pretty heavily used for development and test of server deploys. A lot of DevOps types are trying to use VirtualBox to build disposable test clusters for their applications, and has been the default and one of the best supported engines for vagrant [vagrantup.com].

        Unfortunately, a lot of app footprints are starting to rely on deploying other "appliance VMs" in your VM (yo dawg), and VirtualBox is still straggling behind the others on implementing some form of nested VM capability. https://www.virtualbox.org/tic... [virtualbox.org] So it's kinda getting to a point of having a large and growing number of server apps that you won't be able to use VirtualBox to set up a local development and test environment for things that involve, say, using a Stackato PAAS, or a FEO appliance, or an Apigee API gateway appliance, etc. to pick a bunch of essential pieces from recent memory. At least not without a lot of work to host those VMs directly on VirtualBox and not looking or working at all like they would when they hit production.

      • Re:Does It Matter? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by jythie ( 914043 ) on Friday January 30, 2015 @12:24PM (#48940885)
        There is something to be said for 'fine as is'. Changes can cause bugs, changes can cause incompatibilities, changes can require updating skills to understand their impact or how configuration has been altered. When all you need is a tool for completing a task without heavy requirements, stable and predictable can be a real selling point.

        One of the reasons I like VirtualBox is it changes so little. I have to worry very little about having to look up new things when all I need is a quick drop in solution for something small. Every time I go back to KVM I feel like I have to go find out 'ok, so how does it work NOW?' and then make sure I find documentation and forums talking about the KVM version in relation to the distribution and its version I am using.
        • Just curious, but does VirtualBox work with auto deploy of w2k12/r2 or win8/10? I know that VMware doesn't support these for guest OS customization yet, but they are actually working on upgrading that ability.

          • by dkman ( 863999 )
            I'm not sure what you're asking by "auto deploy" but you can run a Win 8.1 guest or Win 10 preview guest in VirtualBox. Windows 10 preview broke the ability to run VirtualBox inside it after version x.12 (I think it was x.18 or 20 at the time), but that may be resolved now. You could uninstall and install x.12 to run like normal.

            I restored my surface back to 8.1 so I'm not sure about later developments.
          • I've done PXE installs of windows under virtualbox that are competely scripted via the windows install kit

          • by afidel ( 530433 )

            What ever are you talking about? We use template based deployments of 2012/R2 on vsphere 5.0U3, it was supported starting with 5.0U1. Windows 10 should work as well since Windows 8 is supported and I know I've seen people doing Windows 10 using 8 as the deployment type on 5.5.

            • Yes, the guest OS is supported. Guest OS customization is not.

              • by afidel ( 530433 )

                Huh? Of course it is, we've been doing template based deployments of 2012 since May of 2013. In fact it's easier than 2003/2008 because you don't have to install the sysprep stuff on the vcenter server, it's built into the OS so it doesn't need to be injected.

        • Re:Does It Matter? (Score:4, Informative)

          by BillAtHRST ( 848238 ) on Friday January 30, 2015 @01:14PM (#48941303)
          It would certainly be nice if they fixed the performance of shared folders. That would make it much more practical to run multiple VM's on a single machine. See http://mitchellh.com/comparing... [mitchellh.com] for some interesting info. I tried this myself, and it's true -- read performance on shared folders is many times slower than virtual disks, making them fairly useless.
      • by Andy Dodd ( 701 )

        The only thing I use Vbox for is to perform firmware updates of devices where the manufacturer decided to only allow updating from Windows

        Pretty much:
        DJI Phantom 2 Vision+
        Sony digital cameras

        As long as USB passthrough works I'm golden.

      • by trajano ( 220061 )

        Ya I still use it for my running my Linux servers, it does the job. Though it required an external add on to get it to run as a Windows Service. However, I used to not upgrade until they updated the Windows Service extension to work in any newer version.

    • Re:Does It Matter? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by kschendel ( 644489 ) on Friday January 30, 2015 @11:57AM (#48940641) Homepage

      I use VirtualBox to host linux and winders VM's on a Mac laptop. It's free, and my other alternatives aren't. All I care about is whether it works, and I'm not all that interested in graphics acceleration and the like. So I hope it sticks around, even if it "stagnates".

    • Not many free options for devs on a mac or windows box.

      vmware isn't free. And if you use vagrant, you not only need to pay for a vmware license, but also pay for a license to use the vagrant vmware plugin.
      • by Guspaz ( 556486 )

        How is vmware not free? They have free products for both baremetal and desktop virtualization. vmware player has been able to create new VMs for six years now.

        I think the only feature missing from Player that any significant number of people would care about is snapshots.

        • by GlobalEcho ( 26240 ) on Friday January 30, 2015 @02:15PM (#48941683)

          Not many free options for devs on a mac or windows box. vmware isn't free

          How is vmware not free? They have free products for both baremetal and desktop virtualization. vmware player has been able to create new VMs for six years now.

          I think the only feature missing from Player that any significant number of people would care about is snapshots.

          You are correct for Windows, but VMWare Player does not exist for OSX. They only publish Fusion.

    • by fermion ( 181285 )
      I paid for virtual machine software for the Mac to run Windows XP and 7. I did not want to reboot. I switched to virtual box not because it was free, but because I felt it was better. I have not needed to run windows for a couple years, so I do not know what the current state of development is in the market, but VirtualBox would be my initial choice if I needed a VM. One data point. For the modeling software I was using on Windows 7, Parallels made my machine run much hotter.
      • Re:Does It Matter? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by MachineShedFred ( 621896 ) on Friday January 30, 2015 @12:47PM (#48941117) Journal

        Parallels really kinda sucks. Of the three major hypervisors available for OS X, it's the worst of them and that's with VirtualBox being stagnant for a year+. No support for OVAs whatsoever. If you virtualize OS X, you can't use keyboard shortcuts without the hypervisor thinking that Cmd+Q was meant for it, rather than an app in the guest OS. And yes, it doesn't do very nice things with thermal management on your hardware.

        VMware Fusion works pretty good, but costs $. VirtualBox, for a time, was actually better than VMware Fusion and free. The guys at VMware have fixed that though.

      • by xeoron ( 639412 )
        Install WINE / CrossOver and run the Windows Programs directly. So far every program I have tried works great. I have WINE installed via Macports, but I mainly use it to run Foobar2000 on my Macs.
    • Re:Does It Matter? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Immerman ( 2627577 ) on Friday January 30, 2015 @01:07PM (#48941261)

      The big features for me are the OpenGL and cross-platform support. Perhaps I'm wrong, but I've gotten the sense that Virtualbox is targeted more at the personal / local user, and is fairly mature in it's niche. Occasionally I'll encounter some OS that won't run in it (seems like recently the Mint live CD wouldn't get past th Grub stage, or maybe it was Xubuntu), but by and large it's far more convenient than many of the alternatives. Just migrated a friend's XP system to MS VirtualPC and discovered you can't even mount a folder as a virtual drive - a basic integration feature in most every virtualization/emulation program since... hell at least since the days when emulating C64s and Apple 68000s on the PC was cutting edge.

      Honestly at this point is seems like the VirtualBox team has two options - accept that it's mature software in it's niche, and just needs a bit of maintenance here and there to fix the occasional bug and maintain compatibility with evolving OSes, or jump off the deep end and try to compete with VMWare, etc. in the corporate data center. I'm no virtualization expert, but frankly it seems to me that it would be sort of silly doing the latter - data-center virtualization has come a long way since Virtualbox was created - hypervisors, large-scale maintenance, etc. It seems like VBox would be hard pressed to be more than an also-ran in that market.

      On the other hand for personal VMs, where compatibility, ease of use, and host-OS integration are of primary importance, I haven't found a better alternative. Though I'll admit I really wish it supported Virtual PC-style undo disks - that's a wonderful feature for experimenting with new/questionable software, especially stuff that may tinker with the OS.

    • by mlts ( 1038732 )

      VirtualBox has one advantage now, and that is that it is licensed at no charge. On Linux, this isn't a big deal (as KVM and Xen are decent alternatives), but a hypervisor on Windows or OS X, this can be important.

      However, if one can choose a non-free solution, the competition has lapped VirtualBox several times. VMWare is extremely strong, both with Workstation on Windows or Linux [1], as well as Fusion on Mac. For a dedicated box with a tier 1 hypervisor, both Hyper-V (can be downloaded separately from

    • I use virtualbox over vmware player for one main reason: nested VMs. one of the companies I worked for used nested vms (sigh) and vmware player would not work. kvm/qemu would, but its mgmt interface is 'difficult' to say the least.

      btw, virtualbox is broken with 3.17 kernels and beyond. still no fix in sight that I've been able to find ;(

    • by dissy ( 172727 )

      Are there some other core VirtualBox features I'm not aware of that keep people pinned to it?

      It's the only way to virtualize OS/2 Warp as of six months ago and very likely to this moment.

      (You didn't specify how many people a "core feature" must be useful to - although you would likely be shocked at the number of people who do just this)

    • by ncc74656 ( 45571 ) *

      Are there some other core VirtualBox features I'm not aware of that keep people pinned to it?

      Its support for passing USB devices through to guests is pretty good. I have a Gentoo VM on a Win7 box for the sole purpose of continuing to use a scanner that the manufacturer doesn't support on Win7. The only area where it's let me down in the past was with trying to mess with iPhone firmware (such as for jailbreaking) from a Windows VM on a Linux host...don't know if it was something weird Apple was doing wit

  • Oracle ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 30, 2015 @11:50AM (#48940579)

    Where software goes to die

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 30, 2015 @12:20PM (#48940847)

      Oracle is busy converting VirtualBox to run in Java.

    • I thought that was either Symantec or CA?

    • by Blrfl ( 46596 )

      You've obviously never met Corel...

    • by fnj ( 64210 )

      Where software goes to die

      Yeah, that is why Java is dead. NOT. Oracle may be destroying it to the best of their ability, but they have been so far unsuccessful. OpenJDK and Google Android are there.

      And that is why ZFS is dead. NOT. Oracle has killed off OpenSolaris, severely cutting back on people using ZFS on Oracle products, and seems to have essentially halted all further development of ZFS features, but OpenZFS is flourishing in the form of ZFSonLinux (the real first class kernel driver, not just the FU

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 30, 2015 @11:50AM (#48940581)

    are you unaware that the majority of it is open source? Therefore there's far more than 4 people looking at the code

  • If it ain't broke... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gabereiser ( 1662967 ) on Friday January 30, 2015 @11:56AM (#48940613)
    don't fix it. I mean sure I'd like more features and stuff, but it works out of the box. No tweaking (other than to guest vm's) or anything necessary. It just works. Sure there are other (paid) alternatives out there but VirtualBox does it's job well for me.
    • by Anrego ( 830717 ) * on Friday January 30, 2015 @12:05PM (#48940699)

      Generally agree. I use it for a handful of Windows apps I still need (like the updater for my GPS) and a few purpose specific Linux installs and it works fine for that. I'll probably keep using it as long as it still works. Worst case, KVM will probably do what I want just as well.

      Sure there are other (paid) alternatives out there but VirtualBox does it's job well for me.

      KVM is probably the closest alternative and is free (probably more so than VirtualBox is you go all church of Stallman mode).

    • by jellomizer ( 103300 ) on Friday January 30, 2015 @12:09PM (#48940751)

      Until the OS's that you want to virtualize will not operate well in it. Then you will need to switch.

      • by Wycliffe ( 116160 ) on Friday January 30, 2015 @12:26PM (#48940915) Homepage

        Until the OS's that you want to virtualize will not operate well in it. Then you will need to switch.

        It's open source and still supported by at least 4 developers so when that time comes it should be simple enough to add support for the new OS.
        4 developers seems plenty to support a stable software platform even if there is a new OS every few years that needs to be added.
        It's probably not enough to do a major rewrite but that's not really needed at this point. The primary thing I use virtualbox for is to support
        legacy OSes. As long as they can add support for new OSes before they become discontinued, virtualbox is fine for my use case.
        Also, for my particular use case, because of moore's law, performance isn't a big deal either as by the time an OS is discontinued, the
        current cpus are usually an order of magnitude faster than the cpu the OS was designed for so virtualbox is plenty fast.

        • it should be simple enough to add support for the new OS.

          BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

          Dear lord, I hope you're not serious.

          • What support does it need to add? It should be acting exactly like a generic x86 machine; the new OS should be written to support it as a matter of course.

            I mean, sure, the fancy stuff (mouse pointer integration, cut-and-paste between VM and host, etc.) are nice, but it's not as if they're necessary.

            • This

              generic x86 machine

              is where you fail. No OS has exactly the same expectations. In fact most are coded to the point they boot and that's it. Just have a look at the ACPI changes the linux kernel has gone through trying to make it work on all the different hardware.

              Granted adding basic support for a new version of windows that uses exactly the same bootloader as the previous version might not be exceptionally difficult to someone familiar with the code, however the point of the article is that there are v

            • Yes, the new OS with things like sysprep living in different places. Or different filesystem configs. Or different types/sizes/speeds of cpu/memory.
              Or 64 bit extensions.

              'a generic x86 machine' is a pipe dream.

      • by ihtoit ( 3393327 ) on Friday January 30, 2015 @12:29PM (#48940955)

        that will be the point where I'll look for an alternative. As for right now, Virtualbox will, for me:

          - boot a native MS-DOS 6.22 image (forget DOSBOX, if you want DOS functionality use fucking DOS!).
          - boot a native Win32 image with complete Win16 compatibility - just like you got in Win9x. Oh hell, I use win9x when I want that kind of functionality. Virtualbox lets me do that.
          - do the above headless and feed a thin client or six, simultaneously, off a commodity desktop system.
          - let you export a disk image to a partition mounted via the host and thereafter, boot said exported image on a completely different piece of hardware with no further hacking required. I'm looking at you, DOSBOX.
          - let you merge snapshots from specified thin clients into the service image while the image is in use.
          - connect one remote session to another remote session from another server and directly collaborate between the two, migrating clipboard and keyboard events as you go, seamlessly between two completely different desktop environments as if you were hosting them both on the local system. Comes in handy on the odd occasion I'm moving bits of user data (eg user lists) between WAMP stacks that for some reason *have* to reside on the system partition and not the segregated data partition.

        • by LateArthurDent ( 1403947 ) on Friday January 30, 2015 @04:56PM (#48942795)

          boot a native MS-DOS 6.22 image (forget DOSBOX, if you want DOS functionality use fucking DOS!).

          Well, depends on the use case. If you want to ensure your software will run on real DOS, you're right. However, in many cases, DOSBox will work better than native DOS. Run on DOSBox and never worry about not having enough conventional memory!

          DOSBox will even let me install Win 3.11 drivers.

          boot a native Win32 image with complete Win16 compatibility - just like you got in Win9x. Oh hell, I use win9x when I want that kind of functionality. Virtualbox lets me do that.

          That's a good example of lagging development, actually. I have that need, but VirtualBox doesn't have Guest OS Additions for Win9x, which means incredibly slow and awkward performance. VMWare does have guest additions for Win9x, so I tend to use VMWare Player for that use.

          do the above headless and feed a thin client or six, simultaneously, off a commodity desktop system.

          Yeah, I suppose that's pretty nice. I can't vouch for it, because I haven't used that feature, but it sounds great.

          let you export a disk image to a partition mounted via the host and thereafter, boot said exported image on a completely different piece of hardware with no further hacking required. I'm looking at you, DOSBOX.

          Huh? DOSBox uses a folder on your box as it's C drive. Just copy that folder over to the new box, and you're done. No need to export or import anything. It's not like DOS has a registry to figure out what's installed, it just has config.sys and autoexec.bat, and whatever folders you installed things at. All of the DOSBox specific settings are really only about what hardware the DOS software sees, it has nothing to do with the host hardware (especially since the settings file now detects the CPU type you have and there's an auto setting for throttling cycles that works reasonably well). So you can copy the DOSBox settings file as well. If you use one of the many frontends, you can have a different configuration file for each game, which is another advantage over native DOS. I remember having an actual DOS Machine with a Turbo button because old games relied on clock cycles for their timing.

          let you merge snapshots from specified thin clients into the service image while the image is in use.

          Again, sounds impressive.

          connect one remote session to another remote session from another server and directly collaborate between the two, migrating clipboard and keyboard events as you go, seamlessly between two completely different desktop environments as if you were hosting them both on the local system. Comes in handy on the odd occasion I'm moving bits of user data (eg user lists) between WAMP stacks that for some reason *have* to reside on the system partition and not the segregated data partition.

          Can't vouch for it again, but sounds nice.

    • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

      don't fix it. I mean sure I'd like more features and stuff, but it works out of the box. No tweaking (other than to guest vm's) or anything necessary. It just works. Sure there are other (paid) alternatives out there but VirtualBox does it's job well for me.

      Well, it can always be freer. I mean the base VM is FOSS, but the plugins definitely are not free at all - remote desktop server, and USB 2 support being the most common reasons to install the extension pack. Sure there's other features, but they're more

    • by Rich0 ( 548339 )

      don't fix it. I mean sure I'd like more features and stuff, but it works out of the box. No tweaking (other than to guest vm's) or anything necessary. It just works. Sure there are other (paid) alternatives out there but VirtualBox does it's job well for me.

      Meh, I abandoned it when it started refusing to run because there was a symlink in the path to its binary. It was less work to just move to virt-manager, which is just a wrapper around KVM which means I'm now running on a fully stock kernel as a bonus. Took a bit of effort to get networking working right, but it wasn't a big deal and the same setup works well for containers also.

    • by Bogtha ( 906264 )

      It is broke though. Look at the SendFile bug, for example. It's been there for years, it bites a tonne of people who try to virtualise web servers, and there has been seemingly no attempt whatsoever to fix it. Its kernel drivers on OS X and Linux aren't particularly stable either.

    • don't fix it. I mean sure I'd like more features and stuff, but it works out of the box. No tweaking (other than to guest vm's) or anything necessary. It just works. Sure there are other (paid) alternatives out there but VirtualBox does it's job well for me.

      VirtualBox is one of the most frequently-broken packages in my system. I run Vagrant and Fedora. Vagrant is supposed to have extensions for Xen, KVM and libvirt, but they're not part of the core package and the Fedora support for them is dicey (to be fair, developers say that's because Vagrant itself is somewhat quirky).

      Red Hat and related distros don't let you mix and match kernels and kernel modules. If you get a kernel update, you have to get the kmod-VirtualBox update too.

      The last Fedora 20 kernel updat

  • by petergriffinismyhero ( 803004 ) on Friday January 30, 2015 @12:01PM (#48940673)
    Who in their right mind would willingly submit to anything from Oracle? Have you ever been audited by them? Horrible company. They have some great products, but the company itself is a nasty evil entity that thinking people avoid like the plague unless they have absolutely no other choice.
    • by lordmage ( 124376 ) on Friday January 30, 2015 @12:52PM (#48941157) Homepage

      Oracle licensing has some issues that cause smaller businesses to avoid VirtualBox like the plague. One cannot just buy one license for 100 bucks(as implied on website) instead have to pay 5k for a single license the way they work the "license magic". This type of cost for something small and simply pushes smaller companies to spend an extra day or two or more on development and use KVM, Xen, etc.

      Oracle is shooting themselves in the foot over a good product.

    • by dkman ( 863999 )
      I saw it on Slashdot about a year ago and it has stuck with me.

      ORACLE: One Raging A**hole Called Larry Ellison
  • by soft_guy ( 534437 ) * on Friday January 30, 2015 @12:08PM (#48940743)
    After struggling with VirtualBox for a while, I broke down and bought VMWare. I use it for running Linux and running other versions of MacOS X on my Mac. I have found it to be well worth the money. In general, I like free software and I don't mind something that is a little harder to use if the non-free alternative is expensive, but at $79 VM Ware has saved me so much time its well worth it.
    • As a devout user of VMWare Workstation I count it amongst the best purchases that I've ever made. I usually upgrade to each new version as soon as it's available.

  • False story (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 30, 2015 @12:10PM (#48940757)

    After looking at the release history, I don't see any changes in frequency of releases / updates.
    https://www.virtualbox.org/pipermail/vbox-announce/

    Add in test builds available showing future bits...
    https://www.virtualbox.org/wiki/Testbuilds

    Since Oracle spreads it's virtualization bits between products, talking about only VirtualBox paints an incomplete picture.

    VirtualBox is akin to VMWare Workstation.
    OVM SPARC / x64 is akin to VMWare vSphere (or whatever name they've selected this week).

    VirtualBox coupled with kernel-zones and OVM (LDOMs) baked into the SPARC hardware and OVM for x86/x64 platforms - the entire gamut is covered.

    Sorry, but Phoronix did not paint a complete picture. How much did they get from EMC for spreading FUD?

  • I use VirtualBox for my application server and half a dozen thin clients, clustering, a virtualised (and very scalable thanks you) multitudinous WAMP stack, and game cabinet imaging development. It does exactly what I want it to do, I see absolutely no reason to change to another system. If development stopped HARD today it would not bother me in the slightest. I don't know of any features other platforms have that Virtualbox doesn't that I've ever gone "Oh, why can't I do this!?"

  • by DigitAl56K ( 805623 ) on Friday January 30, 2015 @12:16PM (#48940821)

    I user VirtualBox all day every day for fairly complex tasks, and it has performed admirably, yet it is sorely in need of QA help. Major releases happen with auto-update notifications and then you realize that your old snapshots can't be started, using a debugger blows up the VM, sometimes snapshots don't save properly even though it looks like they did, etc. etc. Then you have to dig out the last working version, which came out 6 months back, to get up and running again.

    Aside from this "upgrade gamble", which I put squarely on a lack of beta releases, VirtualBox is fantastic. Hardware accelerated graphics with full Aero support, fast virtualization, shared clipboard and files, attaching USB devices - it's everything you need in a friendly UI that anyone can work with.

    It'll be a tragedy IMO if it's left to rot.

    For anyone interested, I find the last stable version to be 4.3.12 (on Windows).

    • by ihtoit ( 3393327 )

      every software upgrade is a gamble, Windows NT being the prime example. Not specifically picking on Microsoft here, I can throw anecdotes at you all night with the things I've had fail after an upgrade, from games to office apps to operating systems to mobile phones to routers and EVERY MAINSTREAM KERNEL GOING.

      • every software upgrade is a gamble

        No. It is usually rare that a minor update version that is an official release will fundamentally stop working altogether. Sure, maybe some quirks are introduced, but generally the product has been tested enough that it is 95%+ working and most users either won't encounter or can work around the deficiencies.

        On the other hand, official releases of VirtualBox can just flat out break to the point you can't even start some of your VMs, or crashing the entire VM is just the matter of running some common piece o

    • Major releases happen with auto-update notifications and then you realize that your old snapshots can't be started

      [knock on wood] I've had good luck by shutting down the guest OS and then taking a snapshot. I had numerous unresolved issues with VM's that were snapshotted in a saved mode not starting properly after an upgrade of VirtualBox.

  • Wiki says that virtualbox is Gnu GPL2. If Oracle has abandoned, fork it?

  • by tlhIngan ( 30335 ) <[slashdot] [at] [worf.net]> on Friday January 30, 2015 @12:26PM (#48940921)

    Funny enough, Oracle updated Vbox with a new release just 2 weeks ago. That doesn't say "standstill" to be, but more "stable and fixing bugs".

    Yeah, so what if they're not making big new feature requests? They're still supporting it with updates and bug fixes, and that's a sign of a mature stable product.

    • Those new releases were bugfixes on older branches.

    • @tlhIngan: "Oracle updated Vbox with a new release just 2 weeks ago"

      @Phoronix: 'The v4.3 series has been receiving some maintenance updates during the last two years, but that's about it.'

      "VirtualBox 4.3.20 (released 2014-11-21) | This is a maintenance release. The following items were fixed and/or added: ref [virtualbox.org]
  • by ZorinLynx ( 31751 ) on Friday January 30, 2015 @12:34PM (#48941003) Homepage

    That company ruins everything it touches.

    Look what happened to MySQL, leading to the need to fork to MariaDB.

    Look what happened to ZFS; as soon as Oracle got its grubby mitts on it, it closed-sourced all future updates and made it incompatible with the open source version.

    Do you use Solaris? If you do, I don't even have to write anything here. Support has gone absolutely to shit since the acquisition.

    And now Virtualbox is stagnant and uncared for.

    Why is anyone surprised? Oracle bought Sun and ruined everything awesome about the company. It was the absolute worst possible company that could have acquired Sun, and it shows in every way.

    Fuck you, Oracle. With a turbo-charged chainsaw, sideways.

  • I've been using VirtualBox extensively as I've been taking some Linux classes at the local community college in an effort to brush up on my skills. I've found VB to be a great way to test out new Windws OS's and applications, and the BSD's as well. It would be a shame for this great, FREE, product to die. Sure, I have access to ESXi, and I could go out and buy VM Workstation, but VB does everything I need it to do. It can be a little difficult finding solutions to issues I have (such as multi-monitor suppor
  • Since I have a ZFS server, running on solaris, this is the only option for that box.

  • Is it possible to create a USB stick bootable virtualbox with persistent storage on the USB device?

    Performance of USB3 sticks is more than adequate and this might be a way to create a way to create a single stick that could run multiple operating systems from bootup without needing any host storage.

    I made a go at rolling my own with Ubuntu, but because I trying to do it with an older version of VMware workstation running under Windows it seemed to hose up on the USB stick installation.

    I tried finding a cann

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by drinkypoo ( 153816 )

      Performance of USB3 sticks is more than adequate and this might be a way to create a way to create a single stick that could run multiple operating systems from bootup without needing any host storage.

      You can just write a filesystem to a USB device, or you can partition it and write to it like it was an HDD. So putting multiple operating systems on a USB stick has always been not just possible, but trivial; you do it just the same way as you do it on a HDD.

      I made a go at rolling my own with Ubuntu, but because I trying to do it with an older version of VMware workstation running under Windows it seemed to hose up on the USB stick installation.

      Get vmware player and the gparted CD ISO, and you will have all that you need to accomplish your goal. ;) Make sure to set the boot order before installing anything because it's much easier to get into the BIOS then. Can't you point VBox at a physical

      • by swb ( 14022 )

        But I want to run multiple Windows systems on a USB stick. I wouldn't bother with virtual box if that was the case.

        The idea was to be able to boot a full Windows environment off a USB stick by using virtualbox as basically a shim to work around Windows inability to boot off USB.

  • 4.3 brought major changes in the vt-x code for stability and performance improvements.

    You should look at the change log and source code commits.

    https://www.virtualbox.org/wik... [virtualbox.org]
    https://www.virtualbox.org/tim... [virtualbox.org]

    It wouldn't surprise me if 4.4 gets released soon with a new batch of improvements. 4.3 will then get put into maintenance mode and 4.4 because "unstable". I normally don't deploy the current branch in production for several releases as they fix the issues.

    Project development is far from a standstil

  • >"Phoronix notes how it has been a long time since last hearing of any major innovations or improvements to VirtualBox,Phoronix notes how it has been a long time since last hearing of any major innovations or improvements to VirtualBox"

    And this surprises anyone? This is what happened with most everything Oracle acquired from Sun- they poisoned everything. It is what they do best. It is also why OpenOffice was forked.

    Fortunately, VirtualBox still works very well... for now. And I, for one, like that i

  • It moves... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Doc Hopper ( 59070 ) <slashdot@barnson.org> on Friday January 30, 2015 @07:48PM (#48943865) Homepage Journal

    Disclaimer: The views expressed in this post are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Oracle.

    TL;DR: I am an Oracle employee. It's an awesome place to work with above market pay, superb benefits, and a demanding but rewarding engineering culture. Virtualbox is one project in a large and growing virtualization team, creating and improving some truly amazing cutting-edge technologies that make your virtualization life better.

    I'm going to share some facts as I see them, and let you draw your own conclusions instead of drawing them for you.

    1. The Oracle VM and Oracle VM Virtualbox teams are one and the same within Oracle. There's a lot of cross-pollination of ideas and effort, and the virtualization team is frakking huge: HUNDREDS of developers. Not "4", as some have asserted here!
    2. There's a ton of stuff happening in virtualization at Oracle: https://blogs.oracle.com/virtu... [oracle.com]
    3. There's a substantial line-up of products that are demo'd to customers as part of "Virtualbox Appliances". Virtualbox demos are a key strategy for introducing many of our products to customers. http://www.oracle.com/technetw... [oracle.com] .
    Corrollary: I manage a lot of ZFS appliances. I like them; they make my job easier, particularly at the kind of scale at which one begins measuring one's storage in exabytes. You should download the Virtualbox-based Oracle ZFS Storage Simulator [oracle.com] and check it out. Hint: Dig into the REST interfaces and ECMAscript workflows concepts. This kind of thing is Stored Procedures for enterprise-grade storage appliances with absolutely blistering scale, reliability, and performance, and if you don't yet understand how powerful that idea is, you might be insufficiently experienced in high-end storage and databases.
    4. Wim Coekaerts is a smart, friendly, and communicative dude. He also happens to be SVP over our Linux & Virtualization efforts. If you're really interested in the details of virtualization development at Oracle, you should check out his blog: https://blogs.oracle.com/wim/ [oracle.com]

    Next, my opinions. No longer facts!

    VirtualBox is a mature, stable product that's doing its job and -- as a GPL project -- seems to me like more a vehicle for showcasing Oracle technology than a revenue generator in its own right. That doesn't mean development has ceased! It just means that, in general, Oracle engineering teams are laser-focused on how we can make money so we can stay employed so we can keep creating really unique and useful products for our customers. Responsibilities on teams shift as need demands, and with such an enormous knowledge base in virtualization on our Engineering staff, there's no question that if a product needs a feature to benefit customers, and a good case can be made that it'll pay off, it gets the engineering resources it needs to give it a try.

    The Sun transition was tough for some employees. In advance of the merger, a lot of old-timers split. A lot of younger engineers went looking for somewhere hipper and younger to work than what would become a Fortune 500 company. Many Sun managers, sensing the change in the wind as Oracle's intensely results-oriented management team integrated with them, split for positions elsewhere.

    I know and work with the survivors of the merger every day. And overwhelmingly, those who've integrated into Oracle culture, shown they belong here through their productivity and attitude, and produce results consistently have built success upon success, and are valued and rewarded.

    They're also a bunch of brainiacs who routinely blow my mind with deep insights into operating systems, hardware, and performance optimization.

    Those who don't deal well with rapid change, high expectations, and a dogged focu

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