VirtualBox update [Update]

Tux
Innotek released a new version of its virtual machine VirtualBox. The minor update features important bug fixes and useful adjustments which are especially useful on Linux.

When I tested VirtualBox for the first time I was pretty excited. Since then Innotek has released two minor versions featuring several important bugfixes, small features and adjustments.
The changelog lists shows several things important for users of Linux hosts:

  • Linux installer: added RPM for rhel4 and Mandriva 2007.1
  • Linux installer: improved setup of kernel module
  • GUI: Host-Fn sends Ctrl-Alt-Fn to the guest (Linux guest VT switch)
  • GUI: improved error messages if the kernel module is not accessible
  • GUI: never fail to start the GUI if the kernel module is not accessible
  • NAT: allow configuration of incoming connections (aka port mapping)
  • Linux Additions: support Xorg 7.2.x

First of all the list of supported distributions became longer: Mandriva and RHEL are supported now. Btw., if you are a Fedora user as I am, the RHEL rpm works perfect here.
Second, the kernel module handling was improved. If the kernel module is not loaded you can still start the GUI, which was previously not possible. Starting a virtual machine will bring up an error message together with information how to fix that:

VirtualBox kernel module error

All you have to do now is to close VirtualBox, call that command, and the kernel module is rebuild automatically. I hope that we will see a GUI or auto option for this next time so that you don’t have to use the shell at all.

Also, one of the often raised critics have been fixed: you are now able to send Alt+Ctrl+Fn to the virtual machine to switch from your X server to the virtual terminals. Also the newest X.Org is now supported and clears the paths for upcoming distributions like Ubuntu 7.04 and Fedora 7.

Fixing such small but very annoying bugs is a clear sign that Innotek really means business. They really want to improve VirtualBox – also from a Linux user perspective.
And since Innotek releases such minor updates every month you should be careful reading reviews about VirtualBox: for example several negative reviews I read are due to a already fixed Alsa problem or other similar issues.

I wonder when the VirtualBox people will try to get the kernel module (remember: VirtualBox is essentially Open Source) into the vanilla kernel.

Update
Mandriva 2007.1 is not yet released. Therefore Mandriva users should have a look at yoho’s comment to this article.
Also, please keep in mind that the rpms I mentioned are the ones which are delivered together with closed source additions!

2 thoughts on “VirtualBox update [Update]”

  1. Just for the sake of completeness : Mandriva 2007.1 is not out yet, it’s being developed and should be out next month. Unfortunately, the current version is 2007.0 and there’s no official virtualbox package for 2007.0. I’ve built one, though, which I can send on request : send me a mail to backport@vpanel.cjb.net

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