Innotek released version 1.4 of its famous Open Source virtual machine VirtualBox. Among the new features are 64 bit Linux host support, synchronized clipboards, a user interface for shared folders and native support for VMWare’s disk images. For the first time there are also prepacked versions for Fedora 7, RHEL 5 and Xandros Desktop 4.1 available.
Several of the features added with this release were often asked by the users: while there were previously already the ability to add shared folders it was quite difficult to set up and required long commands in the shell. Now this is no longer necessary due to the new GUI interface. Also, the clipboard synchronization makes it much easier to work with programs on the host and on the vm at the same time.
The native support for VMWare’s virtual disks brings VirtualBox closer to its competitor, making a transition from VMWare to VirtualBox much easier.
On small new feature I personally like is the new notes feature: with this version you can add simple notes to each virtual machine. This helps keeping an overview over the different vms you’re running.
Besides these changes there are many more changelog: serial ports are now supported which might be interesting in case you only have hardware drivers for legacy operating systems. Also, USB ports can now be dynamically added and removed between the virtual machines or given back to the host. Also, the RDP server now supports session shadowing so that the access from more than one client is possible.
For Fedora and RHEL users there are two new features: first of all there are now prepared rpms available for both Fedora 7 and RHEL 5. But for the first time VirtualBox now also works together with an activated SELinux, making it a possible alternative for data centers with higher security standards.
VirtualBox is available in two licences: most of the software is available under the GPLv2. However, the prepacked versions are only available under the VirtualBox Personal Use and Evaluation License (PUEL). The basic differences between these two editions are that you need to pay a licence if you want to use the PUEL versions commercially (personal and academic use is for free) and that the PUEL version has some features the free version doesn’t. Among them: the Remote Display Protocol (RDP) Server, USB support, USB over RDP, Shared Folders and iSCSI initiator.