VirtualBox 1.6: new features

VirtualBox has released the newest version of its virtual machine software. Among the features is seamless window support for Linux guests and MacOS and Solaris host support.

The new version is the first majoer release of VirtualBox since the company behind, Innotek, was acquired by SUN. And this release comes along with a set of new features:

  • Solaris and Mac OS X host support
  • Seamless windowing for Linux and Solaris guests
  • Guest Additions for Solaris
  • A webservice API
  • SATA hard disk (AHCI) controller
  • Experimental Physical Address Extension (PAE) support
  • GUI: added accessibility support (508)
  • VMM: many fixes for VT-x/SVM hardware-supported virtualization
  • Linux installer: support DKMS for compiling the kernel module
  • Linux additions: several fixes, experimental support for RandR 1.2
  • Linux host: compatibility fixes with Linux 2.6.25

The changelog lists numerous additional changes. Among them are notes that the general system has been improved speed and power wise. This is reflected by a new file format: after the update VirtualBox asks to update the file system from linux-1.2 to linux-1.3.
Additionally the download section now has precompiled binaries for more distribution versions. There are even rpms available for the fugure Fedora 9.

The new release is again an evolutionary improvement which again introduces a set of new supported machines. The new ownvership of SUN can only be seen by numerous improvements in the Solaris support. Otherwise, the development of VirtualBox seems to be just like usual: evolving, stable but always with a set of new features.

21 thoughts on “VirtualBox 1.6: new features”

  1. I’m running it now with windows xp as guest on ubuntu 8.04. The speed is great. It feels quite a bit faster than native XP even though the guest can only use one of the four cpu cores.
    Seamless mode works rather well. You do see some painting problems now and then.

    On thing I’d like to get working is to let the windows guest use both of the monitors. This is possible by extending the desktop window over two monitors. But seamless mode and fullscreen mode do not support this. Best would be if the virtualbox graphics drivers would report the multimonitor setup to the guest.

  2. @Jos: “It feels quite a bit faster than native XP” – you are imagining things. I love virtualbox, but with heavy loads it still suffer for me (doing development and graphics stuff), a virtual machine is nowhere near the native imho.

  3. @deadcabbit: “you are imagining things” – it seems like file access is faster. This is probably due to a better layout of the file or a better driver for my RAID card under linux. I was running Windows x64 natively and now I run the 32 bit version. This may also make a difference.
    Where the difference comes from exactly is not so important as the observation that even with single core in virtualbox it feels faster than when running natively on the quadcore.

  4. Now I just can’t wait for multiple-CPU support. That will be when I can finally, completely, and irreversably, ditch having to have a “real” windows box.

  5. chet, to me the changes of the GUI itself were rather small – despite of the new toolkit version used in the background.

  6. Well, my first impressiong is holy |@#~! Didn’t the deb size triplicate from 1.5.6 ?

  7. Maybe there is a qt4 frontend in development, but 1.6 doesn’t include it. Qt4 is neither in the dependencies of the package, nor is it loaded at runtime (gexmap shows it loading qt3)

  8. hey guys,

    i tried the new version..and it’s really good a lot of improvements…but i had this problem.. i want to run my built in webcam in my windows xp guest … how can i do that?..

  9. linux-newbie, I’m not sure that this is actually possible. In general you have to activate the USB controller in the virtual machine and see if the webcam is passed through.

  10. thanx liquidat for the replay,

    what about vmware ..i ran win xp as a guest under ubuntu i found the usb device for my build in webcam..but whenever i open the webcam with the skype it just freezes on one pic after a few seconds maybe 1 or 2 ?….is there a solution for that?

  11. Hey thanks for this useful information. Can you focus some light on what exactly is provided with A webservice API in Virtual Box. Can I control my remote Virtual machines through any http interface an like xen?

  12. Amol, have a look at the manual: section 10.1 documents the web API’s. The basic idea is that you can communicate using http and xml. That does not mean however that there is already a web-page set up to control your VirtualBox (yet).

  13. My host is Fedora 8 32bit. When I installed Windows 2000 as guest with VirtualBox 1.6 and activated USB2, Win 2000 freezes with 100% load on 1 core of a Intel Core Duo. I installed VirtualBox 1.5.6 and it runs without any problem. I think it’s a problem of the new final release with new usb part.

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