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Sunday, May 23, 2010

Oracle VirtualBox 3.2

Oracle VM VirtualBox(formerly called Sun VirtualBox before take over of Sun by Oracle) is one of the better known , cross platform virtualization solution for enterprises and home users. It supports a multitude of hosts and guest operating system and offers an excellent performance and wide feature set.

Oracle VM VirtualBox is available free of cost for personal use and could be easily installed atop GNU/Linux distribution. Oracle VM VirtualBox 3.2 released a couple of days back is the first releases of VirtualBox software after acquisition of Sun by Oracle and offers a number of bug-fixes and new features over the previous versions.

Some of the major changes in VirtualBox 3.2 include -

  • Storage I/O subsystem – VirtualBox 3.2 offers a completely re-worked virtual disk subsystem which utilizes asynchronous I/O to achieve high-performance whilst maintaining high data integrity
  • In-hypervisor Networking – Significant optimization of the networking subsystem has reduced context switching between guests and host, increasing network throughput by up to 25%.
  • New Storage I/O subsystem – VirtualBox 3.2 offers a completely re-worked virtual disk subsystem which utilizes asynchronous I/O to achieve high-performance whilst maintaining high data integrity;
  • USB Keyboard and Mouse – Support more guests that require USB input devices
  • Ubuntu 10.04 (“Lucid Lynx”) – Support for both the desktop and server version of the popular Ubuntu Linux distribution;
A detailed change-log of VirtualBox 3.2 could be found here and feature set here.

I have been using VirtualBox for the past few months, primarily to run Microsoft Windows inside running environment of Ubuntu; One of the reasons for using Microsoft Windows is a lot of retro-programming (8 bit NES ) tools need Microsoft Windows environment and I am forced to use it. I have been quiet satisfied with performance and features of VirtualBox and I was particularly impressed with ease of use of VirtualBox. I had found VMWare very bloated compared to VirtualBox.

Installing VirtualBox under Ubuntu 10.04

I have been using Ubuntu 10.04 for a couple of weeks, and I would hence describe steps followed to install VirtualBox 3.2 under Ubuntu 10.04.

To install Oracle VM VirtualBox, open terminal window from (Application-> Accessories -> Terminal ) and issue the following command :

sudo add-apt-repository "deb http://download.virtualbox.org/virtualbox/debian lucid non-free"
This should add the VirtualBox repository to the sources.list file and allow you to install VirtualBox using apt-get. We also need to add verification key, which we can do so by issuing the following command to download and install the key.

wget -q http://download.virtualbox.org/virtualbox/debian/oracle_vbox.asc -O- | sudo apt-key add -
Finally , we issue these set of commands to update the repository on local system and install VirtualBox 3.2

sudo apt-get update

and
sudo apt-get install virtualbox-3.2
VirtualBox-3.2 Installation

This should download VirtualBox-3.2 onto your system(on my system the entire download was about 48 Megabytes ) and install VirtualBox, which you can launch from (Applications -> System Tools -> Oracle VM VirtualBox ).

Article Written by : Ambuj Varshney (blogambuj@gmail.com)
For Linux on Desktop Blog , http://linuxondesktop.blogspot.com
(C) 2009 , Ambuj Varshney

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