By Fat Bloke on May 02, 2008
You have to hand it to the VirtualBox engineers, nothing stops them churning out top quality code at a rate of knots. You might think that the wind and the rain of an acquisition process would slow things down but it was business as usual. And the culmination of their efforts is Sun xVM VirtualBox 1.6 available right now!
So what's new in this release? In order of coolness and importance to the Fat Bloke here are my lucky 7 features:
1. Mac OS X is out of Beta and works great!
This is great professionally and personally. It means I can use all the platforms I need (Windows Vista and XP, Solaris and OpenSolaris, Ubuntu) at the same time. I used to use Fusion but not any more. Check out seamless windows (make sure you have enough Video Ram if you have a big screen) and USB device support. Very cool!
2. OpenSolaris and Solaris 10u5 as hosts.
Using OpenSolaris as a host for multiple Virtual Desktops (XP instances to be specific) is hugely powerful. (Note that networking is limited to NAT in this release.)
3. Solaris Guest Additions.
Now I can really install and kick the tires of OpenSolaris without scrambling around to find hardware to put it on. New in this release are big things (seamless windows) and little things (mouse integration) which together make installing and using OpenSolaris, in particular, a breeze.
4. Scalability improvements.
I don't know about you, but previously I couldn't run more than a couple of vm's simultaneously. 1.6 fixes whatever that was so now you can really confuse yourself with more windows of more varieties than you can shake a stick at.
5. Gigabit ethernet for guests.
Just plain faster.
6. SATA support for up to 32 disks.
Haven't used all 32 in a single guest yet though.
7. Web Services APIs
For scripters - If you don't know the command line interface go read about VBoxManage in the User Manual. It is v. powerful.
For code monkeys - check out the COM/XPCOM interfaces too.
New for code gorillas - Web Services APIs which make it easy to lash up an app which manages, controls or monitors VirtualBox remotely, something prospective OEM partners will love.
The first release after an acquisition is an interesting one to watch for signs of interference and influence.
- Would the mighty Sun Microsystems Inc. slow down the nimble and smart innotek guys?
- Would the suits impose restraints that hadn't existed before?
- Would Sun continue with the full range of platforms or only concentrate on their own?
It could have gone badly wrong. But I'm pleased to observe that for the ex-innotek guys and the VirtualBox community, it seems to be "Business as Usual".