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VirtualBox 3.2 Beta - New Features and Re-Branding

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VirtualBox 3.2 Beta - New Features and Re-Branding

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Sun's open source desktop virtualization application for x86 hardware, VirtualBox, is getting an extreme makeover under Oracle.  With some slight re-branding and some experimental new features, Oracle released the first beta for VirtualBox 3.2.  Today, "Oracle VirtualBox" (can I call it OVB now?) is available for download (on Windows, Mac, Linux, and Solaris)   and ready for feedback

All references to VirtualBox have been changed to 'Oracle VirtualBox' by Oracle with no impact to compatibility they say.  Some of the most significant new features are considered "bleeding-edge," like the experimental support for Mac OS X guests.  Another cool feature is Memory Ballooning.  This allows a Virtual Machine to dynamically increase or decrease the amount of RAM that it uses.  This feature works only in 64-bit hosts.

OVB 3.2 also has new CPU hot-plugging features.  Users will be able to hot-add and hot-remove the CPU for Linux and certain Windows guests (hot-adding only for Windows).  Deleting snapshots while the VM is still running is now possible in 3.2.  Guest additions now have the ability to execute guest applications from the host system.  If no Guest Additions are available, then USB tablet/keyboard emulation is a new option for users of the 3.2 beta.  

The beta includes new hypervisor features as well. Using large pages can improve performance with both VT-x and AMD-V on 64-bit hosts.  Unrestricted guest execution is now supported on VT-x.  By enabling nested paging with VT-x, guest OS boots will be faster because real mode and protected mode without paging code is faster.  OVB 3.2 also adds multi-monitor guest setup support in the GUI.

Here are some other notable features in Oracle VirtualBox 3.2 Beta 1:

  • LsiLogic SAS controller emulation
  • RDP video acceleration
  • NAT engine configuration via API and VBoxManage
  • Enhanced OVF support with custom namespace to preserve settings that are not part of the base OVF standard

Oracle VirtualBox is distributed under the GPLv2 license.  The Oracle VirtualBox binaries are released under the VirtualBox Personal Use and Evaluation License (PUEL) license.  For the most stable release of Oracle VirtualBox, download version 3.1.6, which was released near the end of March

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