InfoWorld's Test Center picks the best open source productivity software and mobile tools of 2011
Oracle VM VirtualBox
A free-to-use and open source virtualization solution for desktop environments, VirtualBox changed hands from Sun to Oracle when the latter bought the former. That hasn't changed the pace or tenor of its development, though, and the last few revisions -- including a major update to the left of the decimal point -- have continued to pile on reasons to ditch commercial alternatives. For anyone who even dabbles in virtualization, it's gone from useful to must-have.
Almost any OS of note will run in VirtualBox, but Windows, Solaris, Linux, Mac OS X Server, and OS/2 Warp (in roughly descending order of support) have guest additions that allow for tighter integration between the guest and host: two-way clipboard interaction, proper pointing device and video card support, and many other ties that make running the emulated system more like running a real one.
The newest version, 4.1.2, adds in many features to make it easier to manage existing VMs, such as wizards for cloning both virtual disks and VMs themselves. (This used to be a lot harder than it had to be.) Other new functions include CPU capping for virtual machines, support for up to 1TB of RAM in 64-bit hosts, support for SATA disk hotplugging, UDP tunneling for connecting virtual machines across different hosts, and a new network driver architecture that makes it easier to write third-party virtual network drivers.
The Bossies 2011 index:
This slideshow, "Bossie Awards 2011: The best open source desktop and mobile software," originally appeared at InfoWorld.com. Follow the latest developments in applications, mobile technology, and open source at InfoWorld.com.