"Oracle VM VirtualBox 4.0 is the third major product release in just over a year, and adds to the many new product releases across the Oracle Virtualization product line, illustrating the investment and importance that Oracle places on providing a comprehensive desktop to datacenter virtualization solution," said Wim Coekaerts, senior vice president for Linux and virtualization engineering at Oracle.
With VirtualBox 4.0, Oracle fixes a number of bugs while also adding a host of new features, which is evident in the latest changelog. Some of the key new features include:
- A major revamp of the VirtualBox Manager with added features such as VM Preview, an orderable VM list, and optional attribute panes
- Easy shortcut creation that enables users to launch VMs from their Desktop, Start Menu, or from scripts, without the need to start the VirtualBox Manager
- New Asynchronous I/O model for networked (iSCSI) and local storage that delivers significant storage-related performance improvements, especially over 1GB LANs
- Support for more than 2GB of RAM on 32-bit host systems
- Extended support for the DMTF's Open Virtualization Format (OVF) descriptors and new support for Open Virtual Appliance (OVA) format descriptors
- Options for resizing VM disk images
- Virtual hardware support with a new, modern chipset that adds support for PCI Express, Intel High Definition Audio, and hardware offloading for virtual networking
- Additional port-forwarding rules that allow the user to run server VMs on desktop machines using NAT networking
All of this functionality comes in the basic edition; the newly added extension pack also adds support for virtualized USB 2.0 peripherals, Intel PXE boot for the E1000 network adapter, and the VirtualBox Remote Desktop Protocol. So what is this new extension pack and how is it different from 3.2 and other releases?
Prior to version 4.0, there were two versions of VirtualBox available. Users could download Oracle VM VirtualBox OSE (open source edition) -- which included a download of the source tarball with a GPL license and required a compile to run. They could also download Oracle VM VirtualBox PUEL (personal use/eval license), which included a download of an installable binary containing a number of additional non-GPL license drivers built into the install. This version contained the OSE edition, the additional drivers, and the installer. With the latter version, customers could purchase an enterprise software license.