To ease the process and help with the release of future drivers, Oracle has separated items by creating its first "extension pack," which the company says will allow Oracle and the community of developers to more easily create new extensions to customize Oracle VM VirtualBox and add new features.
"This extension pack is still licensed the same way as in every prior version, via a PUEL license or with the ability to purchase a commercial license," said Coekaerts. "It is now also possible for other companies or users that want to add extensions to do so by creating a similar extension pack -- and there's no need to do a new release of the entire product to do so."
Extension packs make it a more flexible structure for installing VirtualBox and drivers, as well as allowing for more modular additions, Coekaerts stated. The source code of Oracle VM VirtualBox 4.0 is still being made available, but just as with 3.x, the source code is not available for the additional drivers, which are now found in the extension pack.
It seems logical to assume Oracle hopes a community will develop around these extension packs. Perhaps this could lead to the creation of an app store to promote and sell add-ons to help monetize development efforts of the platform, enabling Oracle to generate some revenue from the millions of users who have already downloaded the free virtualization hypervisor.
VirtualBox remains a great choice for users looking for a free yet powerful virtualization platform for their desktop or laptop computer. Oracle VM VirtualBox 4.0 is now available for download on Oracle's website. Also available is Oracle's first extension pack as well as a few Oracle VM VirtualBox pre-built appliances.
This article, "Oracle updates free, open source VirtualBox hypervisor," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the latest developments in virtualization and cloud computing at InfoWorld.com.