VirtualBox is a family of powerful x86 virtualization products for enterprise as well as home use. Not only is VirtualBox an extremely feature rich, high performance product for enterprise customers, it is also the only professional solution that is freely available as Open Source Software under the terms of the GNU General Public License (GPL). See "About VirtualBox" for an introduction.
Presently, VirtualBox runs on Windows, Linux, Macintosh and OpenSolaris hosts and supports a large number of guest operating systems including but not limited to Windows (NT 4.0, 2000, XP, Server 2003, Vista), DOS/Windows 3.x, Linux (2.4 and 2.6), and OpenBSD.
VirtualBox is a general-purpose full virtualizer for x86 hardware. Targeted at server, desktop and embedded use, it is now the only professional-quality virtualization solution that is also Open Source Software.
Some of the features of VirtualBox are:
* Modularity. VirtualBox has an extremely modular design with well-defined internal programming interfaces and a client/server design. This makes it easy to control it from several interfaces at once: for example, you can start a virtual machine in a typical virtual machine GUI and then control that machine from the command line, or possibly remotely. VirtualBox also comes with a full Software Development Kit: even though it is Open Source Software, you don't have to hack the source to write a new interface for VirtualBox.
* Virtual machine descriptions in XML. The configuration settings of virtual machines are stored entirely in XML and are independent of the local machines. Virtual machine definitions can therefore easily be ported to other computers.
* Guest Additions for Windows and Linux. VirtualBox has special software that can be installed inside Windows and Linux virtual machines to improve performance and make integration much more seamless. Among the features provided by these Guest Additions are mouse pointer integration and arbitrary screen solutions (e.g. by resizing the guest window).
* Shared folders. Like many other virtualization solutions, for easy data exchange between hosts and guests, VirtualBox allows for declaring certain host directories as "shared folders", which can then be accessed from within virtual machines.
A number of extra features are available with the full VirtualBox release only (see the "Editions" page for details):
* Virtual USB Controllers. VirtualBox implements a virtual USB controller and allows you to connect arbitrary USB devices to your virtual machines without having to install device specific drivers on the host.
* Remote Desktop Protocol. Unlike any other virtualization software, VirtualBox fully supports the standard Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP). A virtual machine can act as an RDP server, allowing you to "run" the virtual machine remotely on some thin client that merely displays the RDP data.
* USB over RDP. With this unique feature, a virtual machine that acts as an RDP server can still access arbitrary USB devices that are connected on the RDP client. This way, a powerful server machine can virtualize a lot of thin clients that merely need to display RDP data and have USB devices plugged in.
VirtualBox 1.6.2 (released 2008-06-06)
This is a maintenance release. The following items were fixed and/or added:
* GUI: fixed a bug which prevented to add more than one SATA drive from the GUI
* GUI: fixed a regression introduced in 1.6.0: the fullscreen mode was left on every guest video mode switch
* GUI: fixed several minor issues
* Networking: fixed a host interface networking regression introduced in 1.6.0
* VMM: fixed starting of VMs with AMD-V enabled
* VMM: massive performance enhancements for AMD-V
* VMM: stability improvements for AMD-V on Windows hosts
* VMM: correctly detect AMD CPUs with erratum 170 (AMD-V)
* VMM: detect inconsistent timestamp counters on certain AMD Phenom CPUs (Windows host only)
* VMM: fixed KVM check (Linux hosts only) XPCOM: fixed several races
* VMM: ﬁxed a regression introduced in 1.6.0: Windows stuck during installation
* SATA: improved performance with Vista guests
* SATA: fixed statistics counter
* Shared Folders: several fixes (iTunes download, speed up browsing)
* ATA/IDE: fixed boot from CDROM if a medium was added while the boot menu was active
* Networking: provide an Intel PRO/1000 T Server (82543GC) network device emulation which is recognized by Windows XP guests
* Networking: fixes for the E1000 emulation (don't crash if not attached, fixed a bug in the statistics counter implementation)
* NAT: don't crash if the guest sent a DHCPRELEASE message with an invalid IP address
* NAT: fixed ARP reply for the NAT gateway and for the NAT name server if the guest IP range was changed
* Internal Networking: fixed shutdown if more than two VMs are connected to the same network
* BIOS: allow to change the DMI informatiton (see chapter 9.13, Con'guring the BIOS DMI information, page 125)
* RTC: fixed UIP emulation to prevent jumping of time in Solaris guests
* Windows host: VirtualBox installation directory corrected for 64 bits Windows
* Windows host: fixed VBoxVRDP.exe symlink
* Windows host: solved locking problems in raw partition VMDK support
* Windows host: fixed stability during high system load (page fault in KeQueryActiveProcessors)
* MacOS X host: fixed crashes under certain conditions
* Shared Folders: limited users without admin rights now also can use Shared Folders on Windows guests
* Linux hosts: fixed default runlevel for the kernel module helper script
* Solaris hosts: enabled support for VT-x and AMD-V
* Solaris hosts: dynamic loading of libdlpi fixes a problem where Solaris 10 was not able to start a VM
* Linux additions: fixed runlevels for kernel module helper scripts
* Linux additions: compatibility fixes with Linux 2.6.26
* Linux additions: fixed occasional guest kernel crash during unload of the vboxadd guest kernel module