September 6, 2007

VirtualBox 1.5.0 update includes seamless windowing

Author: Lisa Hoover

Innotek rolled out a significant update to its VirtualBox open source virtualization software this week. According to Achim Hasenmueller, managing director of innotek, the release of VirtualBox 1.5.0 for Windows and Linux marks the first time seamless windowing -- the ability to display a single Windows application on a Linux desktop -- is available for Linux systems.

Hasenmueller notes that the new upgrade includes serial port and Windows 64-bit host support, and supports IBM OS/2 Warp as a guest operating system. VirtualBox 1.5.0 now also includes a standards-compliant Intel PXE network boot agent, as well as several bugfixes and improvements to the GUI, as noted on the software's changelog.

Hassenmueller says that the changes and added features are significant enough to warrant an upgrade by all users, but acknowledges there are a few small kinks in the new update that still need to be worked out. "There are some minor issues that have slipped through our quality assurance process," he says. "Version 1.5.0 was a very significant update with hundreds of improvements which were done in just three months, so we did expect that once it became available, users would discover some issues. For example, some keyboard layouts (like Dvorak) do not work correctly on Linux, and there are other small annoyances." Innotek engineers are working on a maintenance release, however, and Hasenmueller says it will be available for download "soon."

VirtualBox is licensed under the GPL and is also available under a commercial license which, according to innotek, can still be used by companies free of charge in most cases. Hasenmueller says that while some proprietary virtualization software companies "package nearly identical software in a large number of different products ... VirtualBox is one package for multiple uses. Most downloads are, of course, by end users who will use it on their desktop, but our commercial customers use the software both on clients and servers. In addition, we also have a strong embedded business."

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