FLOSS Weekly 130

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FLOSS Weekly
Episode 130

Guest(s)

  • Andy Hall

Andy is the Product Manager for Oracle VM VirtualBox and an all round good-egg. He has been mixed up with the VirtualBox team since the acquisition of innotek GmbH, by Sun Microsystems in Feb 2008. His only redeeming feature seems to be his relationship with the well-known industrial figure, the Fat Bloke.


  • Achim Hasenmuller

Achim was the founder and former CEO of innotek GmbH, the original creators of VirtualBox. He continues to drive the team onwards and upwards as the Engineering Director for Oracle VM VirtualBox. A keen pilot, Achim can often be seen terrorizing wildlife in the skies above Stuttgart, Germany.

Topics

  • Where does virtual box fit in the virtualization world? It is a hypervisor that you can install within another operating system (similar to VMware workstation), not run that runs on the bare metal (like Xen).
  • Most of the team worked with Connextix (on VirtualPC) before it was bought by Microsoft.
  • Oracle Acquisition - Initial message down from leadership was that they would support virtual box, normal business ever since.
  • Oracle employs ~25 people...there are others in the community who work full/most time on it, mostly on ancillary components.
    • Random people make stuff using the APIs....one person came up with a complete PHP framework for VM management before the core team ever heard about it.
  • How do VMs work with the architecture? On non x86 platforms, everything has to be translated to x86...on x86, only some stuff has to. They hypervisor takes care of jumping between the main OS and the VMs. Also with the new processor extensions, the processor takes over some of this and can make it faster.
  • Do you support using GPUs? No running native drivers, but the virtual box graphics driver can tunnel some OpenGL/Direct3D commands to the host graphics card. A long way from having actual virtualization of the GPU.
  • Can you upload virtual box VMs to a cloud provider? Not really....there's no real standard for supporting that. However, there is an un-documented feature in virtual box that allows uploads to amazon EC2.
  • What's live-migration? Who cares...virtual box uses teleportation...takes a VM running on one computer and send it to another computer over tcp/ip, and the computer doesn't have to match hardware.
  • Page-fusion: allows multiple VMs to use parts of memory that are identical. More VMs in less memory!
  • New multi-media capabilities coming in the future.
  • Supports virtualizing Mac OSX...but there's a problem in that there isn't apple branded hardware, so it just passes it through, works on apple hardware, but not on non-apple hardware.

External Links

The community site is VirtualBox.org, and like VirtualBox itself, is deceptively simple. To get up to speed on the latest release you could watch last week's webinar replay, or a few of the movies on YouTube TheFatBloke007.

Questions from the audience

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Production Information

  • Edited by: Erik
  • Notes:
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