Oracle is proud to give us the first release candidate of VirtualBox 5.1 last week. The most important revisions for the open source software application are under the hood, and they are all adding up to a way better experience overall.
Also, there hasn’t been a major overhaul of the VirtualBox User Experience.
All of the user experiences in the client, such as the main machine manager, or the virtual machine manager, have the same basic layouts and behaviors. This means that there is nothing to relearn. A few Windows 10 behaviors don’t yet seem to be working properly. If you try snapping a running virtual machine window with the Windows Key-Arrow key combinations, the window either doesn’t snap or behaves weirdly.
Some of the most important changes are improvements that speed up performances across the board. The APIC and I/O APIC subsystems, which govern system interrupts and allow the use of multiple virtual CPUs in VirtualBox, have been overhauled.
This will yield significantly improved performance in certain situations such as networking.
The Windows user are the true winners of this update to VirtualBox in other areas as well. It supports Hyper-V para-virtualization debugging on guest instances. This means that they can be debugged from the host using the WinDgb Tools. The people who are developing kernel-level drivers for Windows can now test them out in VirtualBox and have access to the debugging tools normally available to running Windows on a physical box.
Another update isn’t so much reflective of VirtualBox itself as it is the world and community around it. Previous editions of VirtualBox has APIs to support the automation of the application through C++, Java, and Python. This release has better support for Python 3.
As a lot of people now, VirtualBox is a free open source alternative to VMware Workstation. Because the fact that it is open source, it’s been used in other projects and products that need virtualization in some form or anything. An example of this is Desktop Tools for Docker — they have relied on it for some time now. The latest changes are good for both users and developers; they give the former a more stable and usable product, and the latter a greater advantage in building new applications.