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11 July 2011, 09:52

VirtualBox 4.1 Beta 2 gains PCI passthrough support

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VirtualBox Logo The VirtualBox development team has released a second beta of version 4.1.0 of its open source desktop virtualisation application for x86 hardware. The latest development preview brings a number of changes over the previous beta, including fixes to the experimental WDDM (Windows Display Driver Model) graphics driver support for Windows guests that was added in Beta 1.

VirtualBox 4.1 Beta 2 sees the addition of experimental PCI passthrough support for Linux hosts, which allows the Guest OS (VirtualMachine) to 'passthrough' the hypervisor and directly access physical hardware, such as a PCI ethernet card, improving overall performance. Other changes include showing the CPU cap in the VM details page, better out-of-memory error reporting, updates to the Linux and Windows installers, and fixes for USB 2.0 support for non-official builds, as well as a fix for a regression which prevented certain guests from booting. A possible data corruption related to Virtual Hard Disk (VHD) and Parallels images has also been corrected.

According to Oracle's Frank Mehnert, the preview of the next major update to VirtualBox is considered to be a "bleeding-edge release meant for early evaluation and testing purposes". The developers ask users testing the release not to report issues to the VirtualBox Bugtracker, but instead to provide feedback about any problems they find via the VirtualBox Beta Feedback forum.

More details about the beta release can be found in a post on the forums and in the mailing list announcement. The second beta for VirtualBox 4.1 is available to download for Windows, Mac OS X, Linux and Solaris from the project's web site.

Both the base Oracle VM VirtualBox product source code and the binary are licensed under the GPLv2, while the Extension Pack mechanism, which allows third-party sources to add their own add-on functionality, is licensed under the PUEL. The latest stable release is version 4.0.10, a maintenance update to the 4.0.x branch from the end of June.

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