VirtualBox Gets 3D Acceleration For Linux Guests
Written by Michael Larabel in Virtualization on 18 March 2009 at 08:23 AM EDT. 25 Comments
VirtualBox, the popular virtualization software platform owned by Sun Microsystems (though Sun may soon be owned by IBM), has been reaching a number of 3D milestones in the past few months. Back in December, Sun had introduced OpenGL acceleration for Windows guests through a modified OpenGL driver for the XP/Vista virtualized operating systems that would then execute the OpenGL calls through the host operating system and its driver/hardware. A month later that support was extended to include Direct3D acceleration on guest operating systems (well, just Windows operating systems for DirectX) through a modified driver and using part of WINE to translate the Direct3D calls into OpenGL. Sun Microsystems has just released the first beta for VirtualBox 2.2 and it includes more 3D work as well. This time, virtualized Linux guests now have OpenGL 3D acceleration support!

Linux guests under VirtualBox 2.2 and later can now have OpenGL acceleration support, permitting they are running a modified driver stack. Also introduced in VirtualBox 2.2 Beta 1 was OVF (Open Virtualization Format) appliance import and export, Hypervisor optimizations for improved performance, Intel VT-x and AMD-V are enabled by default on new virtual machines, and experimental USB support for Solaris hosts. This release also has experimental support for Mac OS X 10.6 "Snow Leopard" host operating systems.

The complete change-log and release announcement can be read on the VirtualBox mailing list.

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Michael Larabel is the principal author of and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via

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