[vbox-dev] open sourcing pci passthrough (was Re: utlizing the nvidia card of the host machine in the vm)

Klaus Espenlaub klaus.espenlaub at oracle.com
Mon Aug 18 17:10:41 UTC 2014


On 13.08.2014 00:22, Mario Lobo wrote:
> Klaus;
> Hijacking the topic a bit, what would be required (technically and
> "licensingly") to implement these basic pci passthrough
> functionalities on the ose source (freeBSD in particular), specially
> for using it on sound cards?

As you probably know there's currently a partially working PCI 
passthrough implementation available, for Linux host only. A part of the 
infrastructure and the Linux kernel part are open source, the rest is 
closed. It is only functional if the Oracle VM VirtualBox extension pack 
is installed containing the binaries of the closed portion.

So what you're asking for is either open sourcing the complete 
functionality or providing a fully functional extension pack for 
FreeBSD, and both options need convincing our management in some way or 
another. The first one is a rather tough task, because the closed source 
extension pack is currently the only way we have to make money. For some 
reason no one seems interested in paying for support for the GPLed 
product... everyone who can get away without the extension pack takes 
the free ride (and probably later creates tickets in the public bug 
tracker, complaining about loss of business). Creating an extension pack 
for FreeBSD would similarly increase our effort/cost (and imply fully 
supporting FreeBSD as a host), without an immediately obvious way to 
compensate this by increased sales.

The licensing question is simply a non-issue.

This leaves only the technical aspects. In principle only the kernel 
module portion of the functionality needs porting to FreeBSD. This is 
something the FreeBSD community could investigate/implement. Everything 
else should be portable code, with at most very minor need of platform 
dependent tweaks.

Overall - doable, but I'm skeptical that either of the two options for 
"closing the gap" will be greeted with enthusiasm by the necessary people.

> Thanks,
> P.S. - Sorry for top-posting but it seems to be the trend on this list.

Not so sure :)


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