[vbox-dev] Co-existence of distribution-installed Guest Additions and Oracle-provided ones

Michael Thayer michael.thayer at oracle.com
Wed Jun 14 12:04:15 GMT 2017

Hello Gianfranco,

14.06.2017 12:46, Gianfranco Costamagna wrote:
> Hello,
>> Hello all (especially distribution package maintainers),
>> Hans de Goede from Redhat suggested a nice simple solution for stopping 
>> our Additions and distribution Additions packages from treading on each 
>> other's feet: a well-known file - 
>> /usr/sbin/vbox-uninstall-guest-additions - which can be executed to 
>> uninstall the currently installed Additions, say by executing "dnf 
>> remove virtualbox-guest-additions" or whatever is appropriate.  This is 
>> implemented in our Additions as of public svn r66387[1] and should be in 
>> any future 5.1 series Additions too.  It would be great if distribution 
>> packages could also add this.  It does not need to remove kernel modules 
>> which are part of a distribution kernel package as long as they are not 
>> in a location which clashes with ours (ours live in 
>> /lib/modules/<version/misc).
>> [1] https://www.virtualbox.org/changeset/66387/vbox/trunk
> so, if I read correctly, before installing our guest-stuff we should check if
> that file is available, and blindly call it?
> I'm not sure about the consequences of this, e.g. should I replace that file
> at the end, so you do the same when the Debian version is installed?
> Should I also check the content of the file, to undestand if that
> file is owned by a previous version of the packaged guest- tool?
> I mean, in upgrades that file will be always available, because AFAIU I have to
> provide it to you too.
> I'm not confortable in implementing such a change without having a clear and common
> way of doing it.
> I see lots of corner cases that will probably make things worse if not correctly implemented.
> I have to admit, I mostly never received bug reports because of such issue, so I would like
> to be really sure about such changes (and I usually update virtualbox to stable Debian/Ubuntu releases
> too, so I have to triple check each change for stability).
> Has any other packager already implemented such a solution?

I am not aware of anyone other than us having implemented this yet.  I
seem to recall that we discussed this on IRC and came to the conclusion
that you could simply refuse to install if that file was found.  I
wonder whether dpkg will even allow you to install a package which
overwrites a file already on the system, assuming you create it too?
The last would be very welcome of course.  Does that sound reasonable?


> thanks, and sorry for the late answer,
> Gianfranco
> (Debian and Ubuntu vbox maintainer)

Michael Thayer | VirtualBox engineer
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