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

Michael Thayer michael.thayer at oracle.com
Thu Jun 15 09:01:11 GMT 2017

Hello Gianfranco,

14.06.2017 18:38, Gianfranco Costamagna wrote:
> Hi Michael
>> That is roughly what we had until recently, minus printing the exact
>> command.  Seamlessly switching would be a big usability plus though.  My
>> original idea was to make it possible to have two versions (distribution
>> and ours) installed at once, and set symbolic links in /usr/bin and
>> places to make the right one active.  Hans sensibly pointed out that
>> this is likely to be tricky and error-prone, and this was his
>> alternative suggestion.  Any thoughts?  So far, given that no one has
>> taken this up yet, there is still time to improve.
> Debian guest packages installs:
> guest-x11 the vboxOGL implementation (for 3d, with the alternative switch)
> guest-dkms the kernel modules
> guest-source the source module for custom builds (it generates a deb with m-a)
> guest-utils the mount/Service/Control files.
> stuff like the kernel modules is not easily backuppable, or movable because
> AFAIK there is no "alternative" for them.
> moving them around the fs will make just things worse and break depmod I think)

The kernel modules are not currently a problem - we use depmod's
override feature to give our ones priority over pre-installed ones.  We
had an additional option for handling this - relying on distributions to
provide up-to-date Additions.

Currently, our installation script aborts if
/usr/sbin/vbox-uninstall-guest-additions returns failure.  We could
slightly refine this, by splitting that into two exit codes: a code of
"1" to say that the distribution thinks it is providing up-to-date
Additions (which would probably involve checking an end-of-support date
for the Additions in the distribution), and "2" to tell the installer to
abort.  In both cases it would probably make sense to assume we have a
terminal and print a message - for instance, print instructions telling
the user how to uninstall the distribution Additions and return "2".

Any thoughts about that?  How realistic does it seem to you to keep the
Additions up-to-date in in-support Debian and Ubuntu releases?  Since
Debian and Ubuntu kernels have (if I am not mistaken) a module ABI which
is not broken in every kernel update it might make sense to package the
modules separately again and match them to the current kernel ABI.


> G.-- 
Michael Thayer | VirtualBox engineer
ORACLE Deutschland B.V. & Co. KG | Werkstr. 24 | D-71384 Weinstadt

ORACLE Deutschland B.V. & Co. KG
Hauptverwaltung: Riesstraße 25, D-80992 München
Registergericht: Amtsgericht München, HRA 95603

Komplementärin: ORACLE Deutschland Verwaltung B.V.
Hertogswetering 163/167, 3543 AS Utrecht, Niederlande Handelsregister
der Handelskammer Midden-Nederland, Nr. 30143697
Geschäftsführer: Alexander van der Ven, Jan Schultheiss, Val Maher

More information about the vbox-dev mailing list