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

Michael Thayer michael.thayer at oracle.com
Fri Jun 16 09:46:01 GMT 2017

Hello Gianfranco,

15.06.2017 21:57, Gianfranco Costamagna wrote:
[Discussion of Additions updates in relation to Ubuntu kernel updates.]
>>From my point of view it would maked  most sense to always track the most
>> recent stable release.  4.1.44 for example is long out of support, and
>> we try to make sure that any supported Additions version will work with
>> any supported version of VirtualBox, so 5.1 Additions should work with
>> VirtualBox 5.0.  We do not test this extensively, but we would take bug
>> reports against it (I don't think there has ever been one).  And of
>> course, there is no logical requirement for you to package the same
>> version (even major version) of VirtualBox, the main (host) software and
>> of the Guest Additions.  Whether that makes sense from a Debian/Ubuntu
>> policy point of view is another question of course.
> switching qt to 5, python to 3, new dependencies, and so on (old toolchains and a lot
> of untested environments...) no please :p
> I prefer to ask people to update to a new Ubuntu release or use my ppa (where I backport
> the latest and greatest one)

You do not need this to build the Additions.  Our 32 and 64-bit
Additions installers are build using respectively CentOS 3.9 and Debian
4.0 and should not need any dependencies not available in those
distributions.  However I do not know if our configure script has an
"additions only" option.  I will take a look and see if I can add it for
an upcoming release.

> except for Ubuntu Precise that has 4.1.x (released 5 years ago and now EOL, so I can't update
> it anymore since the archive is closed and dead already), every supported Ubuntu release
> has the latest 4.3.x, 5.0.x or 5.1.x and they seems to be still maintained all of them)
> I might bump 4.3.36 to 4.3.40, but seems not worth the effort :)
> 5.0 and 5.1 seems to fit for now your release schedule, even if they might reach an EOL
> point in the near future :/
>> And while we are on the subject, is it worth looking at things that we
>> (the team at Oracle) could do to make the Additions easier to package?
>> That also extends to the main software to some extent, as our Linux
>> packaging is one of the too many things I am involved in.
> I don't know, an upstream build system might be nice to have.
> For now we have two guest-packages

As in one which produces .deb packages?  If not, what did you have in mind?

> the virtualbox-guest-{utils,dkms,x11} that are built on top of the virtualbox source code
> and the virtualbox-guest-additions-iso that is your iso image bit-bit identical and downloaded
> from the download repository.
> If you mean the iso file, I don't see how can you improve my build process, since I just
> copy-paste it into the correct directory :)
> so, to sum up, can we define some pseudo code to make a backward compatible change for this issue?
> e.g.
> if your-file-exist then
> exit and not install the guest-* stuff
> maybe print an error message quoting some "uninstall official guest stuff guide"
> if your-file-doesn't-exist then
> I don't know if an older version is installed or not, so install it anyway


> install *always* the guest-additions-iso iso file, because the script called for installation is
> already completely under your control.


> under your script:
> if no script exists, install
> if dpkg -l returns an ubuntu installation then ask to remove it and exit

I would prefer this to be: if /usr/sbin/vbox-uninstall-guest-additions
exists, execute it, and only install if it exits successfully.
Otherwise we have to execute dpkg -l, rpm whatever, pacman whatever,
emerge whatever, and many more that I do not know.  Since you do not
wish to uninstall the Additions packages automatically, your
/usr/sbin/vbox-uninstall-guest-additions would print a message like "You
can uninstall the distribition version of the Guest Additions by
executing apt-get remove ..." and exit with exit code 2.  If you ever
reach a point where you know you are tracking the most recent Additions
(including moving to the next major release when it is available and
declared stable enough) then your
/usr/sbin/vbox-uninstall-guest-additions would print nothing and return 1.


> dpkg -l *can't* return the guest-additions-iso installed, because installed in the host, not guest :p
> does this sounds right?
> from your perspective checking if the dpkg package is installed is easier, from my side some more tricky :)
> G.-- 
Michael Thayer | VirtualBox engineer
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