Opened 11 years ago

Last modified 4 years ago

#11211 new enhancement

Feature request: add auto update functionality

Reported by: dink Owned by:
Component: other Version: VirtualBox 4.2.4
Keywords: update, updating, usability Cc:
Guest type: other Host type: Mac OS X


Downloading an new version every time you need to update isn't very user-friendly. Please add an auto-update function (on Mac – don't know about Windows), this would save a lot of people a little bit of time, which in the end is a lot of time ;-).

Change History (8)

comment:1 by Frank Mehnert, 11 years ago

Yes, I believe that :) We will consider to implement this feature but it's a lot of work.

comment:2 by CHaos, 10 years ago

Seriously, please add this feature! I don't know how you maintain the different versions but for OS X there is which is really cool.

A lot of applications use this framework. I mean really, A LOT (even big and paid applications). And even the smallest applications I have (and I have a lot of little helper applications) do have an autoupdate functioanlity so it can't be that hard (nobody would put more effort in autoupdate than in the application itself so it really can't be that hard).

I update the application like once a year because it's just ridiculous. I love and respect your work but the registration for this page just to leave this comment raged me quite a bit.

Anyways, please add this feature.


comment:3 by aeichner, 10 years ago

Sure, if it is that easy why don't you just contribute a patch? Seriously, VirtualBox is not like most other applications. For instance it requires kernel drivers to work and I don't know if sparkle can handle updating them because it must make sure that no service is accessing them. Btw. the website you link to points to a code repository with a warning that the fork is not actively maintained. Wouldn't be a very smart move to use a dead project let alone the legal difficulties to use 3rd party code. I agree that the way how updates work currently is not very user friendly but I hope I made it clear that it is not as easy as it might appear first and without someone paying for this feature it will only have a low priority.

comment:4 by pvinis, 9 years ago

it is still active, and used by many, including our app.

comment:5 by Jeremy™, 8 years ago

I would love to see this feature too. Even if it was an applescript which takes the actions we take when manually installing an update.

comment:6 by abhibeckert, 7 years ago

I use Sparkle for my own projects and don't think it is the correct approach here.

I believe this is the correct approach:

  • After the existing functionality to notify users of a new update;
  • Download the latest release, with a progress bar
  • Mount the dmg using hdiutil attach -nobrowse
  • use pkgutil --check-signature to assert the installer was signed by Oracle and Apple's Root CA
  • After asking the user for confirmation, suspend all running virtual machines
  • Use Authorization Services to escalate privileges (this will prompt for admin username/password)
  • launch a command line tool with elevated privileges and exit the gui app.
  • The tool will use installer (Apple's CLI interface for working with pkg files), to install the pkg with no user interaction
  • then unmount/delete the dmg file, and launch the newly installed GUI app

comment:7 by Socratis, 7 years ago

I completely disagree with the auto-update idea. For several reasons:

  • VirtualBox is not a simple text editor like TextWrangler, or even a complex text editor like LibreOffice.
  • VirtualBox is one of the few programs out there (%-wise) that install kernel extensions. I really can't think of a program with those characteristics that auto-updates.
  • Suspending the VMs and updating VirtualBox, is one of the well known issues that cause a saved state restore to fail. For good reasons actually.
  • The proposed solutions are for OSX only. You'll need to think in more than one platform; Windows, Solaris and several Linux distributions included.
  • The amount of developer time needed to enable and test something like that is definitely not worth the added gain, IMHO.
  • It takes literally 40 seconds to do a fresh install, 60 seconds to do a complete uninstall followed by an install. Every two months. At most.

comment:8 by wesswei, 4 years ago

I completely agree with an auto-update idea, or rather a mechanism to complete an update and/or auto-update itself.

Most apps on Mac (and even Linux and Windows) have a way to complete the update transaction that doesn't require so many steps as update button > download link > open page > click correct distribution/binary > download > open > run installer > complete

Most apps would have both, an option to auto-update as well as the mechanism to apply a known update. It's more of the latter that I think would truly be appreciated to developers using VirtualBox.

Many of us have resorted to using third-party systems on mac like Homebrew, which are managed by individual contributors unaffiliated with Oracle/Virtualbox.

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