Putting Oracle's VirtualBox to the test

By Mark Gibbs, Network World |  Virtualization

A few weeks ago I wrote about trying to get an old computer game, "Star Wars Episode I: Racer" published by Lucas Arts back in the 1990's, running in a virtual machine under VMware Fusion on my iMac.

Come to find out that VMware doesn't support the requirements for running this game, to wit, Windows 98SE with DirectX 6.1 and 3D acceleration. So I tried to get Racer to run under Oracle's VirtualBox.

Originally developed by Sun before the company was acquired by Oracle, VirtualBox is now a free, open source (GNU General Public License, version 2), x86 and x86-64 virtualization system.

VirtualBox is available for Windows, Linux, OS X and Solaris and supports a large number of "guest" operating systems, including Windows (NT 4.0, 2000, XP, Server 2003, Vista, Windows 7), DOS/Windows 3.x, Linux (2.4 and 2.6), Solaris and OpenSolaris, OS/2, and OpenBSD (you can find a more extensive list on the VirtualBox Web site).

Installing VirtualBox -- 4.0.8 is the current version -- was straightforward and getting Windows 98 SE Professional set up in a VM was just as easy. I then installed Racer and . . . thud. No joy.

The DirectX diagnostic tool, DXDIAG, reported that Direct 3D worked fine (and the spinning cube appeared) but despite VirtualBox claiming 3D video acceleration was enabled, DXIAG said it wasn't and thus my hopes of running "Racer" were cruelly dashed to the virtual ground. It looks like the only way I'll be able to play Racer is to find an old standalone machine that will run Windows XP.

So, what about VirtualBox itself? What can I say but wow! Way cool.

I've run a number of OSs under VirtualBox, including various flavors of Linux and Windows, and the performance and stability appear to be excellent.

I'm just setting up to test VirtualBox's "teleporting", the equivalent of VMware's VMotion.


Originally published on Network World |  Click here to read the original story.
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