Tuesday, March 19, 2013

New in Boxes 3.8

We just rolled out Boxes 3.7.92 and have now entered code freeze. This means that apart from translations and doc updates, Boxes is ready for the stable 3.8 release (due next Monday). So whats new you ask? Since Boxes 3.6, we have been hard at work, making Boxes an app that is so awesome that it makes you want to use virtual machines if you are not already. :) Boxes is now a lot more reliable, has improved and more impressive UI and has cool new features:

  • Add USB redirection support in new VMs and option to add it into existing VMs. i-e You can use your USB devices (camera, flash drive etc) plugged into host from the guest operating system.

  • Smartcard support. This means if you have an appropriate reader device, you can use that to read information from your smart cards (credit/bank cards etc) from your virtual machine boxes.
  • Automatically download and installation of all virtio and QXL drivers, and spice-vdagent as part of Windows XP and Windows 7 express installation. This means following working out of the box:
    • Copy&paste between host and VM.
    • Guest resolution automatically adjusted to fit the Boxes window.
    • Very efficient disk I/O (helps in reducing installation time e.g).
    Here is a screencast of Windows XP with QXL in action.
  • oVirt support. This means you can now access all your virtual machines running on a (most likely remote) oVirt broker from Boxes by simply providing it's URL. Christophe blogged about it last year.
  • Improved selection view:
    • Option to pause VMs.
    • Options to select all, none and running boxes.
    • Allow accessing properties for non-running VMs.
    Here is a screencast of new selection view in action.
  • Allow tweaking properties for remote machines in the wizard.
  • UI looks a lot more like UI mockups and more consistent with Documents.
  • Add initial experience greeting. As a consequence, we don't auto-launch wizard on first time usage anymore.

    Please ignore the notification about box deletion. You don't get that on first use, I promise!

  • Support for changing the CD-ROM device/ISO from properties. You can see this option in  the screenshot above along with USB redirection options.
  • Selecting item when maximized automatically enters fullscreen view. You see this in action in the QXL demo screencast I pointed to above.
  • Mark recommended RAM and storage of guest OS (when known) in properties.

  • Allow search with multiple terms. A search like "foo bar" now means name containing "foo" and "bar". This is nicer, and what you expect from e.g. gnome-shell search.
  • Allow drag to unfullscreen Boxes.
  • Troubleshooting log viewer to system properties.
  • For Developers:
    • We now make use of libosinfo for express/automated installations. Support for new OSes/distros can be added through libosinfo. No Vala or C hacking needed, only XSL/XML.
  • Loads of other fixes and minor improvements. For more details: http://git.gnome.org/browse/gnome-boxes/tree/NEWS 

Hope you like love Boxes 3.8!


antistress said...

Hi, i tried Boxes 3.6.2 on Debian Sid since i wanted to run Windows XP :
1° only a file can be selected, not the original CD-ROM. I had to create an ISO file [1] which is a severe limitation.
2° i was never able to valid the licence number and got that message "(gnome-boxes:10674): Boxes-WARNING **: wizard.vala:357: Failed to create storage pool: invalid connection pointer in virStoragePoolDefineXML"

Very disappointed, specially since Boxes looks great and simple to use :-/

[1] sudo dd if=/dev/sr0 of=file.iso bs=2048 conv=notrunc

antistress said...

Also, does Boxes handles Firewire ? Thanks

jimmac said...

Great screenshot for USB redirection ;)

stuaxo said...

Will it show the existing VMs I already have, without importing. (E.G. I have a bunch already setup that show up in virtualbox + can view them with this extension:



Anonymous said...

Awesome! Just, awesome !!!
I have waited usb redirection and "copy&paste between host and VM" for a while :D
Smartcard support will be very helpful for me too.

Thank you for your work :)

eyome said...

Awesome! Just, awesome !!!
I have waited usb redirection and "copy&paste between host and VM" for a while :D
Smartcard support will be very helpful for me too.

Thank you for your work :)

zeenix said...


1. CDROM should appear in UI with libosinfo's udev rule properly installed. You might have to install an additional package on Debian (at least in ubuntu you have to). In coming releases of libosinfo/udev, you won't need that anymore.

Besides you can choose /dev/sr0 as the file. You'll need permission to CDROM device though.

2. About the 2nd issue, try 'virsh pool-destroy gnome-boxes && virsh pool-undefine gnome-boxes'. If that doesn't help, please file a bug (though its a bit too late for 3.6 as 3.8 is about to be released and 3.6 will be unmaintained after that).

zeenix said...

antistress, No firewall support, sorry!

stuaxo, If virtual box uses libvirt. Yes. If it uses session libvirt (per-user), Boxes will show them out of the box. If it uses system libvirt, you'll need to add the connection yourself. There has been a long standing bug about it: https://bugzilla.gnome.org/show_bug.cgi?id=666185

Although we now know what exactly we need to do about it but suffice is to say that we wont be able to fix this in 3.8 cycle.

antistress said...


Thanks for your answers

1°) I tried "virsh pool-destroy gnome-boxes && virsh pool-undefine gnome-boxes" and got :
"error: Failed to reconnect to the hypervisor
error: no valid connection
error: Failed to connect socket to '/var/run/libvirt/libvirt-sock': Connexion refusée"

I'll try again later when Boxes 3.8 will be available in Debian experimental

2°) i meant Firewire aka IEEE 1394 or i.LINK. Is it supported within Boxes ?

zeenix said...

1. Did you run that command as root? Boxes is supposed to run as normal user and it connects to session libvirt. If you ran it as normal user, libvirt installation is likely broken on your machine/distro and 3.8 won't fix that. :(

2. We don't have any special support for firewire. If it works out of the box with libvirt + qemu then it should just work in Boxes too.

antistress said...

@zeenix: i tried both as user and root with the same result :-/ I will try again once v3.8 will be in Debian experimental and if it still doesn't work i will write a bug report. Thanks

zeenix said...

antistress, Great. If you get the same error from virsh, please file the bug on Debian.

Crixer13 said...

So beautiful UI, GNOME is my preferred desktops since i had 9 years old.

Also i wan't to know if these widgets specially the sidebar are available for Gtkmm and Glade. Thanks.

zeenix said...

Crixer13, From glade? no. These are not really widgets but mix of Clutter actors and Gtk widgets to get the animations possible.

acronym said...

Amazing ! This is cool!

Vernell said...

This is cool!

antistress said...

@zeenix : Ok, i've finally managaed to try Boxes 3.8 from Debian repositories and all my problems vanished :)
Very very very nice peace of software, I'm very impressed by its easeasiness : that's viurtualisation for children :)

antistress said...

Hi again. I'm running Debian Sid 64 bits with Boxes 3.8.4.

Using a USB flash drive, it shows up on my GNU/Linux Host system but not on my Windows XP SP3 Guest system.

However, in Boxes, "Redirect new USB" is ON, like my USB flash drive (which is listed under the "USB Devices" section)

With Windows, I can't see it by clicking the icon in notification area which shows USB devices that can be deactivated nor by displaying the "My Computer" window.

(Next step I'd like to use Boxes to update maps on my GPS device but its dedicated software requires Windows)

antistress said...

I get this error in Terminal, could this be related ?
(gnome-boxes:16654): GSpice-WARNING **: Warning no automount-inhibiting implementation available

Tell me I have to report the bug thanks

antistress said...

(I've filled Bug 723188)