[RFC] merging virtualbox-ose-modules into linux-ubuntu-modules

Tim Gardner tim.gardner at canonical.com
Wed Jun 4 16:03:31 UTC 2008

I agree with Mario. DKMS is gaining traction with Intrepid wherein it
will be used to distribute ATI and nVidia graphics drivers, e.g., they
are no longer packaged in LRM. I see no reason why the virtualbox
package couldn't do the same. In fact, you should do it for Hardy since
the ABI _will_ change again. -19.33 will be in -proposed by tomorrow. It
seems that each round of CVE updates also forces an ABI bump.


Mario Limonciello wrote:
> Hi Jeff:
> Actually as per my understanding, Sun is already enabling DKMS on the modules 
> from their closed source latest version (1.6).  I would think it makes most 
> sense to follow suit and enable these modules via DKMS in Ubuntu too on the OSE.
> This is then significantly less work for the kernel maintainers to have to watch 
> over, and instead any MOTU can touch them and fix bugs.
> Regards,
> Jeff Schroeder wrote:
>> Since the earlier part of the Hardy development cycle after virtualbox
>> was put in the repositories there has been
>> nothing but trouble with it. This leaves users of virtualbox with a
>> very bad taste in their mouth. It has even caused
>> some to switch away from Ubuntu as their host OS when using virtualbox
>> to virtualize other operating systems.
>> On every single kernel upgrade, there are problems for virtualbox
>> users. The reason is because the virtualbox
>> modules are kernel specific and live in universe. A kernel SRU comes
>> in and the SRU team uploads the new
>> package. The system sees an update, downloads, and installs the new
>> kernel. This in turn creates a new
>> /lib/modules/$kernel_ver directory. modprobe looks in this directory
>> for the vboxdrv module, but that module
>> is in /lib/modules/$old_kernel_ver so it bails out.
>> Short of an ABI bump,  the vboxdrv module seems to load fine if
>> manually inserted with insmod. However,
>> this is not an option for "new" linux users. It also seems
>> unacceptable for virtualbox to break after every single
>> kernel upgrade
>> There seem to only be 3 sane approaches to fix this issue:
>> - Move virtualbox-ose-modules over to dkms
>> - Merge virtualbox-ose-modules into linux-ubuntu-modules and the
>> problem goes away transparently
>> - Put big warnings everywhere that say Ubuntu doesn't treat Sun
>> VirtualBox as a first class citezen and it should not be used
>> Does anyone care about VirtualBox or is it an afterthought? This is
>> meant to be a constructive rant.
>> jeff at omniscience:~$ uname -r
>> 2.6.24-18-generic
>> jeff at omniscience:~$ apt-cache search virtualbox-ose-modules | grep generic
>> virtualbox-ose-modules-2.6.24-16-generic - virtualbox-ose module for
>> linux-image-2.6.24-16-generic
>> virtualbox-ose-modules-generic - virtualbox-ose module for linux-image-generic
>> virtualbox-ose-modules-2.6.24-17-generic - virtualbox-ose module for
>> linux-image-2.6.24-17-generic
> -- 
> Mario Limonciello
> *Dell | Linux Engineering*
> mario_limonciello at dell.com

Tim Gardner tim.gardner at ubuntu.com

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