VirtualBox, the open source virtualization system originally created by Sun and now under Oracle’s stewardship, has released its first revision to the left of the decimal point in nearly five years.
Don’t expect anything truly revolutionary, though, judging from the release notes for and the behavior of the beta itself. With this release, VirtualBox picks up a bit more polish, both visually and technologically, but its main advantage over VMware remains with its offer of a free incarnation of many of the same core features.
The last major version of VirtualBox 4.0 was released in December 2010, and it delivered a heavily reworked version of the program with a new GUI, new virtual hardware, and a reorganized project design. But the pace of major releases for the project was slow, with the last major release (version 4.3) arriving in late 2013. Everything since then has been officially designated as a “maintenance” release.