back to article Sun nabs innotek's 20MB of open source, virtualized goodness

Sun Microsystems has gone very granola by buying desktop virtualization software player innotek. (The small 'i' stands for big innovation or something like that.) Innotek pushes software called VirtualBox (less than 20MB) that lets developers run multiple operating systems and display them side-by-side on their screen. So, you …


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  1. Adam Williamson
    Thumb Down

    Oh, come on.

    Flipping hell, the Reg has really lost it. You honestly couldn't find someone who'd actually heard of VirtualBox to write this article?

    It's a reasonably popular product as it's a fairly mature, low-end-VMware-alike virtualization app that's actually open source. It's fairly widely used, I'm sure you could stop ten random techies at any given conference and at least a few of them would have heard of it.

    And I don't get the jibe at their website either. What, it's not overloaded with Flash and strewn with Strategy Boutique buzzwords, it's just a simple, well-laid out site that presents the product - what's the problem with that?

    Obviously the intended tone of this article was "ha ha, look at the cute little software package" but it comes off as rather more of "ha ha, look at the Reg, we're completely clueless".

  2. Alan Lukaszewicz


    Are there any virtualization people out there that have not been purchased by a big player?

  3. Robert Brockway

    Spot on Adam

    Adam Williamson is spot on. VirtualBox is a fairly well known tool among sysadmins.

    As for the website - it is fine. Website glitz is a poor metric for application performance.

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  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    <bill gates> we can do it bigger! 20GB of closed source virtualized goodness coming right up!

    The website tells a lot about a product

    If it's bare and basic and to the point then it means the software is likely to be pretty decent. If it's covered in flash and orientated more towards "look at what we can do in photoshop" rather than their product being good, chances are they had the same goals with the product

    DSL - basic plain website, Distro fits on a mini-CD (one of those little things that goes in the inner circle on the drive)

    Microsoft - flashy animations everywhere, Vista: comes on a friggin DVD

    you can't have fancy graphics and is fast and efficient at the same time, it's a trade off - and for something as performance critical as a virtual machine i know which I'd prefer to be the priority...

    cue comments about random 12 year old with his little VB program that takes 10 minutes to display "hello world" that has a crap website

    I use virtual machines for testing software on multiple operating systems as i develop it (err, of course I have licenses for all of them mr gates, must be in my other trousers...) and I currently use vmware, there is only one single reason for not switching to virtualbox, the lack of a tabbed window mode for multiple systems. That is it, everything else is equal or better than vmware and it seems to perform better, as well as being smaller and less bloated (plus being open source increases the chances of a small efficient fork if they ever decide to go with the bloat)

  7. Morely Dotes
    Thumb Up

    @ Robert Brockway

    "Website glitz is a poor metric for application performance"

    I must disagree. In my experience, website glitz is a reliable metric for application performance - but it's an inverse relationship. So, compare VirtualBox and Microsoft Windows. Which one has the glitzy website? Which one sucks? Oh, look, it's the same answer either way!

    Feel free to substitute Macromedia/Adobe, Norton, McAfee, or any "big name" software publishers for Microsoft Windows in the above comparison.

    As for the snide comments by the El Reg hack - well, what can you expect, really? Journalism 101 doesn't usually teach tech savvy, after all, and it's common among the illiterati (is there a semi-literati?) to deride that which they cannot grasp.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Well, good for them, but this is very bad for the eCS OS/2 community

    I am quite happy that had developed a product that a major player wants. I hope the principles and staff all make out well from this purchase.

    However, as someone who has been associated for many years with the community, this appears to be a sad day.

    Innotek was the innovator who was able to take the ODIN project (similar to WINE) to the level where it was practical on the OS/2 platform to run indivdual programs written for windows on OS/2-eCS.

    Innotek was who brought font anti-aliasing to OS/2 eCS

    Innotek brought JAVA, FLASH, and Acrobat to the OS/2 - eCS versions of Firefox and the desktop.

    Innotek brought Open Office to OS/2 -eCS to the OS/2 community.

    Without Innotek it certainly would have been truly over for those of us who still maintain IBM's object oriented desktop OS.

    It now fully lies on the work of to continue OS/2's development and ability to continue to be valid alternate desktop.

    All the products that have promised in the past 7 years to give us virtualization on OS/2 have been bought out. First Connetix's VirtualPC (which released a product that worked well, but never updated), then the contractors who did SVista stopped doing the planned OS/2 version, and now Innotek's VirtualBox....maybe we'll still be able to use some of the opensource....

    Good Luck to everyone at Innotek! - Stan S.

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  10. Nexox Enigma

    And just as they were getting good...

    I've been using VirtualBox for a while, and its just gotten pretty decent. I hope Sun doesn't destroy it too hard.

    As for virtualization tools that haven't been bought by megacorps... Qemu probably hasn't, and I think Xen is still owned by themselves. Then again these things are going fast, so who knows what has changed since I last checked?

  11. Kevin Hutchinson

    Obviously an OpenSolaris play

    This is obviously a way for Sun to get techies to download, run and learn OpenSolaris - coz there's NO WAY I'd ever sacrifice Mac OS X as my host for anything less. Later on, it might become a way for Sun to offer app-hosting, by uploading your VMs to their cloud a la Amazon? Who knows...

  12. Dunstan Vavasour
    Dead Vulture


    If, as previously reported in el Reg, Sun have more appliance like versions of Solaris in the offing, this acquisition means that they can distribute both the virtualisation software and a canned appliance OS image.

    So the "suck it and see" barrier is as low as a free download, and you don't need to have hardware available, just a few gig in any old Windows box: once you've taken it through its paces, you can then look to get a real appliance for a proper workload.

    My worry, as ever with Sun, is that they will place all this technology out cafeteria style, and forget "The Chef Recommends" to help people through it all.

    BTW, I quite agree, Ashlee's usually fun and robust style was a bit off the mark here. Everybody has off days - so lets just move on.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Good web site, good app

    What's the author on about? I wish more web sites were like that.

    I've been a heavy VMWare user for a while but have only tried it out of interest a couple of weeks ago. Pretty much as good as VMWare and I would agree it is faster. I hope Sun look after it well since it shows a lot of promise.

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