Disappointed with VirtualBox development

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Disappointed with VirtualBox development

Postby Nazgulled » 17. Jun 2009, 18:15

Hi,

I just saw the announcement for VirtualBox 3 and I got very disappointed with it's development. Don't get me wrong, VirtualBox it's a great a product and I'm grateful for such a product being free and I mean no disrespect but...

There still a few bugs that should be fixed which are more important than to add features as experimental DirectX support, for instance, I still have problems with copy/paste (#3211), I don't know if this is the proper trac item but it's the one I could find more related to the problem) between guest and host and this is a crucial problem in software like this that should have a higher priority. Another one is that shared folders are incompatible with Gedit in Linux (#2553). I'm sure there are many others, these two are the ones that I've been tracking...

Then, where's drag and drop support between guest and host? Why is such a feature missing from software like this? It's another thing that should have a higher priority... A better snapshot manager is long due too...

I understand that this software is open-source and all that, that makes it different from VirtualPC or VMware which have big companies behind the whole thing (but we do have Sun to an extent to don't we?) but it still bothers me to see lots and lots of blogs post saying how great VirtualBox really is but it still looses to the likes of VMware because of X and Y and yet, I see nothing being done in that regard. And I'm talking about really important features/bugs in this type of software. Sure, 3D acceleration is important, but not that important if the whole software doesn't do (correctly, without bugs) the basic stuff virtual machine software should do.

And what bothers me the most is that I haven't got one single reply from any VirtualBox developer in a bunch of trac items I created a week or so a go. Really, why have a trac system if you don't bother to use it properly? Also, when I post something on forums, I barely got any response and the ones I got, I don't even know if it's from the devs or not. I know it's free software, but we are still costumers right? We are the ones that use the software right? All I'm saying is that a little more feedback would be nice that's all, specially in the trac system...

I'm gonna be honest with you guys, I've always been a fan of VMware and always used it but a few months ago, it started giving me a huge problem where I had to stop using it and so my only other choice was VirtualBox. It's a nice piece of software but it still lacks lots of important and tiny little features that VMware has that every time I use it, I still miss them from VMware. Overall, VMware just worked better... All I'm saying is that when Windows 7 comes out I'm going to give VMware another spin to see if it doesn't give me problems I had in the past. And if it doesn't, I'll be moving from VirtualBox back to VMware cause I just can't handle a product like this. I have to handle it right now cause I have no choice and I really need it, but if I do have a choice, VMware is the way to go for me.

I'm not saying this to make you feel bad or anything, I'm sure you don't really care if I stop using one over the other, someone else will stop using VMware over VirtualBox and the cycle goes on... I'm saying this because I like VirtualBox, it has potential and I really would like to see it more well developed. I really like it enough to want to use it over VMware, but I can't do that unless bugs are fixed and important tiny features are added to make the overall user experience in virtual machines better. For now, I don't have a choice and I'll have to stick with VirtualBox until I can run VMware again on my machine. But I wish I could say that I use VirtualBox over VMware because it's better and because I like better, at the moment, I can't say that.

Rant over!

Please note that I'm just stating my own opinion and not trying to sound harsh or unappreciated, if I did, I'm sorry but that was not the intention. English is not my mother tongue and I have some difficulties expressing myself correctly some times and I apologize for that.
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Re: Disappointed with VirtualBox development

Postby Obi_Wan » 17. Jun 2009, 18:21

I would really really really like to see proper compatibility with audio cds otherwise I currently don't know why I should use virtualbox :(
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Re: Disappointed with VirtualBox development

Postby MrX1980 » 17. Jun 2009, 22:33

Nazgulled wrote:There still a few bugs that should be fixed which are more important than to add features as experimental DirectX support, for instance,...


I agree to it.
From v.2.2.4 to v.3.0.0 is a very big jump.
And with over 1600 open Bugreports it is time (after the 3.0 release) to concentrate on bugfixing.
With new features only new bugs are present.

Sadly I can't help you on programming. I only can try to give you good feedback to find and fix the bugs shortly.

Thx,

Dirk From germany

(By the way, the tracker should be used for beta version too)
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Re: Disappointed with VirtualBox development

Postby nicorac » 17. Jun 2009, 23:15

Nazgulled wrote:I just saw the announcement for VirtualBox 3 and I got very disappointed with it's development.

I agree with you; I use VirtualBox too, and I love it being OpenSource.
When the announcement of 3.0 arrived I jumped down to read the new added features; moving to 3.0 means a great change to me. I was really sad reading that the only big change was an EXPERIMENTAL support to DirectX... WHAT? DirectWHAT? Do you really think the most of "virtualizers" are waiting for DirectX?
I virtualize servers and appliances, what should DirectX give to me? A bunch of new bugs :shock: .

Commercial software development is often driven by sales team :o (I'm a developer too), so OpenSource needs to be driven by users.
Higher priority should go to fix open (and long lasting) bugs. Some of them are still open with no comments from a long time. Will a user submit another bug-report if some of his own old bugs were still open?

Commercial software will always be ahead of VB if VB won't fill the gap of really useful (and still missing) features.
These are the ones I'm waiting for (and made me unhappy waiting for):
  • Tree of snapshots
  • A way to quickly copy/move a machine without manually editing XML files?
    Some blogs suggests to copy/move the virtual disk then recreate a virtual machine using this disk... WHAT?
    Have you ever used vmWare and its .vmx files? Double click them and you're done, the machine appears in the vmWare player, ready to run (obviously you should have the .vmdk and other companion files, but the task is a simple copy/paste of a folder). You could even copy it down from a DVD of your archived machines...
  • Choose a combination of keys as "special key", not only one.
    Why should I loose my right-CTRL (I use it with arrows for word moving while programming) or my left-CTRL (heard about CTRL-C, CTRL-V...?) or Alt-GR (needed to type @ on italian keyboard). Please give us a way to select CTRL+ALT or CTRL+SHIFT or whatever else (but more than one)

I can't imagine all of these tasks togheter to require more development time than DirectX support!
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Re: Disappointed with VirtualBox development

Postby sej7278 » 17. Jun 2009, 23:41

i agree that bugfixes are more important than direct3d rubbish, but 3d is what a lot of people want it seems - they seem to believe that aero, compiz and games are important in a virtual server!

guest smp support is a useful feature though.

judging by the number of duplicate threads in the forum by people who can't be bothered to search, i expect half of those 1600 bug reports could be closed; then maybe we'd get some feedback on our valid bug reports.

and as for being opensource, well are there any non-sun people working on virtualbox.....
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Re: Disappointed with VirtualBox development

Postby Nazgulled » 18. Jun 2009, 03:39

I was kinda afraid to make a post like this but I'm glad to see I'm not alone... :)
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Re: Disappointed with VirtualBox development

Postby Perryg » 18. Jun 2009, 04:30

@Nazgulled,

You should never be afraid of making a post that points out your concerns. I know that the VBox team sees these and they would not know what the populace wanted without some feedback. I for one would like some more attention paid to the real problems that are present as you are and have pointed them out. Areas like the USB in a Windows environment are a great concern. Just read the posts here and you can see that is a big issue. Also the whole snapshot issue since they changed the way it works is by far a horrendous mess. More and more people are killing their VM's because it is too hard to figure out. For my part I do not see a need to even load and test version 3.0.0 because I do not have hardware-v and I suspect 85% of the people that use this product do not either. I have Vista business installed and it sees both cores and uses them to its advantage, but it will not work in VBox because it must have VT-x/AMD-v (at least that is what is stated). But with that said they must also try to grow in areas that the majority of people want and that takes time away from fixing problems.
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Re: Disappointed with VirtualBox development

Postby Frank Mehnert » 18. Jun 2009, 09:09

Well, some points.

In general we are trying to do both, fixing bugs and implementing new features for every new release. The 3.0.0 Beta 1 changelog contains a list of fixed bugs and even more were already fixed and will be fixed for the 3.0.0 final release. Of course, everyone thinks his own bug is the most important one but we are primary customer-driven and have our own priority list.

Apart from this, it is true that a remarkable part of the 1600 open bugs can be closed. The problem is that sometimes we fix a problem without intention and are not aware that the problem is actually resolved. It would help a lot if reporters would sometimes check out new versions of VirtualBox and give us feedback if their bug is fixed by any chance. Furthermore not every real bug is important enough to be considered for immediate fixing.

And yes, we have code contributors but we would appreciate even more help from the community. Most people help us testing the releases which is great, but some people only bitch about annoying bugs and missing features and require ASAP fixing which doesn't improve our willingness to help them. Sometimes would be much easier to just look at the code and provide a fix than bitching again and again. One example is the mini toolbar for fullscreen/seamless. That code was provided by an external contributor. After revising and polishing the code it was committed, and the contribution saved us some time which we can spent for fixing bugs.

Regarding guest VT-x/AMD-V: Perryg, It is really not true that 85% of the VBox users don't have this hardware feature. This technology is available for at least three years. My dual core T60 with VT-x is more than three years old (bought in 02/2006), the Intel Pention D was available in late 2005 and we even support older broken AMD CPUs (keyword erratum 170). I can't prove it but I guess that perhaps 60-70% of the VBox users actually have this feature and every day this number grows. Guest SMP is one of the most desired features, not only from the community but from our paying customers as well. Of course it is possible to implement SMP for the old native mode (VT-x/AMD-V disabled) as well but this means a big additional effort for us which we simply can't pay -- of course you know that many companies are currently not allowed to hire additional employees, and I guess you can imagine that this concerns Sun as well. Therefore we appreciate any help. If someone depends on support for 64-bit guests and multiple guest CPUs then he should consider to by a new CPU. Nested paging (available for some time now) will really give you a notable performance improvement.

Regarding DirectX support: This is one of the most desired features as well. Just look into the forums and the bug reports. Half a year ago many people complained that VBox does not support 3D for guests. Once we implemented it, many people appreciated that but other people complained that they never need that feature. If you don't need it don't use it. The VM settings allow you to disable any 3D support for guests.
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Re: Disappointed with VirtualBox development

Postby eFloh » 18. Jun 2009, 10:03

Hello together,

I also opened the changelog, being excited about getting branching snapshots and a possibility to copy whole machines, but nothing.

Frank, can you tell if these features (or even more community-interesting what features generally) are planned to be included in the final VBox 3.0.0 release?
I am rather sure there is a plan somewhere, why not publicite it...

And to the whole contributors team, I think it is time to say a big THANK YOU! This is great work what you do here. :)

As a Software Developer, I understand your job and I think your request for users to take new releases and check the current open ticket list is really necessary.
:idea: For this, it would be good to change your trac settings so that any logged in user may add a ticket field
"resolved in" [versionspec]
With this, you easily search for user reported fixes and double check before closing the tickets...

The people who don't like the feature plan of this free project may always use a commercial(-only) one.
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Re: Disappointed with VirtualBox development

Postby nicorac » 18. Jun 2009, 11:34

Frank Mehnert wrote:Sometimes would be much easier to just look at the code and provide a fix...

You can't suppose that users are developers too :!: .
They can give help according to skills and/or wills.
Everyone can give feedback.
Frank Mehnert wrote:...than bitching again and again.

Bitching? Before posting a feedback I:
  • try to find a workaround
  • try to find a fix by myself
  • try to find a fix of someone else
  • post my feedback providing all the details I consider useful for fixing/reproduce the bug/feature
Honestly, I don't think most of the users are bitching; they are only trying to be considered :) .
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Re: Disappointed with VirtualBox development

Postby Frank Mehnert » 18. Jun 2009, 11:54

nicorac wrote:
Frank Mehnert wrote:...than bitching again and again.

Bitching? Before posting a feedback I:
  • try to find a workaround
  • try to find a fix by myself
  • try to find a fix of someone else
  • post my feedback providing all the details I consider useful for fixing/reproduce the bug/feature
Honestly, I don't think most of the users are bitching; they are only trying to be considered :) .

Sorry, didn't want to offend someone although some users do really drive me crazy. Keep in mind that I'm not a native speaker. complaining would be probably more appropriate. And we get many useful feedback as well.
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Re: Disappointed with VirtualBox development

Postby nicorac » 18. Jun 2009, 13:01

Nevermind, I'm not a "native" too.
Moreover we are both developers, not politicians :D .
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Re: Disappointed with VirtualBox development

Postby sandervl » 18. Jun 2009, 13:20

People, I'm moving this post to the generic forum as it doesn't belong here.
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Re: Disappointed with VirtualBox development

Postby Nazgulled » 18. Jun 2009, 14:23

@Perryg
The fact is that I've done the same with other open-source software and it didn't go so well... They have a version which you can buy the source code but for various reasons I'm never going to buy it, it doesn't matter. But all they say is, "the software is free, stop complaining, buy the source code if you want that fixed" and stuff like that. This is just wrong, I'm only trying to help by providing feedback and suggestions, that's all...

I'm a developer too, I develop free stuff too (some open-source, some not), but I never treat people interested in my stuff like that. Sure, it's simple simple and basic stuff, not software of VirtualBox's magnitude. Still, I try to reply to every single person that shows interest in my stuff and provide feedback. I don't agree with them all the time, I'm not going to implement everything they suggest, but I do communicate with them and do not say "pay me X and I'll do what you want", know what I mean?

Anyway, that's kinda beside the point...

@Frank Mehnert
I know exactly what you mean... I know some people want X, others want Y, everyone has their own priorities list and the devs themselves have their own. It's just that there are SIMPLE BUG FIXES that could probably be added/fixed without wasting too much time. There are BASIC FEATURES that a software like VirtualBox must have, for instance, proper copy/paste and drag and drop support. Don't you agree? These kind of features are way more important than DirectX in my opinion, it's (these and others of course) the pillars of such a software I mean, you wouldn't want to drive a car without tires would you? That's my point...

Frank Mehnert wrote:Well, some points.
The problem is that sometimes we fix a problem without intention and are not aware that the problem is actually resolved. It would help a lot if reporters would sometimes check out new versions of VirtualBox and give us feedback if their bug is fixed by any chance.

The whole trac thing is a mess... I can't eve subscribe to RSS feeds to the trac items I want to keep an eye on... At least I can't find a way to do it.

And like I said, what bothers me the most is not the users preferences, the devs priority list, is the feedback that I don't receive. I posted a couple of trac items lately, some feature suggestions, some others are bugs and I haven't got a single reply from any dev. They may not be important to everyone but they are still minor things, easy things to fix to add and some of them should actually be in VB. Anyway, I'm not saying mine are more important over others, I'm saying I could use a little more feedback from the devs. I would like to know their opinions on my feature requests, if they like it, if they don't, if I should expect that feature to be implemented or not but I don't get any of that. All I can do is wait for new version and see if the change log mentions anything I posted a trac for because no dev replies me. I have also this problem that I haven't yet submitted to trac just because of that... Why bother submitting this problem if nobody will listen?

Another thing, I created this topic 2 weeks ago and I still don't have one single reply and I think it's a very big issue that probably doesn't take that long to fix. It probably isn't a problem in VirtualBox itself, but the Windows installer. Still, it should be fixed before the next final release. It just doesn't make any sense... Still, it bothers me that no one from the development team or even the guy that takes care of the Windows installer, replied me back... I'm only trying to help improve the product by submitting feedback. That's all I can d, but at least I do something... But what good is that if nobody will listen?

I'm also a user of XBMC, which is also open source and uses Trac too and the devs there are little more communicative. They all have things to do, bugs to fix, etc, but they trey to listen more to their users and see what's best for the app they are coding. This is something I think VirtualBox is missing, proper feedback from the devs.

Frank Mehnert wrote:And yes, we have code contributors but we would appreciate even more help from the community. Most people help us testing the releases which is great, but some people only bitch about annoying bugs and missing features and require ASAP fixing which doesn't improve our willingness to help them. Sometimes would be much easier to just look at the code and provide a fix than bitching again and again.

This as been answered before but it's just like that, not every single user is a developer and the ones that might be, they may not know enough to help in such a project, people like me. I'm a developer but what I know is not enough, not even close, to help in such a project. If it would, you bet I would try to help wherever I could to improve a product that I like.

Frank Mehnert wrote:Regarding DirectX support: This is one of the most desired features as well. Just look into the forums and the bug reports. Half a year ago many people complained that VBox does not support 3D for guests. Once we implemented it, many people appreciated that but other people complained that they never need that feature. If you don't need it don't use it. The VM settings allow you to disable any 3D support for guests.

Half the people probably want to user Aero no? And as far as I know, that only works with DirectX 10, which is not implemented in your experimental support, is it? The problem is not about needing or not needing the feature, of course if I don't want it, I won't use it. The problem is about more important stuff that are being left behind, things that are basic to software like this like I said above... At least this is what I think. I mean, I use VirtualBox for university where I have to use Linux and I'm a Windows user. I can work properly without 3D support, the machine works anyway, but I can't work properly without proper folder sharing, proper copy/paste and proper drag and drop. Of course, this is just me, but as I see it, this are basic features of such an application. The first time I used VirtualBox I was really surprised when I found out that drag and drop didn't exist...

UWP wrote:But it's only an opinion, if you collect more and more opinions it might be that even more features are wanted that hard that bugfixing has to stay behind.
Like someone said, more and more features only create more and more bugs... Things need to be organized and long lasting bugs as with more important bugs must be fixed first. Big features later or maybe ONE big feature by version, minor features can still be added in the mean time but bug fixes must be the priority.

That's my opinion though.
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Re: Disappointed with VirtualBox development

Postby sandervl » 18. Jun 2009, 15:13

Nazgulled wrote:I'm a developer too, I develop free stuff too (some open-source, some not), but I never treat people interested in my stuff like that. Sure, it's simple simple and basic stuff, not software of VirtualBox's magnitude. Still, I try to reply to every single person that shows interest in my stuff and provide feedback. I don't agree with them all the time, I'm not going to implement everything they suggest, but I do communicate with them and do not say "pay me X and I'll do what you want", know what I mean?

No, because this doesn't scale. It's a matter of the number of Sun developers versus the number of users. We can't monitor the forum closely nor reply to each and every bug ticket opened. If we did, we wouldn't get anything done. I thought that was obvious to everybody.

If you subscribe to the trac ticket mailinglist, you would see how much time we spend there answering questions. We only do this because quite a few users give valuable feedback. And, yes, you can subscribe to tickets by adding a comment. Trac isn't ideal, but it's better than nothing.

Nazgulled wrote:I know exactly what you mean... I know some people want X, others want Y, everyone has their own priorities list and the devs themselves have their own. It's just that there are SIMPLE BUG FIXES that could probably be added/fixed without wasting too much time. There are BASIC FEATURES that a software like VirtualBox must have, for instance, proper copy/paste and drag and drop support. Don't you agree? These kind of features are way more important than DirectX in my opinion, it's (these and others of course) the pillars of such a software I mean, you wouldn't want to drive a car without tires would you? That's my point...

That's just your opinion. If it's trivial to add, then go ahead and add it yourself. We'll happily accept your contribution. If you are unable to, then maybe you shouldn't assume that it takes 5 minutes.

And lack of drag and drop makes VirtualBox similar to a car without wheels? Oh, please...
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