VirtualBox Extension Pack License

Unlike the bulk of the Oracle VirtualBox code, the Oracle VM VirtualBox Extension Pack is closed source and proprietary. Free no monetary cost usage is governed by the PUEL — Personal Use and Evaluation License. As a personal user, I never gave much thought to the license of the VirtualBox Extension Pack.

Using the Extension Pack at work is a different story. During the summer of 2017, between version 5.1.28 and 5.1.30, the PUEL was changed to explicitly forbid usage in commercial or business environments.

Without the Extension Pack users do not have access to RDP but instead must use VNC. Users lose access to full encryption and USB pass-through support.

For commercial or business usage the license is $50. Except that a minimum of 100 licenses must be purchased.

No, really. WTF.

There is a reason some people refer to the company name Oracle as an acronym.

At work I want to use VirtualBox. VirtualBox is the only reasonable cross-platform desktop solution. We only want to run a handful of virtual machines and on a few workstations. By few I mean less than 10, probably less than 5. Nothing close to 100 idiotic licenses.

If we could buy single licenses I would recommend the owner pay. A minimum order of 100 licenses is absurd. Stupid.

With the license change I smell entrapment. Poking around the web indicates this might actually be the case.

Although not as seamless as RDP because of a broken hard-coded password requirement, we can use VNC. When encryption is needed we can encrypt directly in the virtual hard disk using LUKS. Thus far we do not need USB pass-through. Shared folders, although mildly irritating, will suffice.

Long term? I don’t know. Possibly move to KVM on Linux systems and Hyper-V on Windows. On the wish list is to see somebody reverse engineer the proprietary extension pack, offered under the GPL.

Posted: Category: Usability Tagged: General, Virtual Machines

Next: Bleeding Edge

Previous: Updating Ubuntu MATE 16.04 to 18.04