Why isn't VirtualBox Extension Pack in Software Manager?

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MeganVonTinCan
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Why isn't VirtualBox Extension Pack in Software Manager?

Post by MeganVonTinCan » Fri Jan 24, 2014 10:29 pm

Maybe this is more of a general question about Software Manager than it is of Oracle VM VirtualBox. I recently needed the VirtualBox Extension Pack (for USB 2.0 support) and I couldn't find it in the Software Manager (or Synaptic Package Manager) so I downloaded it from the VirtualBox website. But after reading the Mint Users Guide and its long discussion about how much safer it is to load software from Software Manager, I wondered if the Extension Pack's absence implied that it wasn't considered very safe. Since VirtualBox is in Software Manager and the Extension Pack isn't, should I assume I'm taking a risk of making my system unstable by installing it? I don't like the fact that the Extension Pack doesn't cleanly unmount the USB storage device from the Host when the Guest OS accesses it, so maybe that's a significant risk if I'm not very careful, but I wonder what else can go wrong.

dagon
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Re: Why isn't VirtualBox Extension Pack in Software Manager?

Post by dagon » Fri Jan 24, 2014 11:39 pm

MeganVonTinCan wrote:Since VirtualBox is in Software Manager and the Extension Pack isn't, should I assume I'm taking a risk of making my system unstable by installing it?
No. I think it's just that they are under different licenses and therefore not inluded in the repositories.
https://www.virtualbox.org/wiki/Licensing_FAQ
Installing from Oracle should be perfectly safe.

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Pilosopong Tasyo
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Re: Why isn't VirtualBox Extension Pack in Software Manager?

Post by Pilosopong Tasyo » Fri Jan 24, 2014 11:44 pm

MeganVonTinCan wrote: But after reading the Mint Users Guide and its long discussion about how much safer it is to load software from Software Manager, I wondered if the Extension Pack's absence implied that it wasn't considered very safe.
Well, let's see. IMO, this falls under "YMMV." You have to remember that VirtualBox -- at least the more functional, non-OSE version -- is proprietary and falls under the PUEL license. Also, Oracle maintains control over the binaries, as well as their own repositories.

One of the reasons why it's generally "safer" to install software from the repository, is because you are installing from a trusted source. You don't have to go to some unknown/random website to download/install software. Obviously, virtualbox.org doesn't fall under that category.

Also, just because "get from the repos" is the preferred way of installing software, doesn't necessarily mean that it's the only way and/or everyone follows suit.

As fas as the extension pack is concerned, you don't have to go to the VirtualBox website. You can just do the update from the VirtualBox Help menu. The extension pack only adds functionality to VirtualBox, ergo, only affects VirtualBox. I don't think it will affect the overall stability of the rest of the system.
MeganVonTinCan wrote:I don't like the fact that the Extension Pack doesn't cleanly unmount the USB storage device from the Host when the Guest OS accesses it, so maybe that's a significant risk if I'm not very careful, but I wonder what else can go wrong.
There's no "Eject" option in the file manager apart from "Safely remove" or "Unmount" ? As long as you don't have any open files in that storage device, I don't think there is any significant risk in losing stored data. Speaking from experience, of course. Grain of salt applies.
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