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3D Acceleration in VirtualBox Guests

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Last spring, the world changed forever when VirtualBox implemented support for 3D acceleration in Windows and Linux guests. I have a tendency to be behind the curve on world-changing events, so I didn’t found time to play with this new feature until a few days ago. But what I found made me really happy.

One of the most common complaints about Ubuntu is, “It doesn’t run application X, which I need for school/work/gambling.”

Sometimes, wine is the solution to these problems. I’d be reluctant, however, to rely on wine if I needed a Windows program to run flawlessly. Wine can do wonderful things, but it can also do weird, flaky and unpredictable things in many cases, which is not acceptable in a production environment.

In most other situations, running Windows in a virtualized environment via any of a number of Linux virtualization platforms–VMware, VirtualBox, KVM, Xen, etc.–is the next-best way to get that tricky Windows-only application working on Ubuntu.

Until recently, however, the big caveat for virtualization in Linux was that applications requiring video hardware acceleration–which means most games made in the last decade, among other things–were not supported.

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