What's technical difference between official VirtualBox and VirtualBox-OSE?

My scenario: I'm using Debian sid, it uses a 3.2.0-4 kernel. When you want to download VirtualBox, you have 3 options:

  • customized for distro: such as Debian, Fedora and so on,
  • .bin, and
  • source code.

When you install a customized on recommended distro, It means on its kernel, you don't have any problem. When you compile a kernel or install a kernel that virtualbox.org doesn't support you get kernel oops. I posted it on the VirtualBox forum, but I didn't get an answer. Maybe I will just install on a certified kernel or install VirtualBox from repository.

Question: I don't have any idea on VirtualBox-OSE, such as speed, memory, and etc. Do have experience on it?What's technical difference between official VirtualBox and VirtualBox-OSE?

  • 2
    Folk wisdom runs that you don't want to have anything in common with Virtual Box. VMWare, KVM/QEMU, Xen are considered much more suitable for production environment... Feb 24, 2013 at 13:05
  • Why was this downvoted so much?
    – nopcorn
    Mar 2, 2013 at 14:23
  • 1
    virtualbox.org/wiki/Editions - there is only one VirtualBox now. Your question doesn't make sense.
    – Mat
    Mar 2, 2013 at 14:33
  • 1
    There is no difference between "VirtualBox and VirtualBox-OSE". There is only one product.
    – Mat
    Mar 2, 2013 at 14:40

2 Answers 2


The difference (aside from any distribution-specific patches), and reason that you would get a kernel oops is because the VirtualBox host modules are only compiled for that specific kernel. The likelihood of breakage is high if using another kernel (different symbols, different metadata, etc).

  • Oh, no, i don't search for its reason, i just want to compare oss and virtualbox. Feb 24, 2013 at 14:15
  • 5
    @MohsenPahlevanzadeh virtualbox is OSS. There used to be two different licensed version, with only one being the open source edition, but as of Oracle, there is only open source.
    – jordanm
    Feb 24, 2013 at 16:09

Distribution-specifics aside there is no difference anymore. There were some closed-source drivers in the non-OSE package, but they have been moved to an extra package.

Before version 4.0, there were two editions of VirtualBox: a full binary containing all features and an "Open Source Edition" (OSE) with source code. With version 4.0, there is only one version any more, which is open source, and the closed-source components have been moved to a separate extension pack. https://www.virtualbox.org/wiki/Editions

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