Challenges Installing VirtualBox

Time of writing 23 July 2020 .

Goal: Upgrading the VirtualBox host software to its recent release 6.1.12 with functional VirtualBox guest additions.

This is currently very difficult due to many issues of which none is caused by Whonix ™. The purpose of this chapter is to document the upcoming implementation for those wondering why it has been implemented this way and perhaps hearing if there are any better alternatives. Here is a summary of these issues:

VirtualBox is unavailable in Debian stable and backports due to Debian stable security maintenance Issues.

Custom Debian backport building failing due to dependency issues [archive]. Very difficult [archive]. Even if that was solved, there would still be the broken compilation from source code issue [archive].

The Lucas Nussbaum Debian buster backport repository [archive] is not an option either. [2] In 23 July 2020 VirtualBox latest version in Lucas Nussbaum repository was
virtualbox_6.1.4-dfsg-1~~bpo10+1_amd64.deb 2020-02-22 07:52 while upstream was at
virtualbox-6.1_6.1.12-139181~Debian~buster_amd64.deb .

VirtualBox is not available from Debian fasttrack yet [archive].

VirtualBox Guest Additions Debian Packages are unavailable from upstream Debian repository [archive].

Call for help:

What is the importance VirtualBox on Debian buster matter? It is the base distribution which Whonix ™ is based on and the distribution used to build Whonix ™ for VirtualBox for Linux, Windows and macOS from source code.

To be able to continue providing Whonix ™ for VirtualBox, from Whonix ™ and above the following changes will be made:

  • VirtualBox Host Software
  • VirtualBox Guest Additions
    • Whonix ™ build script will download package virtualbox-guest-additions-iso [archive] from Debian sid (unstable) and upload to Whonix ™ APT repository. That package provides file /usr/share/virtualbox/VBoxGuestAdditions.iso .
    • At time of writing contained VirtualBox guest additions ISO version 6.1.12-1 . In short, 6.1.12 . Ignore the -1 which is a Debian package revision number and not the upstream ( version number.
    • homepage also advertised version 6.1.12 .
    • Package virtualbox-guest-additions-iso will be installed by default in new Whonix ™ VirtualBox builds.
    • Related: VirtualBox Guest Additions ISO Freedom vs Non-Freedom
  • This is
    • to allow Whonix ™ developers test newer versions of VirtualBox host software before these are installed on user’s computer and,
    • to allow updating VirtualBox host software and VirtualBox guest additions at the same time, using compatible versions.
  • It is yet to be researched/developed how/if existing Whonix ™ VirtualBox builds can be upgraded and whether that would be an automated (by Whonix ™ a package) or manual (user has to do) process.
  • It is yet to be researched/developed how to make use of /usr/share/virtualbox/VBoxGuestAdditions.iso , i.e. mount, install, update, and automate this process using a script shipped by default in Whonix ™.
  • Other supported platforms such as Qubes-Whonix or Whonix ™ KVM are unaffected.

Added just now to wiki.
Dev/VirtualBox - Whonix

Now available.

please add VirtualBox to fasttrack (#10) · Issues · Debian Fast Track / Support · GitLab

add Debian 11 / bullseye to Linux Downloads / APT repository

VirtualBox 6.1.26 from Debian buster repository cannot be installed on Debian bullseye repository due to dependency issues.

Will try and probably use Debian fasttrack repository for Whonix 16 which will be Debian bullseye based.

(Installing VirtualBox on Debian 10 / Debian buster / buster-backports / fasttrack)
(Install Debian fasttrack-archive-keyring / enable Debian fasttrack repository by default?)

VirtualBox bullseye packages neither available form Debian fasttrack nor upstream (See above.)

As a stopgap perhaps these need to be downloaded from Debian sid and uploaded to Whonix bullseye repository.

Yay! This was done.
Switching Whonix 16 from Debian sid as source for VirtualBox to Debian fasttrack as source for VirtualBox. Now we have a reliable source for VirtualBox and guest additions packages. VirtualBox guest additions iso is no longer required for the time being.