virtualbox

Oracle VirtualBox License – Navigating Free and Paid License

The VirtualBox Extension Pack requires a license under certain conditions:

  • Free for Personal Use: The base version of Oracle VirtualBox is free. The Extension Pack is also free for personal, educational, or evaluation use.
  • Commercial Use Requires a License: A commercial license is necessary if used commercially or for production in a business.
  • Licensing Terms: The Extension Pack is subject to the Personal Use and Evaluation License (PUEL). Commercial use, including in businesses or educational institutions, necessitates a separate commercial license.

Oracle Virtualbox License 

Oracle Virtualbox License

Oracle Virtualbox license has become a headache for many organizations.

But what is it?

Oracle VirtualBox is a widely used, open-source virtualization software initially developed by Innotek, a German company, under a proprietary software license.

In 2008, Innotek was acquired by Sun Microsystems, which was later bought by Oracle in 2010.

The product was subsequently rebranded as Oracle VirtualBox. This versatile software is designed for developing, testing, demonstrating, and deploying solutions across multiple platforms on a single machine while supporting a vast array of guest operating systems.

Oracle VirtualBox License

Understanding Oracle VirtualBox License and Its Origins

Oracle representatives have been approaching end users, asserting that a license and/or support agreement is required to download Oracle VM VirtualBox Extension Pack software.

This article aims to clarify when a license is necessary and under what conditions for Oracle VirtualBox software.

The Allure of VirtualBox: Why Users Choose It

VirtualBox’s widespread popularity can be attributed to its base edition being free of charge.

However, users have cited several other compelling reasons for choosing this software:

  • Effortless installation with no need for advanced knowledge to build virtual computers
  • Simple addition and transfer of new VMs between hosts
  • The ability to suspend and save VM machine states for easy access to previous states
  • Unlimited installation and operation of VMs, limited only by disk space and memory

The Extension Pack, however, is subject to restrictions and is only free for personal, educational, or evaluation use.

Organizations using the Oracle VM VirtualBox Extension Pack software for production or commercial purposes must obtain a commercial license.

Is Oracle Virtualbox Free to use?

Is Oracle Virtualbox Free to use

You can use VirtualBox Enterprise without a license if you’re not engaging in activities that benefit your company, as it’s crucial to note Oracle’s definitions of personal use, educational use, or evaluation in the Personal Use and Evaluation License Agreement (PUEL).

If you’re using the Enterprise edition to benefit your business or require additional features, you must purchase licenses as it is considered a commercial use.

Oracle VirtualBox Extension Pack

Oracle VirtualBox Extension Pack

The Oracle VirtualBox Extension Pack is a set of additional functionalities that enhance the base Oracle VirtualBox software.

Here’s a simplified explanation and its impact on licensing:

  • What is it? The Extension Pack supports USB 2.0 and 3.0 devices, VirtualBox RDP, disk encryption, NVMe, and PXE boot for Intel cards. These features extend the capabilities of the base VirtualBox software, providing users with more advanced functionalities.
  • Licensing Impact: While the base Oracle VirtualBox software is free and open-source, the Extension Pack is not entirely free. It is free for personal, educational, or evaluation use under the Personal Use and Evaluation License (PUEL). However, for commercial use, a license is required.
  • Commercial Use: If you are using the Extension Pack in a commercial environment or in a way that benefits your company or for production purposes, you must obtain a commercial license. This includes using the software in a business, organization, government, or educational institution.
  • Installation: To install the Extension Pack, double-click the package file (.vbox-extpack file name extension) and follow the prompts.

Remember, understanding the licensing requirements for the Extension Pack is crucial to ensure compliance and avoid any potential legal issues.

VirtualBox Audit Process

virtualbox software audit process

When using VirtualBox, notably the Extension Pack, understanding the nature of Oracle’s auditing process is crucial.

Here’s a breakdown of what typically happens in a VirtualBox audit:

  • Nature of Audits: VirtualBox audits conducted by Oracle are not formal in the traditional sense. They are considered ‘soft audits’.
  • Audit Triggers: These audits often originate from Oracle tracking downloads of the VirtualBox Extension Pack to an organization’s IP address. This tracking is part of Oracle’s effort to ensure compliance with their licensing terms.
  • Oracle’s Contact: If Oracle contacts your organization regarding using the VirtualBox Extension Pack, it often pertains to licensing compliance.
  • Recommended Action: In such scenarios, it’s advisable to consult with a licensed expert, especially if your organization lacks in-house audit and Oracle licensing expertise.
  • Engagement Outcomes: When organizations engage with licensing experts, they often find that they may not need to purchase additional licenses. These experts can help navigate the audit process, potentially leading to the closure of the audit without additional license purchases.

It’s essential for organizations using VirtualBox, especially the Extension Pack, to be aware of Oracle’s audit processes and the steps to take if contacted.

Understanding and managing these audits can help avoid unnecessary complications and costs.

Oracle Virtualbox License: Pricing Models and Costs

virtualbox license

A commercial license for Oracle VM VirtualBox Enterprise is required if the Personal Use and Evaluation License cannot cover your usage of VirtualBox software programs. The following licensing models and associated pricing apply:

Named User Plus:

  • List License – 50 USD per Named User Plus
  • List Support – 11 USD per Named User Plus
  • Minimum number of required licenses: 100 Named User Plus licenses

Socket:

  • List License – 1,000 USD per Socket
  • List Support – 220 USD per Socket

By understanding Oracle VirtualBox’s licensing requirements, you can ensure that you remain compliant while taking full advantage of this powerful virtualization software.

virtualbox price list

FAQ on Oracle Virtualbox

How is VirtualBox licensed?

The complete VirtualBox source code and platform binaries in the base package are licensed under the GNU General Public License, version 2 (GPLv2).

You can distribute and modify the base package if you distribute all modifications under GPLv2. The VirtualBox Extension Pack is licensed under the VirtualBox Extension Pack Personal Use and Evaluation License (PUEL), free for personal, educational, or evaluation use. An Enterprise License is available for a fee for commercial, non-distribution uses.

Will the licensing terms of the VirtualBox base package change in the future?

There are no plans to change the licensing terms, but this is inconsequential as the GPLv2 license is perpetual and can only be revoked if you violate its terms.

License changes would only impact future versions, and compliant users can still redistribute existing VirtualBox code under GPLv2.

What are the benefits of purchasing an Oracle VM VirtualBox Extension Pack Enterprise license?

The Enterprise license allows the use of the product for commercial purposes or operating a business, organization, government organization, or educational institution.

It also helps manage, track, and record VirtualBox Extension Pack software used within your organization, ensuring up-to-date installations and security patches.

What is meant by personal use and educational use in the VirtualBox Extension Pack PUEL?

In the PUEL, personal use refers to using the VirtualBox Extension Pack on a single host computer for non-commercial purposes, either on the same host computer or a single client connected to it for remote display of guest computers.

Educational use applies to teachers and students in academic institutions as part of the curriculum.

Both personal and educational uses exclude commercial purposes or operating a business, organization, government organization, or educational institution.

How can I purchase an Oracle VM VirtualBox Extension Pack Enterprise license?

To purchase Enterprise licenses, visit the Oracle Store or contact Oracle or a reseller. An initial purchase of at least 100 Oracle VM VirtualBox Extension Pack Enterprise Named Workstation User licenses is required.

Can I redistribute the VirtualBox base package binaries?

Yes, under GPLv2, you can distribute the VirtualBox base package binaries, modified or unmodified, as long as you comply with GPLv2 terms and conditions.

What are VirtualBox Guest Additions?

VirtualBox Guest Additions are software drivers and utilities included in the VirtualBox base package.

They are installed inside a virtual machine for improved performance and usability. Like the base package, Guest Additions are licensed under GPLv2.

Can I redistribute VirtualBox Guest Additions?

Yes, under GPLv2, you can distribute VirtualBox Guest Additions, modified or unmodified, as long as you comply with GPLv2 terms and conditions.

Can I redistribute the VirtualBox Extension Pack?

Not without a special license from Oracle. Neither the PUEL nor the Enterprise license permits redistributing the VirtualBox Extension Pack binaries.

Oracle VirtualBox free?

Yes, the base edition of Oracle VirtualBox is free of charge. However, the Extension Pack is free for personal, educational, or evaluation use. Commercial or production use of the Extension Pack requires a commercial license.

When do I need a license for Oracle VirtualBox?

You need a license for Oracle VirtualBox when using the Enterprise edition or the Extension Pack for production or commercial purposes within your organization.

What are the pricing models for a commercial license of Oracle VirtualBox?

There are two pricing models for Oracle VM VirtualBox Enterprise: Named User Plus and Socket. Named User Plus costs 50 USD per user and requires a minimum of 100 licenses, while Socket pricing is 1,000 USD per socket.

Can I use Oracle VirtualBox Enterprise without a license?

Yes, you can use Oracle VirtualBox Enterprise without a license if your usage doesn’t benefit your company and falls under personal use, educational use, or evaluation, as defined by Oracle in the PUEL.

Can VirtualBox be part of Oracle ULA?

Yes, VirtualBox can be included in your Oracle ULA.

Is Oracle including VirtualBox in Oracle license audits?

No, we have never encountered VirtualBox being part of any Oracle license audit.

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Author

  • Fredrik Filipsson

    Fredrik Filipsson brings two decades of Oracle license management experience, including a nine-year tenure at Oracle and 11 years in Oracle license consulting. His expertise extends across leading IT corporations like IBM, enriching his profile with a broad spectrum of software and cloud projects. Filipsson's proficiency encompasses IBM, SAP, Microsoft, and Salesforce platforms, alongside significant involvement in Microsoft Copilot and AI initiatives, enhancing organizational efficiency.

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