Too much talk about files, lately… what about VMs ? Our answer to that is to put them in Boxes.
When we introduced GNOME Boxes in 3.4, it was really just a preview, with much more to come in 3.6. Since then, the boxes team has been quietly working on adding features and polishing things.
So lets take a look at what’s coming in Boxes 3.6.
Boxes tries to be smart about choosing good defaults for memory and disk sizes depending on the OS that is being installed (this information is being provided by libosinfo). But sometimes, you know better, and then that Customize button is coming in handy.
Search in Boxes looks much the same as search in other GNOME 3 applications. And just like for other GNOME 3 applications, your VMs will also appear among the gnome-shell search results in the overview.
Another aspect where Boxes is picking up patterns from other GNOME 3 applications is selection.
VMs are very convenient to quickly try different OSes or nightly snapshots. Boxes tries to support this by recognizing when you are working with live media. As long as you don’t make persistent changes, Boxes will treat such VMs as transient, and will delete them when you shut them down.
Sometimes, when things go wrong, it may be necessary to shutdown a VM forcefully. Boxes lets you do that.
What I cannot really show in screenshots is how much more fluid and smooth Boxes feels. A lot of work has gone into making libvirt calls async to ensure that animations run smoothly. Resizing the Boxes window very nicely adjusts the display resolution.
The Boxes command line interface has received some attention as well. You can find out if gnome-boxes will work on your machine:
$ gnome-boxes –checks
• The CPU is capable of virtualization: yes
• The KVM module is loaded: yes
• Libvirt KVM guest available: yes
• The SELinux context is default: no
You can also open a VM from the command line, by name:
In summary, a ton of improvements, many small and some large. Boxes will no longer be a ‘preview’; in GNOME 3.6, it will be solid, useful application. You should give it a try !
There’s also some things to look forward to in 3.7 already. A while ago, Christophe showed a preview of the coming ovirt support (see all your remove vms in gnome-boxes).