What's the difference between virtualbox and virtualbox-6.1?

If you added the virtualbox PPA to your system (via /etc/apt/sources.list), you will find that you now have multiple versions of virtualbox available to install.

deb [arch=amd64] http://download.virtualbox.org/virtualbox/debian focal non-free contrib

wget -q https://www.virtualbox.org/download/oracle_vbox_2016.asc -O- | sudo apt-key add -

As viewed in Synaptic Package Manager, you'll see at least three different versions.

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What's the difference, and which one should I install?


Other than the slight version number differences, the big difference is what version of python it requires.

Most current installations of Ubuntu have both python2 and python3 installed. Python2 is depreciated.


  • Uses python2.

  • Installs python-is-python2, and makes python2 the system default.

python-is-python2: enter image description here


  • Uses python3.

  • Replaces python-is-python2 with python-is-python3, and makes python3 the system default.


enter image description here

Here, I'm installing the slightly older virtualbox and you can see what happens with the python-is-python* files.

enter image description here

So which virtualbox to install comes down to which version(s) of python that you have installed, and if you have both installed, which one you want as system default.


Version 6.1 was a bit update.

The following major new features were added:

  • Implemented support for importing a virtual machine from Oracle Cloud Infrastructure
  • Extended support for exporting a virtual machine to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, allowing the creation of multiple virtual machines without re-uploading. Also added option to export a VM to the cloud using the more efficient variant "paravirtialized", and to specify free-form tags for cloud images
  • Virtualization core: Support for nested hardware-virtualization on Intel CPUs (starting with 5th generation Core i, codename Broadwell), so far tested only with guest running VirtualBox
  • Graphics: New style 3D support (with VBoxSVGA and VMSVGA) remains, old style 3D support (with VBoxVGA) has been completely removed
  • Shared Clipboard: Implemented experimental support for file transfers (Windows hosts/guests only at the moment). Needs to be enabled via VBoxManage (disabled by default).

For more details view the changelog https://www.virtualbox.org/wiki/Changelog

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