I'm running Ubuntu 16.10 on VirtualBox version 5.1.10 with installed latest guest additions. My host system is Ubuntu 14.04 with graphics adapter:

00:02.0 VGA compatible controller: Intel Corporation HD Graphics 530 (rev 06)

According its specifications it supports OpenGL up to version 4.5 on Linux. My guest system graphics adapter is shown as:

00:02.0 VGA compatible controller: InnoTek Systemberatung GmbH VirtualBox Graphics Adapter

According to glxinfo my current OpenGL version on guest system is:

> glxinfo | grep OpenGL
OpenGL vendor string: Humper
OpenGL renderer string: Chromium
OpenGL version string: 2.1 Chromium 1.9
OpenGL shading language version string: 1.30
OpenGL extensions:

How to upgrade graphics driver on guest system to newest OpenGL version possible?


The OpenGL drivers in the VirtualBox Guest Additions are limited to OpenGL 2.1. Despite many requests for improved OpenGL capability in the VBox user forums I've seen no mention of the VBox developers working on OpenGL 3 or better support. That said it only had OpenGL 2.0 support around 2009 and has been quietly upgrading to OpenGL 2.1 in the meantime. They may get there.

You always have the option to install software rendering OpenGL drivers but they wouldn't be usable for anything beyond the most basic requirements. e.g.: there is a software rendering OpenGL32 driver for Blender on their FTP site which allows Blender for Windows to actually work inside a Windows guest, but frame rates when animating Poses are in the 0.5-2.0 fps region. Not nice.

Note that VMware's paid products (VMware Fusion for Mac, VMware Workstation for Linux and VMware Workstation for Windows) all have 3D capabilities at DirectX 10 and OpenGL 3.3 feature levels. If you're willing to pay for them they may work for you (there are trial versions available to download and install for free).

You'd think it wouldn't be too hard to port across, all four being products of VMware... and it's just a driver for their own virtual graphics adapter... right?

  • 2
    According to an article on Phoronix this situation is not improved with virtualbox 6.0 even though there have been some promising changes in the implementation. Apr 6 '19 at 18:19

After installing the VirtualBox guest additions graphics driver any hardware 3D graphics request of a guest application will be sent to the host graphics card via this driver.

Hence we will not be able to have more OpenGL in the guest than we gave in the host. In addition not all hardware acceleration features are implemented in the still experimental 3D graphics drivers from Virtual Box.

In order to get the best performance possible make sure that all of the following is met:

  • the host graphics drivers are up to date
  • use the most recent VirtualBox version and the corresponding guest additions
  • install a recent guest OS

We can not update the guest additions graphics driver separately.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.