VirtualBox display VBoxSVGA vs VMSVGA

Is there something in Manjaro's handling of display type that needs adjustment?

In this topic (original title speculated on a connection between ssd flag and chosen display driver)

The user raised the question on the VirtualBox forum and got the message that VBoxSVGA is for Windows and VMSVGA is for Linux.

However for quite some time I have had the custom of choosing VBoxSVGA because using this setup the vm adapts to changes in window size.

Another thing mentioned through the replies on the vbox forum thread is that vboxservice is obsolete - I couldn't figure out if this was relating to all Linux guests or just the Linux Mint the user had issues with.

What are your thoughts?

As I understand, this is a service to load some modules in the guest and sync time.
This service exists in Arch. A service can be created from anyone for anything.
I assume there must be a similar service or other auto-install feature on Ubuntu-related systems, as designed from their developers.
Anyway, for a guest, you should read instructions from the guest provider, not the host :wink:.

I suppose the (Greek) customer support guy is specialized on Virtual Box, so we should assume he knows better (being Greek is sort of confidence :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:).
But as he himself said,

The Arch community is one of the most knowledgeable out there, don't know too much about the Manjaro one...

So we may need to test this driver for some time and see how it behaves in several host/guest combinations.
We know better, after all! :wink::sunglasses:

  • When I was 15 I thought my parents didn't know anything
  • When I was 25 I was surprised how much they had learned
  • At age 59 - I realize how little I know

I just realized how much I didn't remember from the Arch wiki.

Going over the Arch Wiki - too much time has gone by :slight_smile: .

The following is the result of testing the VirtualBox Client on a live ISO (no installation) - using VMSVGA display emulator.

/var/log/pacman.log reveals that the necessary packages are installed correct. Most notably

  • xf86-input-vmware
  • xf86-input-vmmouse
  • xf86-video-vmware
  • open-vm-tools
  • KERNEL-virtualbox-guest-modules

The service vboxservice.service is an inherited Arch service which load the necessary modules vboxguest vboxsf vboxvideo and synchronize time on guest start.

When a VirtualBox VM loads Manjaro from ISO seamless mode is not available (the vm adapting to window resize) because the package virtualbox-guest-utils is not installed.

Starting the service and installing the guest-utils then running the provided script VBoxClient-all yields with a message on failing to connect to the VirtualBox kernel module - and as such the seamless window cannot be utilized.

Loading the modules manually and rerunning the VBoxClient-all script does not work either but results in the same message.

The script contains a test for the device /dev/vboxclient and that test does not fail as the message is repeated several times for VBoxClient actions in the script.

As the above is read from the Arch Wiki - and supposedly works within an Arch guest - the question is - what makes Manjaro different in this regard?

Testing the script commands - one by one

$ VBoxClient --clipboard
$ VBoxClient --draganddrop
$ VBoxClient --seamless
$ VBoxClient --display
$ VBoxClient --checkhostversion
$ VBoxClient --vmsvga-x11

Only the --display and the --vmsvga-x11 returns without the connection error.



After a manual install of Arch Linux in a VirtualBox VM I am know confident that the current display emulator recommendation for a Manjaro VirtualBox guest is the best.

Following the Arch Wiki (which do not recommend either) - but choosing a VMSVGA emulation - yields the same results as Manjaro. No matter what, the display do not adapt to changes in window size.

Changing the display emulation from VMSVGA to VBoxSVGA changed the VM display behavior on next boot.

So no matter what the wise folks at VirtualBox Forum says - for an Arch based distribution - the wise choice is VBoxSVGA.

So the answer to the question above- what makes Manjaro different in this regard is: Nothing! A Manjaro install behaves as an Arch install with respect to the the testpoings of a VirtualBox install and the used display emulation.

Now that can change in the future - so if in doubt - test it.

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Accoring to the manual:

  • VBoxSVGA: The default graphics controller for new VMs that use Windows 7 or later. This graphics controller improves performance and 3D support when compared to the legacy VBoxVGA option.
  • VMSVGA: Use this graphics controller to emulate a VMware SVGA graphics device. This is the default graphics controller for Linux guests.

So VMSVGA tries to present a VMWare device to the guest. Perhaps in the hopes of better out-of-the-box support?

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I am completely mystified - but fact is, using Manjaro and Arch - dynamic adaption of monitor size to window size do not work with VMSVGA only VBoxSVGA.

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