VirtualBox 7.0.2 and Vagrant 2.3.2

VirtualBox 7.0.2

Hot on the heels of VirtualBox 7.0, we now have VirtualBox 7.0.2. I’m not going to lie, I expected this release to happen really quickly, as VirtualBox 7.0 gave me a number of headaches.

The downloads and changelog are in the normal places.

I’m hoping this fix solves a lot of my problems.

  • Main: Fixed issue when VBoxSVC could become unresponsive if Extension Pack was not installed (bug #21167)

I’ve installed 7.0.2 on a couple of Windows machines (10 and 11), and I’m going to play with it today.

Vagrant 2.3.2

As mentioned in my post about VirtualBox 7.0, Vagrant 2.3.1 doesn’t support VirtualBox 7.0 directly, so I was expecting a quick release of Vagrant and here it is. Vagrant 2.3.2 has a single feature in its changelog.

  • provider/virtualbox: Add support for VirtualBox 7.0 [GH-12947]

I’ll be attempting some new Packer builds of my Vagrant boxes, then working through my Vagrant and Docker builds to add in the new patches. That should give it a pretty good test. I’ll update this post with the results.

If this doesn’t work out, I’ll be reverting to VirtualBox 6.1.40…

Cheers

Tim…

Updates

Update 1: The good news is VMs seem to start OK now using Vagrant 2.3.2 and VirtualBox 7.0.2. (not true, see below)

The bad news is I can’t get Packer to work, so I’m unable to build new Vagrant boxes with the 7.0.2 guest additions. I’ve tried on Windows 10, Windows 11 and macOS (Intel) and all result in the same issue. It seems the kickstart is not working, like the networking on VirtualBox 7.0.2 is screwed up somewhere.

I’ve downgraded my Windows 10 PC to use VirtualBox 6.1.40 and I’m building new Vagrant boxes on that. So far so good. I’ll upload them to Vagrant Cloud and attempt to use them with VirtualBox 7.0.2. The guest additions will be out of date, but it should still work fine, I hope. I’ll keep updating…

Update 2: After a couple of successes starting up VMs using VirtualBox 7.0.2 and Vagrant 2.3.2, it all seems to have caved in now.

I’m going to switch to VirtualBox 6.1.40 for the moment. I don’t have more time to waste on this. VirtualBox and Vagrant are tools I use to make my life easier, not an end in themselves, so I don’t have the time to keep working on this. I’m sure a future version of VirtualBox will have sorted out its networking issues and I’ll be able to use it…

Update 3: Everything is reverted to VirtualBox 6.1.40. Packer builds of OL7, OL8 and OL9 are completed and uploaded to Vagrant Cloud. I’ve started to do some Vagrant builds with them now and they seem to be working fine, so what I’m seeing is on VirtualBox 6.1.40 everything works as usual. On VirtualBox 7.0.2 I see these two issues.

  • Packer just doesn’t work. It fails getting the HTTP access to the kickstart file. I get the same issue on Windows 10, Windows 11 and macOS (Intel).
  • Starting VirtualBox VMs with Vagrant is hit-or-miss. Sometimes they work, but sometimes they fail. It also seems network related, but I can’t be 100% about that.

Joel Kallman Day 2022 : It’s a Wrap! (#JoelKallmanDay)

Yesterday was an Oracle community day called the Joel Kallman Day (#JoelKallmanDay) 2022.

I would like to say a big thank you to everyone who took the time to join in. Here is the list of posts I saw in chronological order. If I missed you out, give me a shout and I’ll add you. 

Thanks to everyone who got involved with blog posts, tweets and retweets. It’s always fun to see what people come up with on this day. It’s also good to see people making contributions in their own language too. It’s easy for us to forget that people out there are doing good work for the community in their primary language!

A few people mentioned Joel specifically, and included some pictures, which was both nice and sad at the same time.

Thanks again, and remember you’ve got a year to get ready for the 2023 event! 🙂

Cheers

Tim…

VirtualBox 7.0 (and 6.1.40)

VirtualBox 7.0 has been released.

The downloads and changelog are in the usual places.

VirtualBox installed with no drama (see update below) on my Windows hosts. Something a little funky happened on macOS (Intel), so I removed VirtualBox and installed it again. It worked fine the second time.

The current version of Vagrant (2.3.1) fails with a version compatibility error when used with VirtualBox 7. Fortunately Simon Coter has our back, and previously published this workaround. I’m sure a new version of Vagrant will come soon, making this workaround unnecessary.

I’ll be doing new Packer builds of my Vagrant boxes over the next few days. If they are delayed, it means I’m having some drama with the new version of VirtualBox. 🙂

Cheers

Tim…

Update: So things aren’t looking so great. Even with the Vagrant workaround there seems to be a few issues. Sometimes Vagrant just hangs. No apparent reason why. Sometimes VirtualBox networking just doesn’t work. Vagrant can’t create the network. At this point I’m not sure if the issues are with Virtual or just a problem with VirtualBox. At one point I got a very similar issue when using VirtualBox directly (no Vagrant). It is happening to me on both Windows 10 and Windows 11, so it seems pretty consistently bad. Let’s see if there are any quick updates to VirtualBox or Vagrant in the next few days, but for now I would avoid VirtualBox 7 until the issue is a little clearer.

Update 2: VirtualBox 6.1.40 has been released. It may be safer to use that rather than version 7 at the moment…

Understand the history of your subject matter #JoelKallmanDay

When dealing with mature environments it’s not good enough to only understand what the current trend or “best practice” is. We also have to understand the history of the environment, and the technology stack we are using, as that will help inform us about why decisions were made they way they were. Let’s look at a few examples…

DECODE and CASE Expressions

CASE expressions were first released in Oracle 8i (1998), with the CASE statement added to PL/SQL in Oracle 9i (2001). You can read more about them here. Prior to that if we wanted something similar to a CASE expression in our SQL, we had to use the DECODE function. Here’s some examples so you can see what they look like.

# Value Match CASE Expression
select case id
         when 1 then 'Banana',
         when 2 then 'Apple',
         when 3 then 'Cherry'
         else 'Unknown'
       end as fruit
from   t1;

# Searched CASE Expression
select case
         when id = 1 then 'Banana',
         when id = 2 then 'Apple',
         when id = 3 then 'Cherry'
         else 'Unknown'
       end as fruit
from   t1;

# DECODE        
select decode (id,
               1, 'Banana', 
               2, 'Apple', 
               3, 'Cherry',
               'Unknown') as fruit
from   t1;

We all know it takes people years to introduce new syntax into their code, so we will probably have examples of code well into the 2000’s still using DECODE, even though CASE expressions are easier to read, far more flexible and part of the ANSI standard.

It may be hard for some of the younger crowd to believe, but there is code out there that has been running for a very long time. About 30 years worth of PL/SQL and about 40 years of SQL. When we are looking at the code base for a mature application, we may run into things that don’t look familiar. Languages and design patterns evolve, but we have to be capable of dealing with mature code.

ANSI Joins

ANSI joins were introduced in Oracle 9i (2001). You can read about them here, and here.

I know I’m going to get a lot of hate from the Oracle crowd for this, but ANSI joins are superior to the old-style Oracle joins, where the join conditions were in the WHERE clause, with a sprinkling of (+) symbols everywhere for outer joins. I’m sure the comments will try and defend them saying things like ANSI joins are just syntax candy, and that’s fine, but I still believe ANSI joins are superior…

The point is, even if we are writing new code using ANSI joins, we still have to be capable of understanding the old syntax, because we will run into a lot of code that still uses it, because it is historical code, or new code written by historical developers. 🙂

One True Lookup Table (OTLT)

The One True Lookup Table design pattern, or rather anti-pattern, is one of those disasters that managed to work it’s way into loads of systems. There was a period when many of us were using Oracle Designer/2000 as a central repository for our ERD and physical modelling, and Designer encouraged the One True Lookup Table anti-pattern. It used to generate a number of tables, one of which was called CG_REF_CODES. This was essentially a dumping ground for name-value pairs, which grew to encompass almost all reference type data. Many people brought up on this design approach continued to use it in other projects, even when they were not using Designer anymore. I can think of one popular student system that makes heavy use of this anti-pattern. 🙁

OTLT has always been a terrible idea. I’ve been guilty of using it too, but it has always been a nightmare. If you have a system that has SQL statements that do 20 different joins to the same table, you have probably encountered the OTLT anti-pattern. You have to understand how to deal with it, and treat it as a learning experience of what not to do!

You will look at it and think the people who designed it must have been crazy, but you have to remember this is what the tools were encouraging us to do back then. If someone worked as a database designer/modeller (they used to exist), they might never actually write code, so they would not see what a disaster this design pattern was, and never learn not to do it again.

Conclusion

I always encourage people to stay up to date with technology. It’s important we keep progressing, but that doesn’t mean we can afford to forget the past. Not every system we work on is brand new, using all the latest tech and doing things using the latest approach. To be useful, we need to be able to work with both the old and the new.

Also, not everything new is good. There are plenty of examples of an “old” approach to solving a problem being superior to the new “cool” approach. It’s important we sample all of them and pick the right tool/approach for the job.

Cheers

Tim…

Stupid is as stupid does! Outsourcing, Agile, DevOps and Cloud.

Outsourcing From Hell

Many years ago, when outsourcing first became a thing, you would often see phrases like, “you can’t outsource a problem”. That can be interpreted in several ways, but one which comes to mind is the idea that if you can’t properly define what you need, how can you expect someone to deliver the solution to your prayers?

During the early days of outsourcing there were many horror stories, but in my opinion many of them were self-inflicted. Companies with terrible project management believed that a load of cheap offshore workers would somehow make up for the fact the project manager didn’t know their ass from their elbow. Companies not putting in the effort up front to understand their requirements, then moaning about what was delivered. Companies who had no understanding of the product/development stack had no way to judge the competence of the offshore team they hired. These sort of problems caused internal development teams to fail, so of course they would also cause outsourced teams to fail.

If you are having problems with internal development teams, outsourced teams and external vendor relationships, how can you not turn this around and ask yourself the question, “could I/we be the problem?”

Fragile, not Agile

How many times have you heard people/companies talk about agile, while insisting on doing everything possible to make sure agile becomes fragile? Those same people/companies will then insist that agile is not all it’s cracked up to be. This sort of nonsense lead a group of us to come up with this, mocking what we were seeing…

There is no framework or methodology you can’t screw up if you are an idiot.

DevOops, not DevOps

Much like Agile, DevOps has been one of those things people love to talk about without even doing some basic reading. Either they are quick to point out the limitations of DevOps, or even outwardly promote it, while sabotaging it from within to protect their silos.

If you have totally dysfunctional silos, the chances are you are not going to save yourself with DevOps, because the people that allowed those silos to become dysfunctional will want to wield control over DevOps, thereby guaranteeing it will fail.

Dark Clouds on the Horizon

In a repeat of the “you can’t outsource a problem” issue, the cloud isn’t magic. There is a lot of stuff you need to understand before you can do something successfully on the cloud. Stuff like pricing, security, network topology, platform offerings, “best practices”, hybrid (cloud + on-prem) systems all need to be considered before you start building anything. Just because you can fire up a VM in the cloud in 30 seconds, it doesn’t mean it is sound to build your business around that…

There have been numerous stories over the years where companies have turned cloud hype into cloud hell. It’s not because there is something inherently wrong with the cloud. It’s because the company has a broken approach to everything, so of course they failed when they launched into their cloud initiative…

Conclusion

Before you launch into a tirade about how X is crap and Y is much better, just make sure it’s not you that’s the problem. Stupid is as stupid does!

Cheers

Tim…