GNS3 0.8.4 released today here are the highlights

The much awaited release of GNS3 0.8.4 was released today.  Apart from the fact that I’ll actually have to do something about the next release of GNS3 WorkBench (which I’ve been stalling on by saying “I’ll release it AFTER 0.8.4”), 0.84 highlights some significant changes.

Here are my favourites:

  • No more having to select the option to [x] Save nvrams and virtual hard drives…. when you start/save anew project.  It just happens as you would expect.
  • Ditto for qemu/ASA/Junos flash drives (although I haven’t tested this yet)
  • Built in support for VPCS – this is going to change the way the GNS3 WorkBench labs will work (for the better).  There can still be some improvements here, but a great start none the less.
  • Built in support for Instructions for a project – this will also change the way GNS3 WorkBench labs will work.  This option is fairly subtle and almost hidden.  More later in this article.
  • Lots of improvements to the user interface – especially with tooltips and status bar messages.  There has also been a change in the way you add devices – now a two-click process rather than a one-click process, but there are ways to make that better (see my views on the forum)
  • An autocalc feature for Idle-PC values.  This is probably the most significant innovation since GNS3 version 0.5.  Unfortunately, when the Dynamips portion of GNS3 progressed from being a “Resource Candidate” to being a release version, some version checking logic in GNS3 broke!  So to use this feature, you will have to manually “backgrade” your copy of Dynamips from 0.2.8 to 0.2.8RC7.  At this stage, only Windows users get this feature, and so they are also the only ones that get this bug!  I hope to get a post up on the forum explaining how to do this in the next few days.
  • A screenshot is saved automatically when you save your project – so now when you go browsing through your projects, you will always have a picture of what it looked like when you last saved it.  You can of course turn this feature off if you don’t like it, but I think it is great.

There are other changes and bugfixes, including a nasty one that may have been causing “206- unable to create UDP NIO” errors for years.  For a full list, see the changelog.

The GNS3 Instructions Option

Almost hidden, there is a new option in GNS3 0.8.4 called Instructions.  It is invoked by selecting the Tools | Instructions option – BUT this option will NOT appear unless there are prepared instructions ready to display for your project!

If you want this option to appear, you will have to prepare a file of instructions that is “openable” by your operating system with the specific name of the form instructions.* – in other words, ANY file beginning with the word “instructions” – such as instructions.html or instructions.txt. It could also be – but this would only work if your operating system know how to open files that have a .xyz  extension – that is what I mean by  “openable” by your operating system.

Now this file can either be placed in your <ProjectName> folder – the same folder that your lives, or (to cater for those who want to write grand webpages) in a folder called instructions inside your  <ProjectName> folder.

Note: If you have multiple files – say instructions.html AND instructions.txt GNS3 will attempt to open the first one it finds.

I urge all GNS3 users to upgrade ASAP.  Windows and OS X versions are available to download, and the sources code is available for Linux users – a .deb package should be ready soon.  Here’s the link:



About RedNectar Chris Welsh

Professional IT Instructor. All things TCP/IP, Cisco or Data Centre
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