HOWTO : VirtualBox 2.1.4 on Ubuntu 8.10

Introduction

VirtualBox is one of the products of Sun MicroSystem now. VirtualBox is improved a lot after purchased by Sun. The current version is 2.1.4. There are free and non-free editions. Non-free is not open sourced but free to download. Free is open sourced. Non-free is more powerful than free edition in term of networking and the type of virtual hard drive.

You can download the current version of non-free edition from Sun’s website. For free edition (OSE – Open Source Edition), you can download from Ubuntu repository. This HOWTO is talking about the non-free edition only.

Requirements

First of all, make sure your CPU of your host computer supports hardware virtualization. For Intel, it is namely VT-x. For AMD, it is AMD-V. Secondly, make sure you have enough memory. I recommend 8GB or more since host and guests require memory. Lastly, make sure you have enough storage spaces. RAID, including FakeRAID and software RAID, is supported.

Running VirtualBox 2.1.4 on Ubuntu 8.10 Desktop is now easy and simple. I would like to discuss about how to setup VirtualBox 2.1.4, USB ports and Share Folder in this HOWTO.

Networking

Host Interface
VirtualBox allows you to bridge a physical network interface with virtual network interface by means of Host Interface without setting anything in the host. You can get a new IP for the Host Interface.

NAT
VirtualBox allows you to set the virtual network interface to be in NAT mode that share the IP with the host’s physical network interface.

Internal Network
VirtualBox allows you to set up a virtual network inside the host with guest Oses. The connection points between guests can be named what you like,such as Switch or whatever. The named connection point is acting as a virtual network switch. You can name many switches inside the virtual network between guests.

If you are creative enough, you can also connect any physical computer with a physical network switch to the virtual network to make it as a whole. You can surf the internet on any computer (including guest or physical computer) in that way.

The network infrastructure is based on your desire. However, there are some limitations on the virtual network interface. Wireless interface cannot be virtualized. The virtual interface cannot be used as promiscuous mode.

Installation and Setup

Part A – Download and install

sudo nano /etc/apt/sources.list

Append the following line to /etc/apt/sources.list

deb http://download.virtualbox.org/virtualbox/debian intrepid non-free

Get the public key of VirtualBox.

wget -q http://download.virtualbox.org/virtualbox/debian/sun_vbox.asc -O- | sudo apt-key add -

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install virtualbox-2.1

Make yourself as group of vboxusers.

sudo usermod -G vboxusers -a `whoami`

Part B – Set USB ports for the guest OS

sudo addgroup usbfs

Write down the dev group id of the usbfs, such as 1001 or 1002. Or something like this.

sudo nano /etc/fstab

Append the following line to /etc/fstab

If the dev group id of the usbfs is 1001, then

none /proc/bus/usb usbfs devgid=1001,devmode=644 0 0

Add yourself to the group of usbfs.

sudo usermod -G usbfs -a `whoami`

Run the following command to see if there is any error messeage. No news is good news. If there is no message show out, reboot the host system. Otherwises, correct it.

sudo mount -a

Part C – Make Share Folder

Create a share folder at host’s user directory, such as /home/samiux for example.

sudo mkdir /home/samiux/vbox_share

Run the VirtualBox at host. Install guest OS,such as Ubuntu 8.10 or Lambda 8.10 as is. Make sure to set USB device(s) and Share Folder at the VirtualBox for the guest OS. Once the guest OS is installed, create a directory at the guest, such as /home/vbox if the username is vbox.

sudo mkdir /home/vbox/share

Run the following command at the guest’s terminal.

sudo mount -t vboxsf vbox_share /home/vbox/share

Copy the file(s) to /home/vbox/share with sudo.

sudo cp test.txt /home/vbox/share

You can find the file test.txt at host’s /home/samiux/vbox_share directory.

Now you can share any files at the guest directory /home/vbox/share and host directory /home/samiux/vbox_share.

Conclusion

Green Computing is a hot topic in the world recently. Virtualization makes it possible. You can save a lot on hardwares, cabling, electricity and support. The cost of ownership is low. Recommended to all computer users!

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