Tag Archives: ubuntu

image of WWW on gold

Adjusting Logrotate And Lesson Learned

image of WWW on goldBack when I upgraded my web server I also implemented logrotate to save off the logs each day so they don’t grow too large. At the time it seemed like a good idea to just save the logs for a year since I had the disk space. In retrospect that was a mistake. Why?

Logrotate numbers each file as it’s rotated out. What probably should have been obvious in restospect was that each time logrotate rotates it increments each log file by 1, and that number is part of the name. So each time the logs were rotated every log file was changed. This didn’t seem to affect the server at all, but since each file was changed it got backed up each night. This made the backups take considerably longer and used more bandwidth than necessary.

So I changed the logrotate configuration to only keep a month of logs. I’ll still backup all 31 files each night, but that’s less than the 70+ I’m already doing, and less than the 365 once a year passes. This changed will give me a little over a month of logs and if I really want more history I can archive the new file off every week. The decision for 365 was more due to laziness than a justifiable decision.

I also found logrotate isn’t smart enough to know when it has extra files. When I reduced the files to keep from 365 to 31 logrotate just deleted file 32 and kept all the higher numbered logs so I’ll have to delete them manually. I’ll go back in and delete the files but since they’re not updated anymore they won’t be backed up each night.

Now the logrotate file for my web logs looks like this:

<PathToLogFiles>/*.log {

rotate 31






/usr/sbin/apache2ctl graceful > /dev/null



It’s not so much the compressed log archives that I want to keep small, but I want to keep the active log itself small enough so that I can easily open it and read through it when necessary. So while a weekly archive file would still be manageable, opening or copying the active log file.

I retrospect it was pretty obvious the way logrotate would work, I just didn’t think about it too much.Easy enough to fix.



Tile for the HP MicroServer project

HP MicroServer Examined

Tile for the HP MicroServer projectI bought the HP MicroServer after reading some reviews and listening to a podcast that intrigued me, but without any real plans for it. This server server seems perfect as a test box to try things out. Small, low powered but with potential.

I spent time this past week trying different OS’s and configurations and ended up with a decision. At least one for the next couple of months.

The HP MicroServer full specs are on HP’s site.  Mine added 8 GB of RAM to the 1.3 GHz CPU and 160 GB hard drive.

As I researched the server I noticed there where a number of people doing (or planning) significant upgrades such as adding RAID controllers and other hardware. While I certainly understand the desire to do something “because I can”, for me any significant upgrades or modifications negates the benefits of this box. I did max out the memory since I typically always install the maximum memory, or as much as I can afford. Can never have too much RAM (imo). I knew I’d need to be adding hard drives but I don’t want to buy any other hardware for this.

I ended up using 3 TB drives in the final configuration although that was a last minute change when they went on sale and most of the testing was done with 2 TB drives.

The server does support RAID through the motherboard but it’s “fake raid” rather than true hardware raid.  Only RAID 0 and 1 is supported. RAID 0 is stripping and is done for speed, while RAID 1 is mirroring. Hot swapping is not supported. Having been burned by motherboard RAID too often I’m not even trying the on-board RAID.

All the Microsoft software was from current Technet downloads while the Linux  software was the latest release of that version from their website.

Citrix XenServer

My first install was Citrix XenServer. I added three 2 TB drives to max out the internal drive bays. The installation went without incident and XenServer was quickly running. By default Xen set up a separate local repository on each of the 2 TB drives.

I installed a Windows 7 VM just to make sure I could and it booted fine.

Since the box is a low power server it’s not really something I’d expect to work well with numerous VMs. I could probably keep a few test VMs that I would fire up as needed, but that’s all I’d expect. I installed Xen first since I knew I’d be moving on from it. I wouldn’t rule out using Xen to use this as a low-end test platform for a vm or three but it’s not my first choice.

I moved on to the next OS which was…

Windows Server 2008 R2

WInSrv2008R2Again, the Windows Server 2008 install went without incident. No special drivers needed during the install or post-install. HP does have recommended Windows drivers on their site (actually, they link to the AMD website). I stuck with the drivers bundled with the OS.

Once I got all the updates installed I used the software RAID in Windows Server 2008 R2 to create a RAID 5 array with the three 2 TB drives.

Everything appeared to work fine. While I didn’t benchmark, file copies and server response was acceptable.

Then it was on to…

CentOS 5.6

I wasn’t able to install CentOS 5.6, with the installer telling me it needed some drivers. Since I had already eliminated CentOS from consideration for my web server I immediately moved on to…

Ubuntu 10.04.2 LTS

This install went fine. I configured the three 2 TB drives as a RAID 5 array and configured for LVM during the installation.

All seemed fine and performance was acceptable. I decided to try hooking my Drobo up to the server and use Drobo-Tools. It did work as expected. The problem is expectations are low since there are limitations with the Drobo under Linux. The Drobo formatting was painfully slow and I moved on to Windows Small Business Server 2011 Essentials before it finished formatting. Check out drobo-utils if you want to run a Drobo under Linux.

Windows Small Business Server 2011 Essentials

I saved this for last as it’s the one I expected to keep on the server. Since it’s based on Windows Server 2008 R2 which already installed fine I didn’t expect any problems.

This is where I changed up the configuration a bit. The HP specs specify a 8 TB disk max (4 x 2 TB).  I’m using the original 160 TB drive for the OS and then three 3 TB drives in the internal bays. I haven’t had any problems with them so far.

I’m not a fan of RAID 0 (stripping) but to test out the limits I used the three 3 TB drives to setup a 9 TB RAID 0 (software RAID through SBS 2011). I consider its nickname to be appropriate – scary RAID. So far it seems fine. I’ve been reading/writing to it fairly regularly without any errors. It appears the specs were based on the math at the time they were written and not any actual hardware/BIOS limitation, four bays with 2 TB drives being the max at the time. I should mention I did upgrade the BIOS to the latest version before I started all this but didn’t see any mention of drive support.

I also moved my Drobo from my Mac Mini to this box, connecting via USB. The Drobo has never been fast, even on FireWire and it will be even slower on USB. But it will give me a good sized file repository for local (as in in-home) backups. Not something I need speed for. The Drobo dashboard does install fine on SBS 2011.

I haven’t spent any real time with SBS 2011 itself, concentrating on testing the hardware for now. I did set up backup for one test virtual machine. It seems to work fine but I’ve yet to do a restore.

Plans for the HP MicroServer

I’m currently backing up my Windows Home Server 2011 to both the Drobo and scary RAID, mainly as a way to load up a lot of files and stress the server.

I plan to rebuild/rework my current WHS v1 box which now serves as a backup destination for my WHS 2011 files. So I’ll be using the Microserver as a backup destination during this rebuild. Whether SBS 2011 sticks around after that remains to be seen.

It does have a better than even chance of sticking around. I have the Office 360 beta (which I’ve yet to use) and it’s supposed to integrate with SBS. So I’ll Want to try that out if only oust of curiosity.

I’ll probably change the RAID 0 array to a RAID 5 array, although having that 9 TB of space is sweet. Less sweet would be losing that entire 9 TB when just one of those drives fails.

I’m trying to avoid spending more money on this box but if I do end up using it for something that requires reliability I’ll consider buying a 160 GB drive to match the one it has and mirror the system drive and then mirror the remaining two 3 TB drives. As an alternative I could avoid the OS mirror and just rely on backups should the OS fails. This would significantly increase my space for data.

It should be noted that 3 TB drives will have a problem with the built-in backup software as there’s a 2 TB limit for backups. Because of the way I do backups this isn’t a concern for me.

Overall I’m happy with the flexibility of the box. I never expected performance and I’m not considering considering using it for anything that would be CPU intensive.

Other than CentOS every install was straight-forward and lacked an hardware issues. A Google search shows that people are using CentOS on the hardware so there’s nothing inherently wrong. HP has a CentOS support pack and the answer is probably in there but I didn’t pursue this in the interest of time.

I’m not sure I would change anything with the HP MicroServer. There’s a few things that might be nice to have, but I wouldn’t pay more for them. It’s kind of nice to have the limitations of the box to keep from usual, inevitable project creep.

os and software text

Choosing A New Server OS

Project Web Server TileAs I previously mentioned, it’s time for some significant web site and server updates. I already looked at other web hosts and decided to stay right where I am, with Linode. The next step is to decide what operating system I want. With Linode, they provide a virtual private server (vps) and a selection of ready-made base OS images.

I’m currently on Ubuntu 9.10 and need to move off of it since it’s end of life’d. The obvious choice is simply to update to the next version of Ubuntu. But let’s not stick to the obvious.

This is my web server so stability, reliability and security take center stage. Ease of use goes a long way to achieving those goals but isn’t a requirement in itself. Ease of use is often the enemy of security and reliability.


CentOS has come to my attention via a FLOSS Weekly podcast and jumped to the top of my list for consideration. CentOS describes itself as:

CentOS is an Enterprise-class Linux Distribution derived from sources freely provided to the public by a prominent North American Enterprise Linux vendor.  CentOS conforms fully with the upstream vendors redistribution policy and aims to be 100% binary compatible. (CentOS mainly changes packages to remove upstream vendor branding and artwork.)  CentOS is free.

That “North American Enterprise Linux vendor” is Red Hat.

CentOS 5.6 is the latest release and CentOS 5.x has an end-of-life (EOL) date of March 31, 2014. So I’d have about 2 1/2 years before being forced into another upgrade.

CentOS 6 should be out in early June which would give it a distant EOL date. Reading about CentOS 6 in their forums would make someone question its future. There seems to be a lot of unrest in the CentOS community and questions about its future. Most of the complaints are about delays with CentOS 6 and the lack of openness about it. I don’t know enough about CentOS to judge whether the complaints have merit or were the ramblings of impatient children. It’s not like Cent OS 5 is broken and in fact they had just released CentOS 5.6 to keep up with Read Hat’s 5.x release. While there’s no denying this has a negative affect on my choice it didn’t have a huge effect as I suspect it’s something that will blow over. Worst case, since so many web hosts use it, it will be a long slow death if the comments are true and it will be years before I’m affected.

Benefits of CentOS include reliability and stability. The cost for that stability is that the software typically doesn’t get the latest Linux technologies until the next major release which could be years. For a server OS this is clearly a benefit. I’m not looking for bleeding edge in my web server.

Another intangible benefit is the experience I would get using a Linux distro popular with business.


Ubuntu 11.04 was just released. I had thought that all x.04 release where long term support (LTS) releases but found this wasn’t the case as 11.04 EOL’s in October 2012. Rather, the LTS version is released every two years. I don’t want to go through another upgrade in a year so Ubuntu 11.04 is out of consideration.

Ubuntu Server 10.04 LTS is supported through April 2015 which means it will outlive CentOS by over a year. The longer I can put off a forced upgrade the more I like it.

Ubuntu has served me well so far and I’m familiar with it, so that’s a plus. Documentation is plentiful due to Ubuntu’s popularity. More importantly, I’ve found more Ubuntu specific documentation for things I want to do than I’ve found CentOS specific docs.


None of the other OS’s jumped out as having a reason to consider them.

My Decision

It seems that Ubuntu 10.04 is the right choice. It’s a newer version of what I have now so the migration/upgrade should be easier. Plus it’s got the longest life of what’s available today. I also can’t understate the benefit of having more Ubuntu 10.04 specific documentation.

On the other hand  CentOS has security, stability and reliability which are strong reasons. Another strong reason is that that I’d have something new to play with and get experience with an enterprise OS.

In the end I decided to stick with the logical choice and go with Ubuntu 10.04 LTS.

I’ve already cloned my current server. I then did an in-place upgrade of the clone to get to Ubuntu 10.04 LTS.  I changed DNS to redirect the sites to the new server, but if I find problems I can easily switch the DNS back. This provided a quick way to get off the obsolete Ubuntu and if you’re reading this it worked. I’ll start building the new server once the DNS has time to fully propagate and I know all is well.

I’ll soon start building the new server. I’ll do some more research and testing of CentOS but will rebuild the original server on 10.04 LTS. Existing documentation and having more packages already in the repository tipped the scales in Ubuntu’s favor.

Why build a new Ubuntu 10.04 server if the clone is already upgraded to 10.04? I want to have a nice clean server for the future. I’ve always been of the opinion that flattening the OS every couple of years is a good thing.

There’s still a chance my urge to try something new will have me try CentOS over the logical choice of Ubuntu 10.04. Should I give CentOS a deeper look?

This is the second article in the series about my latest web server project. Find the other articles under the Web Server 2.0 tag.
Cooler Master HAF32 Case

System Build: Home Server

When I started looking at a Home Server replacement back in October the plan was to get some new hardware and transition to it when Vail was released. Then Vail was gutted when when Microsoft removed drive extender and it became just another OS with nothing unique, at least not for me. Luckily this system build is flexible and I have options. In it short life it’s already run Windows Home Server Vail and Ubuntu 10.04.1.

The Parts List

Case: COOLER MASTER HAF 932 RC-932-KKN1-GP $130 (although it’s currently on sale with an additional rebate). I talk about the case here.

Power Supply: Corsair Professional Series Gold High Performance 850-Watt Power Supply CMPSU-850AX for $180 which I wrote about here.

Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-P55-USB3 LGA $103.50 (currently down to $95)

CPU: Intel Core i3-530 $114 (now down to $100)

RAM: Two sets of G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600) Model F3-10600CL8D-4GBHK for a total of 8GB at $160 (and now way down to $90)

I wrote about the motherboard/cpu/ram choice here.

Drive Cages: I write about by trials and tribulations looking for a drive cage, preferably one that was hot swappable. I ended up going with the Cooler Master 4 in 3 cage at $20.

To hold the two 2.5” drives in one 3.5” bay I went with a Connectland CL-HD-MRDU25S Removable Enclosure 3.5-Inch for Two 2.5-Inch SATA Hard Disks for $32. This is open above the drives to it the drives can breath a little more than my first choice which wrapped the drive in metal.

Hard Drives: Most of the hard drives would be ones I already had, but I did but two Western Digital Scorpio Black WD3200BEKT 320GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache 2.5″ SATA 3.0Gb/s Internal Notebook Hard Drive -Bare Drive at $60 each. I’d be using these mirrored for the operating system.

Video: The motherboard doesn’t have onboard video. The spare card I have has a noisy fan, so I picked up the cheapest fan less video card I could find on Newegg which was MSI N8400GS-D512H GeForce 8400 GS which was $30. Eventually the server would be headless, but I decided I would have the video connected for awhile while I was testing, a didn’t want the noise from the card I usually use. So far I haven’t needed to use anything but the built-in Windows and Linux drives.

NIC: Intel PWLA8391GT 10/ 100/ 1000Mbps PCI PRO/1000 GT Desktop Adapter at $30. I generally dislike on-board NICs and find the Intel’s to be rock-solid.

Fans: The CoolerMaster case has a lot of fans. But with all the hard drives in there I decided to replace the top 230mm fan with three Scythe S-FLEX SFF21F 120mm Case Fans at $15 each. The intent here is to pull more heat out the top of the case.

Fan Controller: I picked the Scythe KM02-BK 5.25″ Bay Fan Controller to handle 4 of the 7 fans. Motherboard connections could handle the rest.

SATA Controller: The hardest decision was to spend $325 on the 3ware 9650SE-4LPML 256MB PCI Express to SATA II RAID Controller for the additional SATA ports I needed. Rather than go low cost to add 4 ports I decided to go with a quality controller that can do real RAID, even though Windows Home Server does it’s own file duplication. This should also give me many years of use.

This wasn’t exactly a budget build, costing me over $1,200. (Not including the drives I already had) A quarter of that was the added RAID controller which was the biggest single opportunity to save. But I looked for quality parts that would server me for a long time and into future builds or years of upgrades.

The Build

The build was fairly straightforward except for the problems with finding drive cages. The end result was the lowest cost, simplest solution. Since the internal drives wouldn’t be hot swappable I not concerned about that loss. Replacing drives in the 4-in-3 is a pain, needing to remove the entire cage to get at the drives.

This was my first build using a full size case and it was great. No problems with space or getting at the components. Also plenty of room to run cables and keep them out of the air flow.

The only BIOS settings I needed to change was to enable AHCI for all drives (really only needed for the OS mirror which are hot swappable but I use it exclusively now) and to set the memory timings since they weren’t standard.

Vail Install

The Vail installation went fine. The two 2.5” drives were configured for RAID in the BIOS (using the Gigabyte controller that had only two SATA ports) so Vail just saw the drive. I’ve never really trusted the RAID provided by motherboards but this seemed to work find for the time I ran Vail. Performance was fine. I’d break the RAID by removing a disk or pulling a cable and the rebuild went without a hitch. I was also able to boot using just one of the drives and rebuild the mirror.

Ubuntu 10.04 Server Install

Since Vail has a questionable future in my house I decided to install Ubuntu server on the box to see if I could use it as my home server. Some research shows Linux is sketchy with the fake RAID provided by motherboards (or cheap controllers) I went entirely with the software RAID provided by Ubuntu. The two 2.5” drives still have the OS mirrored. Mixing controllers in a RAID scares me so I did RAID 5 for the 6 drives on the Intel controller and another RAID 5 array for the 3Ware controller drives.

Ubuntu Server 10.04.1 x64 had all the drivers I needed cooked into the install DVD. I didn’t need to download or add any drivers. I’m not using a GUI, just the console so video is simple. The on-board and 3ware drive controllers were seen just fine and seem to be performing well. Copying from my PC to the new server is faster than copying to the old Windows Home Server but I haven’t done any benchmarking.

All the drives are 2 TB drives but I do have a mixture of manufacturers. The 4 drives on the 3Ware are all the same since I had 4 Hitachi’s. Although I noticed one had a different BIOS. The Intel has two each of Hitachi, Samsung and Western Digital.

I’ve only been running Ubuntu a few hours but so far it’s going well.


I’m really happy with the build, which is a problem since I’m impatient. Performance has been considerably better than my current Windows Home Servers, both for Vail and for Samba on Ubuntu.

My plan was to wait until Vail and use that time to research some home media solutions while I waited. I had already started using Vail for my easier to move shares because it worked so well. Ubuntu also seems to be working well but I’m not far enough along to know it’s my permanent solution.

I could move Windows Home Server v1 over to the box but if I do that there will be another big move in a year or so since WHS v1 end-of-life’s in January 2013. It’s easiest enough to copy files from one box to another. But if I need to replace/upgrade my production home server I’d need to find storage for all those files and that could be a problem.

So we’ll see. I liking the hardware so I foresee the move starting in the next few days (I have several days vacation so it’s a good time). If I was smart I’d install Windows Home Server v1 and use that for the next year. I’m probably not that smart and will keep Ubuntu and move it in to replace my current Windows Home Server. In theory a Linux box is more flexible, but that flexibility comes at the cost of complexity.

So, do you think Ubuntu would be a good home server choice or will I crash and burn, reverting back to Windows Home Server V1?

Virtual OS - Ubuntu 10.10 tile

Ubuntu 10.10 (Maverick Meerkat) Installed to VirtualBox

Virtual OS - Ubuntu 10.10 tileA lazy Sunday afternoon is a perfect time to install a new OS and today happened to be when Canonical officially Released Ubuntu 10.10. I started downloading all 4 ISOs (32 and 64bit each for Desktop & Server). The 64-bit desktop happened to be the first ISO download that finished to I decided to make that my first VirtualBox installation.

I’m running VirtualBox 3.2.8 r64453 (the most current version) on Windows 7 Professional with all the latest security patches to date. I’ll be installing Ubuntu 10.10 64-bit. Ubuntu is calling this version “The Perfect 10” for obvious, if man-made reasons. For those really into numerology I’m doing this on 10/10/10 and in binary 101010 is 42, the answer to the Ultimate Question of Life.

But enough of that numerical nonsense. I’ll be doing a walkthrough of the operating system and then a walkthrough of the VirtualBox Guest Additions.

Download the appropriate iso image from Ubuntu, no need to burn it to DVD or copy to USB, as long as your PC can access the file. In my case I save all my DVD images to a Windows Home Server share so access it over my local network. If you need VirtualBox you can get it from VirtualBox.org.

Ubuntu 10.10 Installation Walkthrough

The installation process of the 32-bit and 64-bit desktop versions is the same although the screenshots shown here will be from the 64-bit version. Almost every selection I make is the default option. The few changes I make don’t have anything to do with making the installation work, they just configure it the way I want (like putting the virtual machine on a different drive).

The new button in VirtualBoxStart VirtualBox and click the “New” button to start the new virtual machine wizard. The first screen is just an intro screen while the second is where you name the virtual machine and let VirtualBox know what the OS will be. You can name the machine anything you want. Usually once I type “Ubuntu” VirtualBox picks the correct OS type. For some reason it used “Debian” rather than Ubuntu so I picked Ubuntu 64-bit manually. Ubuntu is Debian based and maybe VirtualBox doesn’t recognize the shiny new version so played it safe. I also kept the default memory setting of 512KB, I can always increase it later.

New VM Wizard Screen 1 New VM Wizard screen 2 New VM Wizard screen 3

Then it’s time to create the virtual hard disk. I’ll be creating a new disk and letting this VM use the entire disk. Except for the name & location, I keep the default settings. The Dynamically expanding storage means it will grow to the size I specify, but won’t allocate space until it’s needed.

New vm wizard screen 4 New Virtual Disk Wizard intro screen Select storage type screen

It’s the next screen where I change the name, and then click the fold icon (Click this icon to change disk location)to change the default location.

Virtual disk location and size screen The virtual disl settings I used

Once the new virtual disk wizard ends VirtualBox has all the information it needs to a summary screen is displayed for final confirmation. Once “Finish” is clicked the virtual machine is added to the VM list. Make sure it’s selected and click the “Start” button to start the first run.

New virtual machine wizard summary and confirmation screen The virtual machine list with the new vm selected First run wizard intro screen

The Ubuntu 10.10 iso image isn’t yet listed as an available media source so I click the folder icon (VMfoldericon) to start the Virtual Media Manager. I click the “Add” button in media manager and browse to the Ubuntu iso image and select it. When I’m done it’s now the selection in the Installation Media list.

Select Installation Media screen The main Virtual Media Manager screen I select the Ubuntu 10.10 iso image from the file system

The first run wizard is ready and will boot the Ubuntu CD

Once the “Finish” button is selected the VM will start to boot from the Ubuntu 10.10 CD image. It will take some time and may seem to be frozen but be patient, eventually there will be a welcome screen. Since this is a VM and I’m not wiping anything out I go straight for “Install Ubuntu” and don’t bother trying. The virtual machine passes all the requirements. There are two installation options, both off by default. I leave “Download Updates while installing” unchecked. I can update when the install is done and I want to keep the install simple and it will be easier to troubleshoot any problems. I do check “Install this third-party software”. Some may want a pure open source installation but most people would want MP3 playback ability and this seems the best way to get it. I also keep the default disk allocation selections, giving the entire virtual disk over to Ubuntu.

Ubuntu is thinking about booting The welcome screen - select Install Ubuntu The default install options screens, no optional installs enabled

The install options screen with my choices Aloocate drive space screen 1 Aloocate drive space screen 2

Once the installation starts you’ll notice the messages allow the bottom indicate the install is progressing while you enter in some additional required information. Nice! Ubuntu did a good job picking my time zone and hardware.

Time zone selection screen Keyboard selection screen

Then there’s a prompt for user information. Once a name is answer the rest of the information is prefilled (except the password). I didn’t keep the default values, wanting to stick with my naming convention.

User info entry screen User info screen prepopulated User information screen with my info

That’s all the information Ubuntu needs. The installation continues along for several more minutes. You can view a slideshow with info about Ubuntu while that happens. Once the installation is done there’s a restart prompt. Since the virtual machine isn’t really shutting down I manually amount the installation CD so it doesn’t boot from that. VirtualBox may automatically un-mount the CD but I do it manually to be safe. I click the “Restart Now button and un-mount the CD when Ubuntu prompts for it’s removal. To un-mount the drive select Devices –> CD/DVD Devices from the VirtualBox menu and the select the mounted image (the one that’s checked) and it will be removed.

Ubuntu installation is finished Remove CD Prompt Unmount the selected=

Once the CD is un-mounted I hit <Enter> so Ubuntu reboots and then I login when the logon prompt appears.

Ubuntu right after the reboot Logon prompt The Ubuntu 10.10 default desktop

I then see if there are any updates – there are a couple even though the bits I installed were fresh. To get the updates I select System –> Administration –> Update Manager from the Ubuntu desktop menu. This lists the recommended updates which I go ahead and install. Like any good OS I’m required to enter my password before the updates are applied. The screenshots below show this process.

Update Manager menu selection Recommended Updates Authenticate Prompt

Apllying the updates Update completion message

I reboot one more time just to make sure all is well then I move on to installing the VirtualBox Guest Additions.

Installing VirtualBox Guest Additions for Ubuntu

Installing the guest additions isn’t quit as easy as doing so with a Windows guest OS, but it’s not all that difficult. The installation normally doesn’t require anything beyond what was installed with Ubuntu 10.10, but see the end of this section for the needed X Window fix. Hopefully this fix will not be needed after the next VirtualBox update.

At the time I did this it’s day one for Ubuntu 10.10 and the X Window System drivers in the guest additions don’t recognize the version so don’t install. Once the guest addition drivers are updated the process can be repeated to upgrade guest additions.

Select Devices –> Install Guest Additions… from the VirtualBox menu. This will attach the guest additions CD but not actually install anything. The easiest way (imo) to mount the CD is to select it from the Places menu. This will mount the drive and open it in a window. You can close the window and ignore the icon that was put on the desktop.

Guest Additions Menu Selection Select the Additions CD from the Places menu The desktop icon

Then to mount the drive open terminal from the Accessories menu and issue the following command to change to the drive:

cd /media/VBOXADDITIONS_3.2.8_64453

If you have a different virtual box addition you’ll need to change the command to match the CD name.

Then run the following command to install the additions:

sudo VBoxLinuxAdditions-amd64.run

if you install the 32-bit version of Ubuntu then run the following command:

sudo VBoxLinuxAdditions-x86.run

The guest additions will install which will take a couple of minutes. The status will be displayed, the screenshot below shows that the X Windows drivers did not install.

Guest additions install messages

The Unixmen’s site has a workaround to the X Window issue. Run the following commands:

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get install build-essential linux-headers-$(uname -r)

sudo apt-get install virtualbox-ose-guest-x11

I was prompted whether or not I wanted to keep my current configuration file or replace it, I chose to keep it.

Once the last command finishes reboot the virtual machine. The display can then be resized.

Wrapping It Up

The installation of Ubuntu 10.10 Desktop under VirtualBox is straight-forward and no more difficult that installing it on bare metal. If anything it should be easier since the virtual hardware is consistent no matter what the actual metal is.

Having to use the X Windows work around is a bit of a pain but that’s the problem with new operating systems, it’s takes awhile to catch up.

If you want detailed reviews of Ubuntu 10.10 itself you can start with a review at ExtremeTech or at Expert Reviews.