A 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).
Start 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.
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.
It’s the next screen where I change the name, and then click the fold icon ()to change the default location.
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.
The Ubuntu 10.10 iso image isn’t yet listed as an available media source so I click the folder icon () 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Once the CD is un-mounted I hit <Enter> so Ubuntu reboots and then I login when the logon prompt appears.
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.
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.
Then to mount the drive open terminal from the Accessories menu and issue the following command to change to the drive:
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:
if you install the 32-bit version of Ubuntu then run the following command:
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.
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.