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Thread: Installing virtualbox

  1. #1
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    Installing virtualbox

    I have a ubuntu headless server (12.04) and want to run virtualbox. It just seems like they go out of their way to make it difficult to get installed and up and running. When I google how to install it, it is always like 10-steps and then you still don't have support for USB access or a GUI (neither of which are straight forward to get working - I'm referring to phpvirtualbox for the gui). I've already blown up my server once trying to get virtualbox working - I'm sure it was some stupid error on my part, but I don't understand why I'm having so much trouble. Now I've completely reinstalled ubuntu and as I'm trying to get virtualbox installed I feel this eerie deja vu occuring.

    Isn't there a one stop process somewhere like do a,b, and c and virtualbox will be full installed, upto date, and fully functional?

  2. #2
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    Re: Is there something I'm missing about virtualbox?


  3. #3
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    Re: Is there something I'm missing about virtualbox?

    Your best bet, since there's so much obsolete information around on the web, is to go directly to the official VirtualBox manual at https://www.virtualbox.org/manual/UserManual.html and read the very first chapter. It spells out exactly how to install the package, and what additional steps are necessary (and why they are extra) to get USB and RDP working.

    Note that the "standard" VirtualBox user interface requires a GUI and all of the step-by-step instructions are written around that interface. However, the program CAN be installed and controlled from the command line, via its VboxManage utility that's fully described in Chapter 8 of the user manual. With a headless server as the host, you'll definitely need to use this approach, unless you install an X Windows server package on the host and ssh into it for a remote desktop -- which can be a serious security risk.

    The on-line manual includes examples of the VBoxManage commands that can get you started. This approach, though, can be tedious for a beginner, and if it's possible I'd recommend that you install first on a desktop system rather than a headless server. Once you've become comfortable with VBox, the command-line approach will be much easier to master. Once you've created a VM and its associated virtual disk, you can copy it to other systems quite easily.

    Using VBoxManage, it will take one command to create a VM, another to assign it memory, a few more to create a virtual disk for it and connect that disk to the VM, and so on. However, once that's done, you can access the VM remotely through VRDP (remote desktop protocol). I run my email program in a headless VBox VM here, and access it from any station on my LAN quite easily.
    Last edited by JKyleOKC; September 23rd, 2013 at 04:46 PM.
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    Jim Kyle in Oklahoma, USA
    Linux Counter #259718
    Howto mark thread: https://wiki.ubuntu.com/UnansweredPo.../SolvedThreads

  4. #4
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    Re: Is there something I'm missing about virtualbox?

    Thanks - any reason you didn't recommend to phpvirtualbox? It appears to be a good "gui like" way to run virtualbox.

  5. #5
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    Re: Is there something I'm missing about virtualbox?

    Simply that I've never used it so have no idea how well it works. Since it's php, that implies that I'd have to have Apache or something similar on my system, and I don't. Using the native GUI is simplest, but VBoxManage is ideal for creating scripts to automagically start and/or save VMs at power up or power down, or even to force a reset if a VM happens to freeze (which is a relatively frequent event for some of my older Windows VMs, after installing updates).
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    Jim Kyle in Oklahoma, USA
    Linux Counter #259718
    Howto mark thread: https://wiki.ubuntu.com/UnansweredPo.../SolvedThreads

  6. #6
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    Re: Is there something I'm missing about virtualbox?

    So now I've read the first chapter of the Virtualbox Manager and it is still seems to me to be this crazy process to get to the finish line (as opposed to installing webmin, or ssh, or apache, or filezilla, or Mobaxterm, or Plex, or any number of other things - which were all relatively straight forward). I guess I'm just shocked with all the helpful blogs out there that there isn't an easy to follow step by step process that gets you Virtualbox, USB/RDP access, and a GUI/Web interface. Its not that I don't want to do the work - I just don't want to screw it up (I've already screwed it up once).

  7. #7
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    Sep 2007
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    Re: Is there something I'm missing about virtualbox?

    @qwerty3656,

    Oracle bought VirtualBox; so, if you don't like how it works you can contact them.

  8. #8
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    Aug 2013
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    Ubuntu 13.04 Raring Ringtail

    Re: Is there something I'm missing about virtualbox?

    Pretty sure I installed it through the software center. I definitely didn't go through some long process.

  9. #9
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    Mar 2013
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    Re: Is there something I'm missing about virtualbox?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin_Arnold View Post
    Pretty sure I installed it through the software center. I definitely didn't go through some long process.
    Are you running a headless server? If so, do you have USB/RDP access and a GUI? I realize I probably have no business installing a linux server. I'm sure that anyone with an ounce of linux know-how can make this happen - but what I have found with virtualbox which I have not found with any other "package" is that there isn't a simple step by step process in one place that gets it installed. The rest of my server was built on a "explain this to me like I'm a 5 year old" type process. As I said above, I've installed and used webmin, ssh, somba, apache, filezilla, Mobaxterm, and Plex.
    Last edited by qwerty3656; September 23rd, 2013 at 09:29 PM.

  10. #10
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    Re: Is there something I'm missing about virtualbox?

    Have you read the page at http://www.howtoforge.com/phpvirtual...u-12.04-server which provides step-by-step instructions for installing with phpvirtualbox?

    I've not actually tried it, but have read through it carefully, and it all looks as if it should "just work" once you finish all of the steps. It does include the procedure for installing Apache, so if you already have Apache installed you can just skip over that step; the rest of it seems quite reasonable.

    I also came across a line-by-line series of commands for creating a new VM entirely via the command line, using VBoxManage, but bookmarked that page on another machine that I'm not using at the moment. If you want that link let me know and I'll log in from the other machine and pass it on to you.

    EDIT: Here's that set of commands:
    Code:
    VBoxManage createvm --name "Ubuntu 12.04 Server" --register
    VBoxManage modifyvm "Ubuntu 12.04 Server" --memory 512 --acpi on --boot1 dvd --nic1 bridged --bridgeadapter1 eth0
    VBoxManage createhd --filename Ubuntu_12_04_Server.vdi --size 10000
    VBoxManage storagectl "Ubuntu 12.04 Server" --name "IDE Controller" --add ide
    VBoxManage storageattach "Ubuntu 12.04 Server" --storagectl "IDE Controller" --port 0 --device 0 --type hdd --medium Ubuntu_12_04_Server.vdi
    VBoxManage storageattach "Ubuntu 12.04 Server" --storagectl "IDE Controller" --port 1 --device 0 --type dvddrive --medium /home/ubuntu-12.04-server-amd64.iso
    You can change the names, of course, to whatever you like. --END EDIT

    The reason for VBox being so much more complicated to install is that the USB2.0 and RDP modules are not open source, and because of that, require different license conditions. You could "just install" VBox itself (using phpvirtualbox or the apt-get commands from the prompt), but would not be able to use USB2 devices or the Remote Desktop capability, which would pretty much render it useless for most folk although the virtual machine's command line would still be available.

    You might look at VMPlayer as a possible alternate program. I abandoned VMWare's products some six years ago (because of serious problems in maintaining their configurations) in favor of VBox, but earlier this year had to install VMPlayer on my wife's Win8 machine because VBox was having problems with its USB3.0 implementation, and it was much improved, although still not as smooth as VBox is on my Xubuntu hosts...
    Last edited by JKyleOKC; September 23rd, 2013 at 10:27 PM. Reason: to add command list
    --
    Jim Kyle in Oklahoma, USA
    Linux Counter #259718
    Howto mark thread: https://wiki.ubuntu.com/UnansweredPo.../SolvedThreads

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