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Thread: Minimal Installation in VM

  1. #1
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    Minimal Installation in VM

    I spent much of yesterday attempting to create a minimal installation of Ubuntu in a virtualbox VM, for some testing purposes. I didn't anticipate any problem, having installed a dozen or more VMs with Win2K and WinXP systems, plus a few more with Debian and Xubuntu. I downloaded the minimal ISO file, created my empty VM with the default RAM size, 5 GB of disk storage, and the ISO file as the CD, set maximum CPU usage to 80%, and clicked "Start" to run it.

    The CD loaded properly and gave me a menu with only a few choices; I selected "Install" and answered a few questions as it ran, until I got to the part where it told me it was downloading the installer. Then nothing more happened.

    The host system (Xubuntu 12.04.3) includes the CPU Graph and Net Monitor panel applets, which allow me to keep an eye on activity at such times. CPU usage showed virtualbox taking 80%, but the net monitor showed only very sporadic bursts of activity there. After a full 10 minutes of this (as shown by the "top" line for vbox), I forced a power-off to the VM.

    I tried again with the VM network adapter set to NAT (the original attempt was bridged, which is my usual setup of any VM so as to have full access to my SOHO LAN) with identical result. I then deleted the VM and its VDI file pending expert advice, so I can start over from scratch.

    My questions are (1) should I allow more time for the installer download, and if so, how long? and (2) am I doing something wrong? My purpose is simply to set up a test-bed for trying some wild experiments...

    EDIT: Jump to Post #9 for the solution!
    Last edited by JKyleOKC; November 24th, 2013 at 07:02 PM. Reason: To cut to the chase.
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    Jim Kyle in Oklahoma, USA
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  2. #2
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    Re: Minimal Installation in VM

    Hi Jim,

    Have you tried setting your network to bridged and choosing the virtio_net NIC? Every modern distro I'm aware of will sense this NIC and because it is paravirtualized, it should give the best throughput. Even with NAT configuration, this is the best virtual NIC. Another trick is to choose sshd on the initial install. In your case, this is not so much to hand over the install process itself to an ssh session as it is to run top, ifconfig, ping, nc, etc during the installation process to see what is holding things up.

    Make sure I/O APIC is checked, EFI is not, and choose all accelerations (VT-x/AMD-V & Nested Paging). I also delete the IDE controller that is used by default, install a SATA controller and attach both VDI and CDROM to that. In the past I've found that IDE really slows everything down in comparison to SATA.

  3. #3
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    Re: Minimal Installation in VM

    Thanks very much, DuckHook! Followed your instructions exactly and tried again, this time taking the default sizes for the VDI (8 GB) and RAM (512 MB). Same no-action result, so after 10 minutes I forced a power-down. Here's what I think is the pertinent portion of the log:
    Code:
    00:00:04.979638 Guest Log: BIOS: Booting from CD-ROM...
    00:00:05.115438 Display::handleDisplayResize(): uScreenId = 0, pvVRAM=00007f97a4781000 w=640 h=480 bpp=24 cbLine=0x780, flags=0x1
    00:00:13.834332 Guest Log: BIOS: KBD: unsupported int 16h function 03
    00:00:13.834651 Guest Log: BIOS: AX=0305 BX=0000 CX=0000 DX=0000 
    00:00:13.929669 Display::handleDisplayResize(): uScreenId = 0, pvVRAM=00007f97a4781000 w=800 h=600 bpp=16 cbLine=0x640, flags=0x1
    00:00:14.446219 PIT: mode=2 count=0x12a5 (4773) - 249.98 Hz (ch=0)
    00:00:14.875311 PIT: mode=0 count=0x10000 (65536) - 18.20 Hz (ch=0)
    00:00:15.056932 OHCI: Software reset
    00:00:15.202159 AHCI#0: Reset the HBA
    00:00:15.215541 AHCI#0: Port 0 reset
    00:00:15.216498 EHCI: Hardware reset
    00:00:15.216736 EHCI: Hardware reset
    00:00:15.216828 EHCI: USB Operational
    00:00:15.241445 OHCI: USB Reset
    00:00:15.297035 OHCI: Software reset
    00:00:15.297216 OHCI: USB Operational
    00:00:16.093540 AHCI#0: Port 1 reset
    00:00:18.564261 EHCI: USB Suspended
    00:13:57.848934 Changing the VM state from 'RUNNING' to 'SUSPENDING'.
    00:13:57.865457 AIOMgr: Endpoint for file '/home/jk/VirtualBox VMs/xxmini/xxmini.vdi' (flags 000c0781) created successfully
    00:13:57.963871 PDMR3Suspend: 114 849 549 ns run time
    00:13:57.963951 Changing the VM state from 'SUSPENDING' to 'SUSPENDED'.
    00:14:03.808532 Console::powerDown(): A request to power off the VM has been issued (mMachineState=Stopping, InUninit=0)
    00:14:03.814668 Changing the VM state from 'SUSPENDED' to 'POWERING_OFF'.
    If I'm reading this correctly, at 16 seconds after powering up, the mini.iso program reset the SATA controller's port 1, and 2.5 seconds later suspended USB for some reason -- then did nothing else until I forced the power-down by clicking the red X in the top right corner, with a fraction more than 10 minutes showing in the "top" display of the host. Obviously there's still something very wrong...

    Could it be that I simply have a bad download of the minimal ISO file? Seems to be that if I did, it ought to bomb out while loading, rather than giving me the initial menu and the various configuration questions along the way. Do you have a URL for the minimal package that you use?
    --
    Jim Kyle in Oklahoma, USA
    Linux Counter #259718
    Howto mark thread: https://wiki.ubuntu.com/UnansweredPo.../SolvedThreads

  4. #4
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    Re: Minimal Installation in VM

    Ahhh... USB. Do you have Guest Additions loaded? If so, is it the OSE version or the proprietary one from Oracle's site? I always use the proprietary, after hearing reports that the absence of Guest Additions or the OSE version will sometimes cause problems. Since I have never worked with anything other than proprietary GA, I can't advise you much on the alternatives.

    For now, try disabling USB on this VM for install. If that works, then enable but with USB 2.0 turned off. If that works, then turn USB 2.0 back on.

    I simply used the mini.iso directly from Ubuntu found here. I stick to 12.04, but don't see why the others wouldn't work. I should note that my minis are all cloned from an install done last year. Don't see how that can be relevant, but wanted you to know that mine isn't a recent install.

  5. #5
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    Re: Minimal Installation in VM

    Jim,

    Out of sheer curiosity, did an install of 13.10 into VBox 4.3.2 just now. I want a fresh install of the latest anyway, so this was no bother. Mine went off without a hitch. I'm trying to anticipate the difference between mine and yours and I can only cite the following:

    - I am on Ubuntu 12.04.3. You are Xubuntu, same version. Cannot see how this could make any difference whatsoever.
    - I only have 3 PPAs on my system, one of which is Oracle. This allows me to to install latest VBox which is currently 4.3.2
    - Downloaded and installed Guest Additions from Oracle--also 4.3.2. VBox automatically checks for updates.
    - Set VM to following: 2 cores, 2048MB RAM, PIIX3 Chipset, I/O APIC, UTC time, Enable PAE, All accelerations on, 32 MB VRAM, 1 Monitor, All drives SATA, Host I/O cache off, Pulse Audio-Intel HD, Bridged Adapter virtio-net, No serial port, Enabled USB 2.0 with New Filter 1, Shared ~/Public folder.
    - Optional (but useful)
    Code:
    VBoxManage setextradata <name_of_VM> CustomVideoMode1 <example: 1200x1024x32 or your custom resolution>
    ...this is useful later when you set the console to a much more usable resolution through GRUB with
    Code:
    GRUB_GFXMODE=1200x1024x32
    GRUB_GFXPAYLOAD_LINUX=keep
    sudo update-grub
    - Selected expert install on mini.iso
    - Selected generic kernel
    - Chose known reliable high-speed mirror instead of country default
    - Selected only needed drivers instead of full install (for as minimal a system as possible)
    - Selected OpenSSH-server as only "optional" package
    - Everything else as per defaults

    The installation took 15 minutes and went without a hitch. You may wish to choose a full set of modules rather than my only-needed-drivers to make sure you have all bases covered. Also, make sure your mirror is the same as the one already set for your Xubuntu host.

    If this continues to balk you, please post results of:
    Code:
    VBoxManage showvminfo "<name_of_your_VM>"
    Here's mine, sanitized of personal info, if it might prove useful:
    Code:
    DuckHook@19th_hole:~$ VBoxManage showvminfo Console
    Name:            Console
    Groups:          /Linux
    Guest OS:        Ubuntu (64 bit)
    UUID:            xxxxxxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxxxxxxxxxx
    Config file:     /home/DuckHook/VirtualBox VMs/Linux/Console/Console.vbox
    Snapshot folder: /home/DuckHook/VirtualBox VMs/Linux/Console/Snapshots
    Log folder:      /home/DuckHook/VirtualBox VMs/Linux/Console/Logs
    Hardware UUID:   xxxxxxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxxxxxxxxxx
    Memory size:     2048MB
    Page Fusion:     off
    VRAM size:       32MB
    CPU exec cap:    100%
    HPET:            off
    Chipset:         piix3
    Firmware:        BIOS
    Number of CPUs:  2
    PAE:             on
    Long Mode:       on
    Synthetic CPU:   off
    CPUID overrides: None
    Boot menu mode:  message and menu
    Boot Device (1): HardDisk
    Boot Device (2): DVD
    Boot Device (3): Not Assigned
    Boot Device (4): Not Assigned
    ACPI:            on
    IOAPIC:          on
    Time offset:     0ms
    RTC:             UTC
    Hardw. virt.ext: on
    Nested Paging:   on
    Large Pages:     off
    VT-x VPID:       on
    VT-x unr. exec.: on
    State:           powered off (since 2013-11-24T01:50:46.308000000)
    Monitor count:   1
    3D Acceleration: off
    2D Video Acceleration: off
    Teleporter Enabled: off
    Teleporter Port: 0
    Teleporter Address: 
    Teleporter Password: 
    Tracing Enabled: off
    Allow Tracing to Access VM: off
    Tracing Configuration: 
    Autostart Enabled: off
    Autostart Delay: 0
    Default Frontend: 
    Storage Controller Name (0):            SATA
    Storage Controller Type (0):            IntelAhci
    Storage Controller Instance Number (0): 0
    Storage Controller Max Port Count (0):  30
    Storage Controller Port Count (0):      2
    Storage Controller Bootable (0):        on
    SATA (0, 0): /home/DuckHook/VirtualBox VMs/Linux/Console/Console.vdi (UUID: xxxxxxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxxxxxxxxxx)
    SATA (1, 0): Empty
    NIC 1:           MAC: xxxxxxxxxxxx, Attachment: Bridged Interface 'eth0', Cable connected: on, Trace: off (file: none), Type: virtio, Reported speed: 0 Mbps, Boot priority: 0, Promisc Policy: deny, Bandwidth group: none
    NIC 2:           disabled
    NIC 3:           disabled
    NIC 4:           disabled
    NIC 5:           disabled
    NIC 6:           disabled
    NIC 7:           disabled
    NIC 8:           disabled
    Pointing Device: USB Tablet
    Keyboard Device: PS/2 Keyboard
    UART 1:          disabled
    UART 2:          disabled
    LPT 1:           disabled
    LPT 2:           disabled
    Audio:           enabled (Driver: PulseAudio, Controller: HDA)
    Clipboard Mode:  Bidirectional
    Drag'n'drop Mode: Bidirectional
    VRDE:            disabled
    USB:             enabled
    EHCI:            enabled
    
    USB Device Filters:
    
    Index:            0
    Active:           yes
    Name:             New Filter 1
    VendorId:         
    ProductId:        
    Revision:         
    Manufacturer:     
    Product:          
    Remote:           
    Serial Number:    
    
    Available remote USB devices:
    
    <none>
    
    Currently Attached USB Devices:
    
    <none>
    
    Bandwidth groups:  <none>
    
    Shared folders:  
    
    Name: 'Public', Host path: '/home/DuckHook/Public' (machine mapping), writable
    
    VRDE Connection:    not active
    Clients so far:     0
    
    Video capturing:    not active
    Capture screens:    0
    Capture file:       /home/DuckHook/VirtualBox VMs/Linux/Console/Console.webm
    Capture dimensions: 1024x768
    Capture rate:       512 kbps
    Capture FPS:        25
    
    Guest:
    
    Configured memory balloon size:      0 MB
    Last edited by DuckHook; November 24th, 2013 at 06:37 AM. Reason: obviously, name of my VM is 'Console'

  6. #6
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    Re: Minimal Installation in VM

    Quote Originally Posted by DuckHook View Post
    Ahhh... USB. Do you have Guest Additions loaded? If so, is it the OSE version or the proprietary one from Oracle's site?
    Can't load Guest Additions until there's an o/s in the VM in which they can install. My problem comes before that. I'm using vbox 4.2.18, from the Oracle site, with the propietary extension pack. I've gotten vbox from the Oracle site ever since my initial work with it back around the 3.1 version or so; switched over to there rather than the repository immediately after discovering that repository versions were not being updated to follow vbox.

    I've spent the whole evening watching Big XII college football, so haven't continued the experiment. I'll pick it up tomorrow morning and follow your suggestion of completely disabling USB to see whether it makes any difference. Thanks much for all the details!

    EDIT: Just compared my vminfo listing to yours and found several differences, but nothing that appears critical except one: I forgot to select Ubuntu 64-bit as the type, and simply have Ubuntu. I'll change that before the next attempt, and also make absolutely certain that the mini.iso file I'm using is also 64 bits; I'll grab a new copy from the link you gave, to make certain. The other major difference I found is that I'm using only one CPU, since my host is only dual-core and I've found that trying to use more than one CPU in a VM slows things down for me. This installation of vbox, by the way, is running a WinXP VM 24/7 to receive all my e-mail so I'm sure that vbox itself is working. The latest version is 4.3.2 but until they add it to the auto-update feature, I'm staying with 4.2.18; my initial trial of 4.3 made it impossible to load any of my VMs created back with vbox 3.2, since they failed to contain a serial number that it expected.
    Last edited by JKyleOKC; November 24th, 2013 at 06:43 AM. Reason: added more details.
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    Jim Kyle in Oklahoma, USA
    Linux Counter #259718
    Howto mark thread: https://wiki.ubuntu.com/UnansweredPo.../SolvedThreads

  7. #7
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    Re: Minimal Installation in VM

    My bad. I meant Extensions. i.e. the stub that resides on the host and permits USB functionality. Guest Additions will not do you a whole lot on a minimal install anyway. I can only see it being useful for enabling the shared folder. Everything else on it is designed for X, which you won't have. I got confused because the procedure of downloading the Extension pack also inserts Additions into the VM directory for ready installation into VMs.

    FWIW, I experienced no end of trouble with 4.2.18. It kept crashing my VMs and on a few occasions caused my host to freeze. After REISUB, syslog showed a sequential lockup of each CPU from the VBox driver, which is not only rogue behaviour but very worrisome. I haven't had a single problem since switching to 4.3.x. (NOTE: I miscalled it "3.4.2" above, now corrected--I'm not batting very well tonight). You may wish to upgrade to 4.3.2 which I think is not only stabler, but seems faster too.

    College football is so much more pleasant than wrestling with cussed installs.

  8. #8
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  9. #9
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    Re: Minimal Installation in VM

    Quote Originally Posted by DuckHook View Post
    College football is so much more pleasant than wrestling with cussed installs.
    Agreed; however I got up this morning with renewed energy and tackled it anew. I followed your lead with choosing expert installation, and because I'm limiting CPU usage to 80%, decided to wait at least 20 minutes before forcing a power-down.

    That led to success. At the "Configure network" stage, I discovered that using automatic configuration gave the wrong address for my LAN gateway (which is unconventional for historical reasons) and after using the correct address for gateway and DNS server, got reassuring blips of network activity. Finally after 17 minutes CPU time, the menu of installer additions appeared and from there things went quite smoothly although it took a total of 34 minutes CPU time before getting to the final reboot-into-new-system point.

    I think the problem was entirely having a bad gateway address, but in the absence of any error message the mini.iso file simply churned in a large infinite loop. Thank you very much for all the suggestions. Now I should be able to experiment to my heart's content with a minimum system!
    --
    Jim Kyle in Oklahoma, USA
    Linux Counter #259718
    Howto mark thread: https://wiki.ubuntu.com/UnansweredPo.../SolvedThreads

  10. #10
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    Re: Minimal Installation in VM

    I hope you enjoy the minimal. I love it! Good luck.

    Minimal install with xfce4 and only the apps I want/need. Computing heaven to me. I hate bloat which is one of the reasons I got into Ubuntu in the first place. After some research I realised I could get rid of a lot of it and customise to my heart's content.

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