These times, my virtualisation needs are being well served by VirtualBox 2.2. It may be the closed source variant but I have no complaints about it. Along with a number Windows VM’s, I also have one running Ubuntu 9.04 and, for the first time, I seem to have VirtualBox’s Guest Additions playing with a Linux guest as they should. Even the Shared Folders functionality is working.
However, I did get one problem when I tried out the last feature for the first time. The procedure is to issue a command like the following in a terminal session after creating the requisite directory in the file system and adding a host directory as a shared folder:
sudo mount -t vboxsf Music /mnt/host_music/
Above, Music is the name of the folder in the VirtualBox manager and /mnt/host_music in the directory in the guest file system. However, this returned the message at the head of this post at that first attempt:
/sbin/mount.vboxsf: mounting failed with the error: Protocol error
The solution thankfully turns out to be an easy one: reinstalling the Guest Additions and that certainly did the trick for me. The cause would appear to have been an update to Ubuntu and 9.04 is understandably in a state of flux at the moment (I suspect kernel upgrades because of my previous experiences). Regardless of this, it is good to know that it’s a problem with a simple fix and I am seeing the niceties of a larger virtual screen system together automatic grabbing and releasing of the mouse cursor too. There may be a chance to explore the availability of these sorts of features to other Linux guests but I have other things that I should be doing and there’s sunshine outside to be enjoyed.
Even though my main home PC runs Ubuntu, I still keep a finger in the Windows world using VirtualBox virtual machines. I have one such VM running XP and this became nigh on unusable due to the amount of background processing going on. Booting into safe mode and using msconfig to clear out extraneous services and programs running from system start time did help but I went one step further. Norton 360 (version 2 as it happened) was installed on their and inspection of Process Explorer revealed its hoggish inclinations and the fact that it locked down all of its processes to defend itself from the attentions of malware was no help either (I am never a fan of anything that takes control away from me). Removal turned out to be a lengthy process with some cancelling of processes to help it along but all was much quieter following a reboot; the fidgeting had stopped. ZoneAlarm Pro (the free version that was gifted to users for one day only towards the end of 2008). Windows continues to complain about the lack of an antivirus application that it recognises so resolving that is next on the to do list.
Having had a brainwave of using my Windows 2000 VM to play music without impacting the rest of my PC’s working, I made the discovery that a bit of digging was required to find a version of iTunes and Quicktime that work with Win2K. Google delivered the good so here are the links:
iTunes for Win2K
Quicktime for Win2K
It all reminds me of a post that I wrote a few months back but iTunes is now working and, thanks to VMware’s Shared Folders functionality, using the host PC’s digital music collection. I’ll be seeing how the ring fencing goes…
In a previous entry, I mused over a move from Windows to Linux, a suggestion being that Fedora Core Linux would be my base operating system with Windows installed in a Xen virtual machine. That of course led me to wonder how I would swap my current situation about: Linux in VM, Windows as host. Meantime, I discovered something that makes the whole process a little easier: VMware Convertor. The Starter version can be downloaded free of charge while the Enterprise edition comes with VirtualCenter Management Server for corporate use. What it does is to make a virtual version of a real computer, a process that takes drive imaging much, much further. I have given it a whirl and the conversion seems to go well; the only thing left is for me to fire it up in VMware Workstation -- I believe that Player and Server will also run the VM that is created and, like Convertor Starter, they also can be downloaded free of charge; Workstation does everything for me so I haven’t looked beyond it, even though it did cost me money all those moons ago -- and get through licence activation issues without leaving me with no authorised Windows installation.
Having done a reinstallation, I have now got OpenSolaris going again in VMware and clone the VM in case I go on a wrecking spree again. I am going to leave VMware tools uninstalled for now so that I don’t encounter the display problems I previously experienced. Speaking of how it looks, I uploaded a screenshot here; the difference between how looks what its ancestor did are enormous. Having sorted the VMware/ZoneAlarm clash, networking not works as it should and I can access the web through Firefox. Now that everything is all set, the real explorations can begin.