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Tag Archives: guest additions

nce upon a time I fell in love with a little program called VirtualBox. It’s a free program from Sun Microsystems that lets you run another operating system within your current operating system.

Why would you want to do this? Well, companies like to do it for many reasons, such as saving power and space, and increasing managebility of servers, which I’m sure somehow boils down to good capitalism. I like it because it’s fun. It’s fun to run Linux on top of Vista (install this hotfix if you’re using Vista too). It’s fun to try out new and cool operating systems without having to rebuild a whole computer. This way if you don’t like the operating system, you just delete it and go on your way.

VirtualBox is a small and easy alternative to other virtualization products that range from expensive to crappy. One of the neat features of VirtualBox is how well it integrates into your existing desktop through Guest Additions installed on the Guest OS. Two features in particular are Mouse Pointer Integration and Better Video Support. In a normal virtualization setup, the hosting program “captures” your mouse. You click into the program, it uses your mouse, but then you have to hit a predefined escape key (Right CTRL) to get your mouse back. Also in a normal virtualization setup, you can change the size of the window by dragging, but the resolution of the screen inside will not change. Installing the Guest Additions into the guest operating system fixes both of these problems beautifully. These features are officially supported in certain guest operating systems including: Windows, Fedora Core, Red Hat Enterprise, SUSE and OpenSUSE, Ubuntu, OpenSolaris and Solaris, and OS/2.

I’ll give simple instructions for installing the Guest Additions on three of the supported Linux OS’s: Ubuntu, Fedora, and OpenSuse.

Ubuntu (Hardy Heron)

  1. In the VirtualBox file menu choose Device, then Install Guest Additions
  2. Open Terminal (Applications/Accessories/Terminal)
  3. Enter these commands:
  4. sudo su
    cd /media/cdrom0
    sh ./VBoxLinuxAdditions-x86.run

  5. Reboot

openSUSE 11

  1. In the VirtualBox file menu choose Device, then Install Guest Additions
  2. Open Terminal (Computer/More Applications/System/Gnome Terminal)
  3. Enter these commands:
  4. su
    cd /media/VBOXADDITIONS_2.0.2_36486
    zypper install gcc make automake autoconf kernel-source
    sh ./VBoxLinuxAdditions-x86.run

  5. Reboot

Fedora 9

  1. In the VirtualBox file menu choose Device, then Install Guest Additions
  2. Open Terminal (Applications/System Tools/Terminal)
  3. Enter these commands:
  4. su
    cd /media/VBOXADDITIONS_2.0.2_36486
    yum install gcc make kernel-devel dkms
    sh ./VBoxLinuxAdditions-x86.run

  5. Reboot

When your system comes back you should be able to mouse without capture and change your screen resolution by dragging the Virtual box window border. And they all lived happily ever after. ZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

Sources: James Selvakumar’s Blog for the openSUSE info, and the VirtualBox Manual for the Fedora info.

UPDATE: In Linux, the guest additions stop working if your kernel gets updated (automatically or manually). This is because the additions compile for a specific kernel. If this happens to you, run through the above steps again and it will fix the problem.

UPDATE: Ubuntu 9.04 (Jaunty Jackalope) doesn’t install the video driver correctly using these instruction. Please see this blog post, for a work-around.

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