Wednesday, May 21, 2008

VirtualBox 1.6 is out

The most usable (for me anyway) VirtualBox release for mac is out. I just downloaded 1.6.0 from VirtualBox.org. I was finally able to load the virtualbox additions. Check out my previous blog to read about the issues I faced. Here is a quick recap of the issues:
  1. I could not use my full screen real estate which was 1440x900. The max resolution I could get was 1152x864.
  2. Unable to mount my shared folder.
  3. Cannot ssh from master OS (mac OS).
First I am glad that VBox for mac has finally come out of beta. Just the fact that there is a release lifts the spirits a bit.

Coming to my first issue, I am now able to make full use of my screen. It did not work out of the box, but the tweaks I had to do were small enough to not make me grumpy.
  1. I installed 1.6.0 on my macbook pro.
  2. Started my Gentoo guest OS.
  3. Loaded the virtualbox additions iso to the virtual cdrom by doing Devices > Install Guest Additions...
  4. Mounted the cdrom from Gentoo by doing mount /mnt/cdrom as root.
  5. Executed /mnt/cdrom/VBoxLinuxAdditions.run. At this point all the modules are compiled and installed. My old /etc/X11/xorg.conf was saved as /etc/X11/xorg.conf.bak and the /etc/X11/xorg.conf was modified to add a new monitor and the video driver was changed from vesa to vboxvideo.
  6. Restarted my guest OS and all the modules loaded properly (no issues like with the beta release). But my kdm did not start. What gives? So I logged in as root and restarted xdm with /etc/init.d/xdm restart and I got kdm running. It was bizzare that for some reason X failed during boot up. And I know that the only changes were the new video driver and the vbox modules. Since X started normally when I restarted xdm, I knew the the vbox modules did not load before the video driver. What did I do? Just moved the vbox init scipts from default to boot like so
    rc-update add vboxadd boot
    rc-update del vboxbox default
    rc-update add vboxadd-timesync boot
    rc-update del vboxadd-timesync default
    rc-update add vboxvfs boot
    rc-update del vboxvfs default
    Thats it. Now all the modules get loaded before xdm starts.
  7. I restarted the guest OS and found out that it did not make full use of screen, but the size is something odd. It just filled the size of the VirtualBox window. So I maximized the virtual box window and restarted, lo and behold my guest OS fills the whole screen. Here is the screen size from xdpyinfo
    xdpyinfo | grep dimensions
    dimensions: 1432x830 pixels (378x219 millimeters)
  8. Sometimes the virtual box does not detect the full screen properly. In such a case just restart the guest OS again in maximized window and it will work.
The next issue is mounting the shared folder. With the previous beta release of virtual box the filesystem driver that talks to the shared folder could not be loaded using modprobe. But with 1.6 it has all changed. The vboxsf works! Just do
mount -t vboxsf < shared folder name > < mount point >
and it just works.

The final issue where I cannot connect to the guest OS from master OS still exists and I don't have a solution for that yet. But hey I don't need it now that I have the shared folder working! I can transfer files back and forth between them.
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