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pwc101 06-12-2007 06:29 PM

What's running in your VirtualBox?
Prompted by this thread over at the ubuntu forums, I thought I'd ask here.

What operating systems are you running in your VirtualBox/VMware/other virtual pc?

I must confess, I've become something of an installation junkie... at one time or another, I've tried the following. (* marks worked flawlessly)
  1. Microsoft Windows XP SP2 *
  2. Microsoft Windows 2000 SP4 *
  3. Microsoft Windows 98 SE - 100% CPU usage on host, but still worked
  4. Microsoft Windows 95 - as for Windows 98 SE
  5. Microsoft Windows 3.11 - didn't really get very far...
  6. Debian 4.0 *
  7. Fedora Core 7 - had some fairly major issues, but got to a desktop
  8. Fedora Core 6 - currently installing
  9. Gentoo 2007.0 - weird, weird things happened here...
  10. Puppy 2.15CE - no xorg, only vesa X.
  11. Plan 9 - didn't get very far with this one
  12. Minix 3.1.2 - installed OK, but couldn't get it to run anything graphical.
  13. FreeBSD 6.2 - it didn't enjoy this one either
How have you got on?

rkelsen 06-12-2007 07:06 PM


Originally Posted by pwc101
  1. Microsoft Windows 3.11 - didn't really get very far...

If you really want to run Windows 3.11, I can recommend DOSBox. It works well.

As an aside, what kind of CPU power do you need to run XP under VirtualBox? Will it run ok on a ~3 year old 3.2GHz P4?

dracolich 06-12-2007 08:01 PM

rkelsen's right. Win3.x exponentially better in DOSBox. But be careful trying to use SVGA graphics.

In VBox I use: MSDOS 6.22, Win98 (slow but tolerable), Win2K Pro, SLED10 and Ubuntu Feisty. My host is Slackware 11.

rkelsen, a 3.2GHz is fine. It's memory you have to be concerned with. My system is 1.2GHZ with 1GB SDRAM (512 host, 512 guest) and Win2K runs great.

Emerson 06-12-2007 08:12 PM

FreeDOS. Tell you what, this FreeDOS is something. Had great deal of fun with it.

dracolich 06-12-2007 08:27 PM

pwc101, I was just looking at your list again and notice you mentioned issues with X and graphics. Have you looked at VirtualBox's technical information? It emulates an AMD PCNet NIC, an Intel 88082 sound card and it's own unique video adapter. The addons iso provides drivers for NT-based Windows and 2.6.x linux kernels. Since Win9x are still DOS-based it's pretty much impossible to find an appropriate video driver. For Linux guests, in some cases, the vesa driver will have to suffice. The provided driver works for me in SLED10, but crashed my Ubuntu. Also note that VirtualBox has no 3D accelleration support.

pwc101 06-13-2007 07:59 AM

@dracolich: Yeah, in those installations I've managed to get a working desktop running (where appropriate), I've always tried to install the Guest Additions, and like you say, for all the modern (2000 and XP) Windows operating systems, that's worked great. For both windows 98 and 95 (if I remember rightly), I couldn't get the guest additions to install, because, as you mentioned, there are no drivers (unless Innotek write some) for those systems.

I haven't managed to get either version of Fedora working (yet). The FC6 install stalled last night at about 98%, which was annoying. I'm going to try and tweak it tonight, and if that doesn't work, I'll reinstall and see if I can do it differently (I know now that I installed _way_ too many packages).

@rkelsen: I'm running VirtualBox on Slackware 11.0 with 512MB RAM, and each guest typically taking half of that. Even running KDE, I rarely go into swap. I tried to run two guest systems the other day at the same time, with slightly less RAM for each, and it really didn't like that! ;)

I'll try DOSBox when I have a minute. When I tried to install Windows 3.11, it was the DOS installation which failed. I don't think it enjoyed reading the VirtualBox hard disk at all, and would fail to recognise it as a disk if you rebooted the virtual machine. Very odd. Perhaps DOSBox will fare better :)

@Emerson: I'll look into FreeDOS (think I might have an iso for it somewhere...)

nx5000 06-13-2007 08:25 AM

Suse 7.3 with host Suse 9.2, P4 3.2, 2GB. Production machine, works flawlessly.
Suse 7.3 with host winXP SP2,P4 3.2, 1GB. Works.

Debian Sarge with host Debian Testing. Works
Debian Testing using Debian Etch. Works
Arm7 using Debian Etch. Little tests done, Works.
Sparc using Suse 9.2. Heavily tested for production level . Works fine taking into account the price of some commercial cpu-simulators.
WinXP with host Debian Etch. Doesn't work. Not needed anymore as we don't play games..

Several Debian Testing in parallel in Debian Etch. Under test (not by me). It looks like it works very well (stability and moreover performance with 4 or 5 virtual servers) when you know what you are doing.

dracolich 06-13-2007 08:30 AM

When you tried to install DOS how large was your virtual disk? IIRC, DOS had a limit for the disk size, which is why when disks began to appear in GBs they would come with programs like EZDrive. I think the limits were ~540 MB for <=5.0 and ~840 for >=6.0. My DOS virtual disk size is 512 with 32MB RAM and I installed 5.0, then upgraded to 6.0 -> 6.2 -> and 6.22 without any problems. I haven't tried putting Win3.x on top of it since I wouldn't expect much from it, and because it already works fairly well in DOSBox.

One trick I found to make installations easier is to first dd the original disk to an image file (example: dd -if /dev/floppy -of dos5.img) then tell VirtualBox to use the image instead of a physical disk. Itworks for CDs too and it's faster and easier to swap disks.

EDIT: Oh, maybe distros like FC actually need more than 256MB RAM, and with a gui like Gnome or KDE they definitely do. Adjusting the packages is good but you need more RAM or a lighter gui.

rkelsen 06-13-2007 08:38 AM

VirtualBox is excellent. I downloaded it as soon as I got home from work.

I'm very impressed so far. Top stuff!

All the spare partitions which I had set aside for trying new Linux distros have now become redundant... :D

nx5000 06-13-2007 08:51 AM

I discover this VirtualBox now.

So it's like qemu but only for x86 hosts and guests?

I wonder why they didn't integrate directly in qemu.

pwc101 06-13-2007 08:52 AM

dracolich: Yeah, I've already got the DOS setup as an iso. That's a very good point about the disk size though, I'll have to check that that wasn't the problem (I've a niggling feeling it was). I tend to oversize the virtual hard drive, since they're dynamic anyway, it doesn't make any difference to me if I tell the OS it's 5GB or 15GB, but evidently this time, it was a problem!

rkelsen: I found that I had to symlink some of the .vdi files (the VirtualBox disk images) onto an external hard drive as my measly 40GB hard drive was beginning to creak a little! Perhaps those spare partitions of yours will come in handy!...

rkelsen 06-13-2007 08:11 PM


Originally Posted by nx5000
I discover this VirtualBox now.

So it's like qemu but only for x86 hosts and guests?

I wonder why they didn't integrate directly in qemu.

VirtualBox is based upon qemu.

marsm 06-13-2007 08:51 PM

Whatever system you use, whatever you do, don't go below the recommended 192MB RAM for VirtualBox. It just starts doing weird things otherwise. Had to Google quite a while until I'd figured it out.

I only run WinXP + SP2 in Vbox.

nx5000 06-14-2007 07:53 AM


Originally Posted by rkelsen
VirtualBox is based upon qemu.

Yes I've looked at the changelog and seen all the "sync from qemu".
I just hope qemu also syncs improvements from VirtualBox.
It's the game of forking projects but it would have been good to only have one product and not several that do the same. My opinion...
It's a moving area, the future will tell.

nx5000 06-20-2007 08:44 AM



Innotek Gmbh has released VirtualBox 1.4 for Etch 386 and AMD64. It's a virtualizing solution based on Qemu. Innotek has improved it a lot:

- new kernel module 'vboxsrv' - compiles with on problems on both architectures
- sound works
- shared folders between Linux host and the guest operation system work without the need for Samba installed in the host ( which didn't work with Qemu in Debian anyway )
- USB, Remote Desktop supposedly work ( untested by me as of yet )
- so-called 'guest additions': Innotek provides a CD image full of ( getting automatically installed , at least on Windows guests ) drivers for the guest OS
- clipboard copying , working both ways, supposedly work ( untested )
- nice userspace s/w to control your virtual machines
- ability to take a snapshot of a working VM and return to it later (buggy?)
- no need to grab-ungrab the mouse with 'Ctrl-Alt' like in Qemu ( in Qemu>=0.8.2 that works too, but with 20% CPU utilization )

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