With Oracle’s VirtualBox (VBox) we can have a preview to all Linux distributions that offer Live Images (most of them do) and we can quickly review them and decide what fits us better, since there are many desktops to choose from. Of course we can also do normal installation of distros, and with a decent hardware we can use them as a typical installation.
In VBox we can also install and run Windows and Mac Operating Systems. Running Mac OS in VBox is illegal in most countries (not to all countries though, AFAIK), even if we have bought a license. I can’t give instructions (for obvious reasons) how you do that, but if you Google around you will find out how.
Why Yet Another VBox Tutorial
VBox and Fedora Rawhide nightly images is the very best and easiest way to try out the latest development snapshots of GNOME and I felt that existed tutorials are missing some significant details.
Why not RPM Fusion
RPM Fusion gives an easy way to install VBox, but it comes with a disadvantage. Fusion VBox releases might be older, and older releases often aren’t good enough to run the latest XServer.
VBox & XServer
A very typical change that new VBox releases bring, is the support of the latest XServer. Without it, we can’t build the graphic extensions for the guest machine, and we are losing things like performance, changing resolution or using the virtual machine in full screen. Fedora Rawhide always ships the very latest XServer, so this is kinda important.
To see the installed XServer version:
$ rpm -q xorg-x11-server-Xorg
The support for XServer 1.15 came in the latest VBox, version 4.3.8.
Get the Latest VirtualBox
We can get the latest VBox from their official downloads page:
On the end of this page we will find a repo that we can add in Fedora, but for now I will just use the direct link:
For example the latest VBox for Fedora 64bit (as today) is:
It says F18, but it will work for Fedora 20 too. An extra requirement that it might ask is libpng15.
$ sudo yum install libpng15
Install Guest-Additions In Guest
After you have installed VBox and you have setup a Linux virtual machine you are ready to install VBox-Guest-Additions. Notice that Guest-Additions are only available after installing the Guest Operating System, and they will not work in Live Environment.
Here I am giving instructions based on Fedora Rawhide which is the recommended way to try the latest GNOME. Following instructions are to executed on Guest Machine.
Get The Latest Kernel
Guest-Additions are installed as a Kernel Extension, therefore you should make sure you will have the latest kernel installed and you are using it. Update your system:
$ sudo yum update
Or just the kernel
$ sudo yum update kernel
Reboot your virtual machine
As aside information you can list all your installed kernels
$ rpm -qa kernel
And list the current running
$ uname -r
Get the dependences for installing Guest-Additions
$ sudo yum install kernel-devel kernel-headers dkms gcc bzip2 perl make
Mount Guest Additions Image
From Virtual Machine Menu
It will mount it at:
If that doesn’t work you can manually mount it.
Create a folder:
$ sudo mkdir /media/cdrom
Then mount the CD:
$ sudo mount -r /dev/cdrom /media/cdrom
Set KERN_DIR Env. Variable
We need this to point to Guest-Additions where Kernel is installed.
Use the kernel you want to, for example:
$ export KERN_DIR=/usr/src/kernels/3.14.0-0.rc5.git2.1.fc21.x86_64
For the current running Kernel you can do:
$ export KERN_DIR=/usr/src/kernels/`uname -r`
In the same terminal, navigate where Guest-Addition CD is mounted, in my case:
$ cd /run/media/alex/VBOXADDITIONS_4.3.8_92456
Then run the VBoxLinuxAdditions.run program:
$ sudo ./VBoxLinuxAdditions.run
If all went fine you should see:
Building Guest-Additions it takes ~25sec in i5,
and it isn’t much of an issue to building it for every new Kernel
Reboot your Guest Machine and enjoy!
VirtualBox Config & Changelogs
Out of the scope of this tutorial, but if you want to have a look at VBox configuration files you will find them under:
Useful to understand how you can move machines to other HDD or Networks.
Always look into the VBox changelogs in every new release before using it!
Get GNOME from Rawhide Nightly Builds
You can get Fedora daily images from Koji:
You want of course the state:closed:
GNOME is available on Fedora-Live-Desktop images