Virtual Linux

Found a post over at Arcane Code about installing Ubuntu 8.04 under MS Virtual PC 2007.

I’ve done this and have Ubuntu 8.04 running in MS’s own VM on my XP desktop. It’s very nice. Now I can test in Konqueror (as well as play with various Linux toys that I find invaluable) while maintaining my XP OS for work (and not have to repartition or reboot for that matter).

A couple of notes to share.

I could only boot off the live CD by manually adding the noreplace-paravirt option. I then had to add this option into the bootloader as well after the OS was installed. I find including vga=791 helpful as well, but not required.

In my xorg.conf file I had to add the following to my screen section:

DefaultDepth 16
SubSection "Display"
  Depth 16
  Modes "1280x1024"
EndSubSection

This got me at the intended 1280×1024 resolution I wanted. The color depth is needed because Ubuntu will default to 24 bit color depth which Virtual PC has problems with.

I also added the following to my monitor section:

DisplaySize 338 277

Which changed the DPI of the screen to 96 (X defaults to 75dpi I believe) which makes small text much more readable.

I had to add snd-sb16 on its own line to /etc/modules in order to get sound working. However the sound is very scratchy. From what I’ve read this is common and there’s probably nothing that can be done through module options to improve this. That’s unfortunate.

I also had to add options psmouse proto=imps to /etc/modprobe.d/options in order to get the mouse wheel recognized by the OS. With that done I then had to add the following the inputdevice section for my mouse:

Option "Protocol" "ImPS/2"
Option "ZAxisMapping" "4 5"

And now the scroll wheel works in the Ubuntu VM.

Give it a try. Both Virtual PC 2007 and Ubuntu are free downloads and you don’t have to worry about mucking with your host OS or partitioning drives.

My setup now is that I have dual monitors and on one I’ve got the Ubuntu VM in full screen mode and on the other I have my XP desktop.

FYI: To free your mouse from the VM all you need to do is press the RIGHT ALT KEY. It must be the right one, the left alt key won’t work.

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