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*NIX: Relatively Minimal Host OS for VirtualBox Use

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I got the stable net install iso from Debian and performed the following steps:

1. Boot from iso-on-USB (dd-ed to USB memory)
2. Run the text installer and at the tasksel step unselect everything
3. After rebooting, install the sudo package and add the non-root user to the sudo group (then relogin)
4. Tell apt-get to install the virtualbox and xinit packages and accept the installation of the additional packages
5. Add the non-root user to the vboxusers group
6. Reboot for the VirtualBox modules to load (modprobe might work instead)
7. Log in and use startx to start X
8. From an xterm, start VirtualBox
9. Test run a guest OS

Seemed to work here.

For reference, I think the total disk space used (not including swap) was about 1.3 GB.


Seemed to work here.
-ewemoa (March 09, 2014, 06:01 AM)
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Bingo! Nice work Mr. E. Let's catalog the above for future use. In the meantime don't neglect to create a disk image backup of the install. It will easily fit on a DVD or a modest USB key too. How convenient! :Thmbsup:

In the meantime don't neglect to create a disk image backup of the install.
-40hz (March 09, 2014, 06:57 AM)
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Out of curiosity do you have a favorite method?  I used Redo Backup for a while but it doesn't seem to be actively developed.

I also went through a similar procedure with Manjaro's Net installation iso with some success:

1. Boot from iso-on-USB
2. Log in as manjaro user (with password as reported on screen)
3. Start installer via sudo setup and proceed to the end appropriately
4. Reboot and log in as a non-root user that can use sudo
5. Using pacman install the following packages: xorg-xinit, xterm, virtualbox, linux310-virtualbox-host-modules (match to linux kernel version), and qt4
6. Add non-root (current) user to vboxusers group
7. Load VirtualBox modules via modprobe vboxdrv
8. Edit $HOME/.xinitrc to exec xterm as last line
9. Start X via startx
10. From the xterm start VirtualBox
11. Test a guest OS

The total disk space used in this case was around 1.5 GB.

^No real favorites when it comes to that. I'll just use whatever is available that I know works. For imaging, Clonezilla and DD are what I use. DD mostly if it's just for me. Clonezilla for clients and anybody else. Clonezilla can also install GRUB so that's a big plus when performing a disaster recovery. Clonezilla also has some nice features for use with Windows-based systems. (Check out their website for details.) And it's now UEFI (or 'URFU' as I like to think of it) bootable.  So if you straddle multiple OSes, having one tool to learn and standardize on is really nice too.

For what you're doing here, and at your level of experience, DD is probaby the quickest and easiest. Most backup apps (in true Unix tradition) invoke DD when you tell them to make an image anyway.

Ahhh...the beauty of pipes, scripting, and (optionally) a simple GUI toolkit. You can mashup an app so easily now that somebody else did all the hard work and wrote an actual command to do something. That's the beauty of the Unix Philosophy. Code somthing to do one thing extremely well. Don't reinvent the wheel. Combine pieces for convenience and more complex requirements.

easy to install (so recognizes hardware well) *NIX -- though light on resources-ewemoa (March 07, 2014, 04:08 PM)
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Not having read the rest of the thread:


Much less than 100 MB RAM usage on my "hey, let's test OpenBSD" machine (latest 5.5-CURRENT with default X installation), fast and clean base system installation. It even found my Radeon card immediately.


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