Hardware

Ubuntu on Virtual PC 2007 - No way dude!

Ubuntu on Virtual PC 2007

I thought I'd have a go at installing Ubuntu into a Virtual PC 2007 virtual system - It worked ... until it didn't!

A number of people have asked me if it's possible to install Linux into a Virtual PC 2007 virtual PC. I'd read blog posts by a few people who had managed it with some distros so I gave it a try with Ubuntu ...

16 comments
sonotsky
sonotsky

Almost certainly, the virtual graphics card can't handle the console video mode being pushed by the kernel, and it isn't recovering when X starts. For *every* Linux distro that I've ever ran across, there is always the install-time option for the most basic video mode - usually 640x480, sometimes 800x600 - or a text-mode install. I've performed Linux installations into VMware VMs many times, and dealt with a lot of quirks in virtualizing the OS. Looking at the screencaps from this slideshow, the second-last image even lists two options - "Start Ubuntu in safe graphics mode" and hitting F4 for VGA. And I'm fairly sure (I've only looked at Ubuntu once, unfortunately) that behind F1, F5 or F6 there's a text option. Good luck!

steven.randolph
steven.randolph

I have Xubuntu running on Virtual PC and it works fine. You just have to ratchet the video down to 16 million colors during the install process.

harrywwc
harrywwc

Hi, I use RedHat Enterprise Linux in VPC in a teaching environment, and the same issue occurs. So I have modified our installation guide to tel the students to deliberately select "16 bit depth" for the video in the X-Configuration before they complete the install. You soon find who reads the instructions, and who just ploughs ahead :') :') VPC is a -great- teaching tool. I use it a lot, especially where I -have- to give students Admin Privs on WinServer but (of course) we can't give it to them on the "real" machines :') kind regards, .h

TechExec2
TechExec2

The problem you have in the last picture is in the X configuration file. It is specifying a video mode that is not supported by the virtual video card. You should be able to get around this by choosing "Start Ubuntu in safe graphics mode" on the startup menu. This is really starting X in a safe graphics mode. If that doesn't work, boot to a text mode login and use a text editor to edit the X configuration file. Change the video resolution to 640x480 or maybe 800x600 and you should be able to start X and will see good VGA video. Then, you can determine the correct settings for a higher resolution like 1024x768 or 1280x1024.

georgeou
georgeou

"to a text mode login and use a text editor to edit the X configuration file" When you need to resort to vi to get the setup to work, you just lost 90% of the audience.

paul
paul

...which means you don't need to be a rocket scientist with a photographic memory for obscure :w > :q-esque commands to edit text. I agree with you though. Remember the stink last year when an Ubuntu update to X meant your GUI went bye-bye? There wasn't much in the way of "ROFLOL!!!111" happening on the Ubuntu forums then :)

TechExec2
TechExec2

. Windows: Edit the Registry with regedit.exe. Linux: Edit a configuration file with a text editor. MacOS: It just works. Priceless! :-)

TechExec2
TechExec2

. The software must send information to the video hardware in a way that is compatible with the hardware. In Linux today, this is in the xorg.conf file (used to be elsewhere). The key settings are color depth, resolution, and refresh rate: COLOR DEPTH The number of bits used to represent the color of each pixel. 16-bit color enables 2**16 = 65536 different colors (aka "thousands of colors"). 24-bit color enables 2**24 = 16,777,216 different colors (aka "millions of colors"). 32-bit color enables 2**32 = 4,294,967,296 different colors (aka "billions of colors"). RESOLUTION The number of pixels in X and Y direction on the screen. Example: 1024x768. REFRESH RATE The number of times per second the screen is refreshed, in hertz. Example: 72 Hz. This guy's problem with Ubuntu and Microsoft Virtual PC 2007 could be resolved by using that option "Start Ubuntu in safe graphics mode". This should set the graphics to settings that work on "all" hardware. Then, once inside the GUI, he could use the mouse to change the color depth. However, he would have to know that color depth was the problem. At the end of the day, this is a install/setup problem. Ubuntu install/setup must detect that the (virtual) video card hardware only supports 16-bit color and set it that way. This is what Windows setup does. Then, none of this would be an issue. Almost without question, the fix you found for Virtual PC 2004 will work in Virtual PC 2007. You nailed it!

CTM2
CTM2

More hot air about linux vs Windows vs Macs won't help this poor person's problem. I ran into this. I don't know much about linux, but I do know how to troubleshoot. When I installed Ubuntu on MS Virtual Machine 2004, I got the same work of art. First thing I did was go to Google. Using the keywords: Ubuntu "microsoft virtual machine" and video, I found https://help.ubuntu.com/community/HowToConfigureUbuntuForMicrosoftVirtualPC2004. As stated the problem isn't video drivers or resolution, it's default color depth (whatever that really means). You have to edit the xorg.conf file. Ooookay, so I rebooted my Ubuntu installation, logged into command line, changed directory to /etc/X11, found xorg.conf and tried emacs. No good; Ubuntu doesn't have emacs. Back to Google for the Ubuntu text editor and came up with nano. Back to the Ubuntu command line I typed nano xorg.conf. Found the entry "Default Depth" and changed 24 to 16, and rebooted. Victory! Less than a half hour's work. Whether this works the same way with MS Virtual Machine 2007, I don't know. I do hope this tip from an old Navy Communications Technician provides a path on how to find out.

sgill
sgill

Although I have made my living from Windows programming (app dev C/C++) for over ten years, I have been playing with Linux since 1997 when I first built a dual-boot Win98SE/RedHat 5.2 box. Linux really impressed me with its stability. So, last summer I built an economy box - Semperon 2600 w/1 GB RAM and 250 GB hdd. I messed around with several distros, including Ubuntu, DSL (Damn Small Linux), FC 2, and finally settled on FC 5. It has taken a little tweaking, but usually of the 'download an rpm and install it' kind, and I have come to the conclusion that when it is time to update my wife's computer, I will set her up with Linux, too. Probably Ubuntu or similar.

cjs
cjs

TechExec2 is right, Linux is soo much better nowadays. Im young (21) and have been using Linux (in various different flavours) since late 96. I mean, M$ used to be no different, in 3.11 you would type WIN to get things going from the DOS prompt (especially in my school as a logon would be performed first). Linux has gone far in the past 5 years - it is an established server OS, it is powerful and with the right man running it can be invincible. A fairly knowlegeable user can use a distro like IPCop to build a hardened and very customisable firewall/router for his house with built in IDS and VPN capability. Even the ability to effectively secure your wireless network into a seperate logical network (BLUE interface) to ensure your local wired network is that bit more secure. All without the need to use vi/emacs at any point. Can windows do that? Vista (MS OS's) is for the general day to day user, Linux os for the power user and if there is one thing that Linux does that Vista doesn't is teach you how a computer (everything from security, to TCP/IP, Services, hacking, administration) actually works on the inside. Hell it will teach you more about windows than MS can, I certainly know more about SMB through Samba than through using Windows. In refrence to the video card problem, the setup should have auto-detected the card, and would have chosen a resolution and color depth etc to fit. My feelings would be the installer has thought it was a card/monitor configuration that wasn't correct (false-detection) and therefore is the fault of Ubuntu. However, I have had RHE running no problems on VPC so my guess is, if it hadn't detected the card automatically and incorrect option was selected at setup, that is the root cause of the issue. There is a place in thos world for all operating systems, Linux for Security/Reliability, Mac for the designers and producers (music (i am in a band)) and Windows for those who have no care what goes on their PC and want ease of use. Iuse all 3, perhaps everyone else should too, or maybe they should MERGE!! HA!

TechExec2
TechExec2

. [b][i]"...Mac OS X use to make fun of Windows 9x and DOS and the command line..."[/i][/b] Apple had a valid point back then. Even [u]they[/u] don't use that one anymore. :^0 [b][i]"...The first firewall in OS X required hacking a text file config..."[/i][/b] Sorry, merely [u]editing[/u] a text file does not qualify as hacking unless the file is encrypted. :^0 :^0 :^0 [b][i]"...As for the registry, you don't have to go in there normally to do something trivial like change resolution. Friend of mine was playing with Ubuntu and he was pulling his hair out over something as simple as a graphics setting..."[/i][/b] I don't even know how to change resolution via the Registry. Microsoft has really nailed video resolution change without fear of losing access to the GUI. The worst case is having to reboot to Safe Mode. Linux is almost up to that level. Resolution can be changed just as easily in the GUI, but you have to know how to get to the GUI in order to do it that way! :-) There is still room for more improvement on video configuration in Linux. All this guy had to do is use "Start Ubuntu in safe graphics mode". But, don't forget: The "hardware maker" in this instance (Ubuntu on Virtual PC 2007) is Microsoft (the virtual video card). And, this "hardware maker" is hostile to, hates, and provided no help whatsoever to the software maker (Linux OS). So, as usual, it's Microsoft's fault! :^0 :^0 :^0 [b][i]"...Also, editing text in UNIX with vi is a lot harder for a casual user than editing something with Windows..."[/i][/b] Let's get rid of the smelly fish here (this Red Herring): :^0 :^0 :^0 1. Casual users don't edit much of any configuration in Unix, Linux, or Windows. :^0 2. It is not necessary to force yourself to use vi in Linux unless you're also going force yourself to use edit.com on Windows. :^0 There is a Notepad-like editor in Linux. Try it. 3. Linux workstation configuration is done in the GUI now, just like in Windows. :^0 Linux is surprisingly great. You should try it! :^0

georgeou
georgeou

Mac OS X use to make fun of Windows 9x and DOS and the command line. It's UNIX in the userland and you've got plenty of people doing things in CLI. The first firewall in OS X required hacking a text file config and they showed this on TechTV in contrast with Windows XP's GUI interface for the firewall. As for the registry, you don't have to go in there normally to do something trivial like change resolution. Friend of mine was playing with Ubuntu and he was pulling his hair out over something as simple as a graphics setting. Also, editing text in UNIX with vi is a lot harder for a casual user than editing something with Windows.

jmgarvin
jmgarvin

Hell, safemode is where you send your users to fix crap like this and a lot of times they need to pop open a command prompt to diagnose the problem. You just aren't used to the right way to do things.