OpenSuSE Linux 13.1 Installation within VirtualBox

OpenSuSE Linux 13.1 Installation

VirtualBoxRecently I bought a new Laptop, a Dell Inspiron 15 with Windows 8 pre-installed.

I have been a happy user of Linux for many years and, of course, I thought about installing Linux as well on my new machine.

On my previous machines I had installed Linux with a double boot approach by using Grub or Grub2, but I found that with Windows 8 is much more difficult to access the Bios and install the Grub bootloader (see references),

Finally I decided to use a different approach, i,e, to leave Windows as the initial boot operating system and to install Linux as a secondary OS by using Oracle VirtualBox, which is distributed as an open source virtualization environment, even if it includes some proprietary Oracle extensions.

There are other solutions to create a virtualization environment such as Hyper V that comes free with Windows 8, but I had previously good experiences with VirtualBox on OpenSuSE and decided to stick with this solution,

 

Virtual Box Installation

I downloaded the Virtual Box binaries from the VirtualBox downloads page which offers different packages for different hosts such as Windows, Linux,  OS X and Solaris. You should also download the Oracle VM VirtualBox Extension Pack which provides support for or USB 2.0 devices, VirtualBox RDP and other features,

The installation of VirtualBox within Windows worked without problems  and I could soon start the Virtual Box Control Panel and start the installation of the OpenSuSE Linux 13.1 from there,  I directed the installation to access an ISO file that I had downloaded from the OpenSuSE website

I haven’t found any problem with the installation of OpenSuSE Linux 13.1 as a guest Operating System and you can read a detailed introduction on how to do it from the Pacific University Oregon.

 

OpenSuSE Linux 13.1 Virtual Machine Problems

I had only one annoying problems after the installation of OpenSuSE Linux 13.1 about the use of Shared Folders,

The possibility to define one or more folders in the host machine (in my case the Windows 8 installation) as shared folders within VirtualBox is a very useful feature because it allows to share data between the host and guest operating  systems.

You might for instance have a document in Windows that you want attach to an e-mail sent from the OpenSuSE installation or a spreadsheet created i n OpenSuSE that you want to access also from Windows,

This can be done in VirtualBox by using the Settings screen and entering the path of the host shared folders in one of the Settings options.

The entry was accepted but I could not find anywhere in my OpenSuSE installation the folder (Documents) that I had decided to share.

The problems has been signalled in the VirtualBox forum where the suggested solution consists in the re-installation of the VirtualBox Guest Additions that are installed automatically during the installation of OpenSuSE 13,1 as a guest Operating System of VirtualBox.

Before re-installing you should check if the appropriate kernel devel package is installed in your OpenSuSe and, if it isn’t, you should install it . because it contains headers and makefiles required for external kernel modules. In my installation I had the kernel-default and I installed also the kernel-default-devel. You should also have installed the gcc system.

You should then download the VboxGuestAdditions iso image and use it for the installation on your OpenSuSe guest. You can find all VirtualBox downloads at the url http://download.virtualbox.org/virtualbox/. There are different version and you should use the version corresponding to your virtual box installation.

In order to install the Guest Additions I found on option in Virtual Box with the description ‘Insert Guest Additions CD image’, but when I tried to use it, it refused the insertion, I discovered that this was due to the virtual DVD device being used fro the previous iso that I had mounted (i.e. the openSUSE installation iso), I used the Force Unmount button, but still the system did not allow me to select the Guest Additions iso image. I finally succeeded after dound a power down and restart of the virtual machine,

I went into a Konsole screen , I found the mount point of the iso image and requested the execution of VoxLinuxAdditions.run. It worked correctly and finally I was able to see my SharedFolder under the /media directory.

A last thing to mention is that the shared folders are available only to users of the vboxsf group that should have been created automatically during the installation of the Guest Additions.

 

A Video on OpenSuSE Linux 13.1 Installation with VirtualBox

Conclusions

The installation of Linux under VitualBox works pretty well, apart from some difficulties with the Guest Additions that I have described above.

In many ways is a solution that is preferable to the dual boot alternative because it allows you to access both Windows and the Linux without having to re-boot and with the possibility to share data among them by using the shared folders feature.

I am planning to install in future other guest operating systems such as Ubuntu and Mint.

 

 

References

Seven ways to set up multi-booting with Windows 8 and Linux

Copy Files From Host To Virtual Machine In Hyper V

4 Free Virtualization Software Solutions For Windows

Install Linux Mint on VirtualBox in Windows 7 / Windows 8 (Video)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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