Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Installing Fedora 16 on VirtualBox

Installing Fedora 16 on Virtualbox is a no sweat activity. But for those uninitiated it probably helps to provide a little guidance. See below for one of the many possible configurations:
Name: f16
OS Type: Fedora

Base Memory: 1024 MB
Processor(s): 1
Execution Cap: 100%
Boot Order: CD/DVD-ROM, Hard Disk
VT-x/AMD-V: Enabled
Nested Paging: Enabled
Video Memory: 128 MB
3D Acceleration: Enabled
2D Video Acceleration: Disabled
Remote Desktop Server: Disabled
IDE Controller
  IDE Secondary Master (CD/DVD): Empty
SATA Controller 
  SATA Port 0: f16.vdi (Normal, 80.00 GB)
Host Driver: Windows DirectSound
Controller: ICH AC97
Adapter 1: Intel PRO/1000 MT Desktop (NAT)
Serial Ports

Device Filters: 0 (0 active)
This is typical configuration with NAT networking. So guest can connect to the outside world but the outside world cannot connect to the guest directly.

For this exercise, let use live CD as the media for installation. This should be available directly from Fedora or from a mirror site near you, this sample link is from University of Texas.

With LiveCD available and VirtualBox guest configured, it is now time to power-up the guest and start breezing through the installation. Since the base install is easy, I will just show the highlights during install.

Figure 1. Boot screen

Figure 2. First sign that Fedora 16 does not like VirtualBox or VirtualBox does not like Fedora 16 ;) . Basically this tells us that GNOME 3 detected that the machine is not good enough to run GNOME 3 goodies. The bar now is higher to use GNOME 3, need more powerful machine to enjoy it. But it does fallback pretty good.

Figure 3. Fedora 16 live in fallback mode. Got selected Install Hard Drive here to start installing the software.

Figure 4. Select keyboard

Figure 5. Storage device, using iSCSI? Don't know what it means? Pick the first one.

Figure 6. You are warned, this will destroy any existing data ;)

Figure 7. Hostname, provide name as you like.

Figure 8. Pick your time zone. This is used by the system to figure out your local time.

Figure 9. Set root account password

Figure 10. You familiar with partitioning hard disk and specific layout? Nope? Use default

Figure 11. You are being warned again, this will destroy existing layout and of course data.

Figure 12. Installation complete, that was easy.

Figure 13. Welcome to Fedora!!!

Figure 14. Licensing... you using this at home? Yes, just accept it.

Figure 15. Date and time, do you want to keep your time sync with the rest of the world? Enable Synchronize date and time over the network.

Figure 16. Create user that you will be using on this machine on regular basis

Figure 17. Hardware profile, wanna help a little bit Fedora? Then send profile to them

Figure 18. Login screen

Figure 19. GNOME 3 fallback desktop

Now you should have a working Fedora 16 installation in VirtualBox. If you are adventurous and wanna see how full GNOME 3 looks like, then let us do the following.

Ensure that everything is updated/current:
$: sudo yum check-update
$: sudo yum update
Install supporting libraries and gcc to compile VirtualBox modules:
$: sudo yum -y install gcc kernel-devel
From VirtualBox client window for this guest machine, do Devices | Install Guest Additions... Once ISO is detected, from the terminal do:
$: cd /media/VBOXADDITIONS_4.1.8_75467
Of course, replace the folder above with the version of your VirtualBox. Once inside that folder do:
$: sudo ./VBoxLinuxAdditions.run
Wait for the installation to complete and reboot. Ok, the pain is not over yet. For some reason SELinux and VirtualBox guest additions does not like each other, so we need to let VirtualBox guest additions be exempted from the prying eyes of SELinux. So, do:
$: sudo grep gnome-session-c /var/log/audit/audit.log | audit2allow -M mypol
$: sudo semodule -i mypol.pp
Reboot and congratulations... you now have a GNOME 3 desktop running in VirtualBox. But this is a very short lived celebration as VirtualBox and GNOME 3 are not best of friends :). I find it that it is not stable and gets into your way getting things done. Like not refreshing properly, lock-ups, buttons not responding as you would have expected. To cut the story short, I have to force GNOME 3 to run in fallback mode. Now it is not too bad.

Fedora 16 is free, and I am not directly contributing to the distribution, so the best I can do is praise for the hard work and may the team have the desire to continue to improve the distribution and hopefully in the future get with VirtualBox team and iron out the problems with the integration between these two great projects.


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