Running Zenwalk as a linux guest on Virtualbox

November 5, 2007 at 5:16 pm 13 comments

Being a lightweight distro, I thought Zenwalk would be a good distro to run as a Linux guest. The problem is that Zenwalk is not one of the distro supported by Virtualbox. Zenwalk 4.8 even froze when installing on Virtualbox 1.5. Fortunately, installation worked on Virtualbox 1.5.2. Unfortunately, the guest addition did not work. Without the guest addition, mouse integration will not work and display will be limited.

To install the guest addition, first login as root and┬áselect “Install Guest Addition”, which mounts the guest addition as a DVD. We then run the guest addition by:


cd /mnt/dvd
sh ./VBoxLinuxAdditions.run.

Unfortunately, when I run VBoxLinuxAdditions.run, I get the following error: Could not find X.org or XFree86 on the guest system. The X Window drivers will not be installed.

The file VBoxLinuxAdditions.run was confusing. The file was a mix of text and binary. After reading the file and playing around with it, I realized that the .run is really some sort of archive installer that uncompress the install files and then delete them. However, there was an option –keep to keep the files around and –noexec to keep it from running. I login as root and copied the VBoxLinuxAdditions.run to a directory and run it with the following options (you can’t run it in the additions directory because it is read-only):

cp /mnt/dvd/VBoxLinuxAdditions.run /root
cd /root
sh ./VBoxLinuxAdditions.run --keep --noexec

This time, an install directory is generated. The routines.sh file contains code to detect what version of Linux you are using and where to install the files. There is no entry for Zenwalk, so the script thinks we are installing in a BSD system. We’ll have to add the code ourselves. In the routine.sh directory, locate the routine check_system_type() and


elif [ -f /etc/zenwalk-version ]; then
ro_SYS_TYPE=
ro_INIT_TYPE=bsd
ro_X11_INIT_DIR=/etc/rc.d

Next, we’ll need to fix that issue with the “Could not find X.org”. Edit the install.sh file and locate the section “Install The XWindow Drivers”. There should be a line:

for dir in /usr/lib/xorg/modules /usr/X11R6/lib/modules; do

The for loop looks through the directories for the modules directory. However, Zenwalk use none of those directories, so we have to add it:

for dir in /usr/lib/xorg/modules /usr/X11R6/lib/modules /usr/lib/X11/modules; do

Now we can install the files by running:

sh ./install.sh

When you exit and log back into the system, you should have a 32-bit screen and mouse integration should be working.

Post script run

There are two problems after the install.

  1. Display is still not at native resolution.
  2. Cut and paste between host and guest is not working.

To fix the resolution, edit /etc/X11/xorg.conf and change the resolutions from “1280×1024″ to “1280×800″.

To fix the cut and paste, go to /etc/X11/xinit/xinitrc.xfce and add the following line


# Virtual Box clipboard
/usr/bin/vboxadd-xclient

before the the line:


# Use dbus-launch if installed

Now both mouse, video, clipboard, and shared folder should work. Note that even thought they work, I find that these features are still a little bit buggy. The clipboard for example seems to not work some of the time. The video seems to flake out when going to full screen. The Shared Folder sometimes get a fsync error. Perhaps Innotek will fix this in future releases.

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Entry filed under: linux, Virtualbox, Virtualization, zenwalk. Tags: .

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13 Comments Add your own

  • 1. RichardS  |  November 20, 2007 at 5:07 pm

    The latest Zenwalk 4.8 LiveCD seems to boot & run nicely in VirtualBox 1.5.2, obviously without “Guest Additions.”

    Reply
  • 2. paulsiu  |  November 21, 2007 at 12:25 pm

    I think most recent version of Zenwalk will probably work fine in the most recent version of Virtualbox. The guest additions is to allow the following functionality:

    1. Mouse Integration.
    2. Better video performance.
    3. Share folders.

    If you don’t add them, you won’t get that fuctionality.

    Reply
  • 3. bioe007  |  November 29, 2007 at 11:31 am

    nice work,

    I have made a patch following this and will submit it to innotek.

    Reply
  • 4. Dave Price  |  January 29, 2008 at 1:16 pm

    I have the guest additions running – kubuntu gutsy guest on an MS-XP host…

    I still get:

    root@davep-vbox:/etc/init.d# mount -t vboxfs wcm /home/davep/wcm

    mount: unknown filesystem type ‘vboxfs’

    Am I missing something?

    Reply
  • 5. paulsiu  |  January 29, 2008 at 11:30 pm

    Dave, don’t name your sharefolder the same as your host folder. If your host folder is wcm, name the sharefolder name as something else ex:

    mount -t vboxfs share /home/devp/wcm

    Reply
  • 6. malloc  |  February 18, 2008 at 10:14 am

    paulsiu: this is non-sense, you can name it whatever you like.

    Dave: mount -t vboxsf wcm /home/davep/wcm

    (vboxsf, not vboxfs)

    Reply
  • 7. paulsiu  |  February 18, 2008 at 2:10 pm

    Malloc, see http://paulsiu.wordpress.com/2007/11/20/tips-on-running-innotek-virtualbox/.

    I have already submitted this as a bug to Innotek.

    Reply
  • 8. churchyard  |  February 20, 2008 at 11:43 am

    I cannot get Zenwalk 5.0 installed – it says, it cannot configure LILO, what is wrong?

    Reply
  • 9. Senthil Kumar P  |  February 21, 2008 at 6:44 am

    Virtual Box does not appear to be happy with the XFS File System (default in Zenwalk 5.0). Try EXT3.

    Reply
  • 10. Go  |  April 15, 2008 at 5:31 pm

    I have also had massive problems with Zenwalk 5.0. I don’t know what the issue is. Very frustrating.

    Reply
  • 11. fornetti  |  August 31, 2008 at 8:03 am

    I do not believe this

    Reply
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  • 13. convert drm videos  |  May 16, 2010 at 9:59 pm

    It’s so great that you share this with us

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