Sun VirtualBox 2.2

I came across the Open Source Edition of virtual box a few days before and am thrilled at the experience of working with it. For more detailed info visit -> wiki page.

I have a Dell Vostro 1310 laptop with 2GB ram, 128MB NVidia GeForce 8 series card with 160GB hard disk and a 2.1 GHz Intel Centrino (Core2Duo).

The primary purpose to use Windows is for running softwares like FLUENT and CATIA and to play some games occasionally. Dual booting in such a case is a preferrable option but with the availability of the powerful hardware i decided to go in for Virtual Box.

The possible alternatives that pop up are WINE . WINE is an Open Source Software for running Windows applications on other OS’s is a good alternative if you lack the hardware to carry out virtualization. However , making larger programs like FLUENT and CATIA work with wine can be a hassle. In such cases virtualization comes in very handy.

Another problem I was facing with WINE was its lack of connectivity with the Local Network i.e. I could not connect to the LAN , probably coz WINE couldnt access the ports on the system. Hence , playing Age Of Empires on the LAN was impossible.

Working with VirtualBox and configuring it on LAN was easy and hassle free. Also , I managed to play AOE on LAN without any lag in the system.Read further to know more on going about the installation.

Virtual Box emulates hard disks in a special format known as the “Virtual Disk Images”. These files are normally stored in $HOME/.VirtualBox/HardDisks. It supports both  Intels VT-x and AMD-V.

To install VirtualBox download the deb/rpm package from here .

Further in the terminal cd to the location where you have downloaded the deb/rpm package. In my case it being $HOME/Desktop. The following commands will run in Ubuntu 8.10 .Then run the following commands to install the software.

sudo dpkg - i virtualboxversionname.deb

Follow the instructions in the dialog boxes. Make sure that you have gcc installed prior to it as it requires it to compile the kernel modules.If you wish to work your way around the installation with apt-get then do the following .

1. Open /etc/apt/sources.list and add this line deb intrepid non-free
sudo gedit /etc/apt/sources.list

2. Import sun public-key and register it using apt-key (wget is for downloading, apt-key is for registering the key to your machine)

wget -q -O - | sudo apt-key add -

3. Update your system’s package index file

sudo apt-get update

4. Install virtualbox 2.2

$ sudo apt-get install virtualbox-2.2

The installation wont proceed until the necessary kernel packages are compiled.

If you wish to do so later make sure that you run:

sudo /etc/init.d/vboxdrv setup

Restart your computer. A suitable icon would come in Applications -> System Tools.

Start the Application.

To create a new Virtual Machine click new and follow the instructions on the wizard.Make sure that you give suitable amount of RAM. My system without the VirtualBox uses 458 MB of RAM as shown by System->System Monitor. I alloted around 1.1GB for Windows XP on VirtualBox.On running FLUENT the system monitor showed usage of 1.5GB of RAM with a small amount of SWAP usage . Make sure that you do not give too much to VirtualBox as it will affect the performance of the system. For Vista , a minimum allocation of 1GB of RAM is necessary for smooth operation.

If you have a CD/DVD image for install load it in the CD/DVD ROM tab in the settings tab. If you want to install via a CD  in your drive make sure that you check the Host CD/DVD drive option.


After the installation sharing files between the host (your computer) and the guest (virtual OS) can be done via adding the suitable share paths in Folders option. However , this didnt work for me that well and Windows XP on the VirtualBox did not recognize the network and the shared folders. I circumvented it for the time being by sharing the necessary files via ftp by copying suitable files in /home/ftp/ . For a permanent solution however I decided to share the files via the SAMBA server protocol. Install SAMBA and share the folders you want to over the network . Windows XP would recognize these and file sharing is easier.

To connect to the LAN via the ethernet controller on your system do the following :

Select the suitable OS and in the Settings -> Network Tab enable Adapter 1 and select the Bridged Network option in the Attached To drop down list.


There are certain issues with allocation of IP via the DHCP method with version 2.2 with XP as the Guest . It seems SUN has fixed the problem as mentioned here and would make the patch available in the forthcoming releases . Configuring a static IP works fine.

Run all the required programs as usual. You do not have to install the drivers if you are working on a Laptop. All the best with the virtualization .

Also keep visiting the official VirtualBox website for updates and the discussion forums.


i) Sharing Folders was cumbersome in my case though its worked for many as per the internet.

ii) Network speeds are fairly low.

A pic showing FLUENT running in the Guest OS with the System load.



Jai Gurudev.

Downloading using wget via a proxy server

Sadly i am unable to update fedora 9 via the proxy server in our college and hence am still stuck using Firefox 3 Beta 5. I had some problems saving the pdf files once they opened in evince in the web browser and hence decided to use wget for the downloads.

Downloading using wget :

//First set the http_proxy variable to the necessary address

export http_proxy=’http://ur.proxy.server:port’

//and then in the wget command line execute with an option –proxy=on

wget –proxy=on http://whatuwant

u can use other options as –proxy-user and –proxy-password for password protected proxies

u can switch of the proxy with –proxy=off

Jai Gurudev

EDIT: Once this proxy variable is set all your apps which require proxy server settings can run from the CLI. After this i was able to update my system via yum after doing a bit moving…. Theres a GUI too for this .

In Fedora : Places => Preferences => Network .

MGL – Cont…

MGL part one has come to an end..(part one stands for the first batch). Thanks to all those who made it possible…. On the second and third day a lot of  techy stuff was taught in the class , which probably was not appreciated by everyone (Considering the amount of walling going on…. 😉 )Anyways it was a lot of hard work put in by Abhilash ,Balki and Surya for their C programming and Shell Scripting lectures respectively.Installing and repo config was handled by Arun and Harini.Networking was handled by Akhil,Sanket and me. We did not enjoy taking it that much coz with the lack of root permissions to everyone no one could practice something really worthwhile….(like setting up web pages…basic ones…or starting the services one was interested in.)Last times pengufest was really nice even though there were a handful of them there. Anyways kudos to everyone…. Next batch starts from Monday and looking forward to teach in them and improve on our mistakes …..

Bye gtg…have to mail prof the soln and also complete mechatronics assignment….. Bye,cya….

Jai Gurudev!!


Finally MGL is underway and its nice to see a good turnover for these classes.We had 140 paid registrations in just two days of putting up of the poster.A big contrast to what happens for Art Of Living courses….. you get 140 paid registrations in about a month if you have a good enough dedicated volunteer base…..Suprising isnt it ….. people are reluctant to do something as wonderful as the AOL courses….(For anyone who hasnt done it ……. its a ‘breathtaking’ course…… 😉 (pun intended)).

Anyways coming back to the topic…..Yesterday was the first day of the MGL classes with topics like Introduction to Linux , Basics of OS, The Linux Equivalent Project and file hierarchy being taught. Sathya did a nice job with the introduction and JC was really good with his short and energetic intro to “What is an OS”. This was followed by Shantanu,Uday who spoke on a few more topics like whats a shell etc.The Linux Equivalent Project intro was taken up by Nikhil and Vivek.And finally file hierarchy was taught by Tirth(He kept it short and sweet…… 🙂 ).

Abhilash did a wonderful job with maintaining the site.

Thanks to everyone who has contributed for a really nice opening to the classes…… 🙂 ….You guys rock…… :).


Akhil will be teaching Vim basics ,Kra .. File Permissions and Balki and Surya .. Shell Scripting……. The enjoyable grind begins……. 😉

Jai Gurudev!

OS bloopers

  • Tech Support: “May I ask what operating system you are running today?”
  • Customer: “A computer.


  • Friend: “I heard about this thing called ‘Linux’.”
  • Me: “Oh, I use Linux.”
  • Friend: “What is it?”
  • Me: “An operating system.”
  • Friend: “Like Firefox?”


Overheard in a software shop:

  • Woman #1: “What this Linux thing?”
  • Woman #2: “It’s a program that if you have it on your computer, you can’t turn the computer off.”
  • Woman #1: “Oh.”


  • Tech Support: “How can I help you?”
  • Customer: “Well, everything is working fine, but there is one program that is not.”
  • Tech Support: “What program is it?”
  • Customer: “It’s called ‘MSDOS Prompt’.”
  • Tech Support: “What’s wrong with it?”
  • Customer: “Well, I click on it, a black screen shows up with NOTHING but a sign that reads: ‘C:\WINDOWS>’, and it just sits there and doesn’t do anything. I have to turn off the system to go back to Windows.”


Creating a mirror of a website in Linux.

GNUs wget command line program is a very popular for downloading single files from a server. It is much more powerful than that and offers some really cool features.One of them is the mirror feature. Suppose you want to mirror a website say: . In its very basic form you can use it as follows

$ wget -m

However , this can be troublesome as the links on the mirrored website will be pointing to the actual links and not on the relative links. to fix this add the option -k to the command to fix this as follows:

$ wget -mk

Another issue is of bandwidth. You are going to put some strain on the remote server if your planning to mirror a website directly.Hence one of the ways in which you can purposefully slow down your download is by using -w option as follows:

$ wget -mk -w 20

This will delay the requests to the server by 20 seconds.add the suffix m for delay in minutes,d for delay in days.

Rsync is equally good in mirroring websites … but you need ssh access on the remote server. By using wget u can mirror the public files on the remote server.

YUM tips and tricks

This is a post from KageSenshi’s blog.A very active member of the Malaysian Open Source Software community.Many have complained that yum isnt as fast as apt-get . These are 12 tips and tricks which will help you make yum work faster and better.

YUM Update Manager is the default package manager used in Fedora and Fedora derivatives. It is written in Python and have tonnes of features which average Joe might not know about. These additional features helps a lot on maintaining your system, improving your experience using the package manager and become more productive. Granted, yum depsolving and querying is quite slow compared with APT, but the flexibility and power yum grant to its users, its worth it.

Tips 1: Fastest Mirror

This is usually the very first yum plugin I install in a new Fedora deployment. What does it do?, well, the name tell it all. The plugin will time all the servers in the replied mirrorlist from, and pick the one which is the fastest for you. Everything is done automagically, and considering its a YumCore class of plugin, it works with whatever GUI you use for yum.

To install this plugin, use

yum install yum-fastestmirror

Unlike APT which you had to pick the fastest mirror yourself, yum handles this more elegantly

The plugin, after it has checked which server is the fastest, it will store a metadata in /var/cache/yum/timedhosts.txt . That metadata will expire after some time. However, if somehow, the cached timedhosts are no longer fast, you can easily force yum to recheck for fastestmirror by deleting that file.

Tips 2. Security Only Update

This tips helps a lot for users who can’t keep up with Fedora updates. Fedora is well known for its very fast updating “updates” repository. Things get old quite fast in Fedora. Some people however, are afraid of updating their system to the latest updates packages, mainly because sometimes, these updates, suddenly break stuff as Fedora updates are not backport of fixes but rather moving forward to a newer version. One way to get around this overly sized and numbered updates is by only updating the system with security updates. Theres a plugin for yum for this purpose, and you can install it through

yum install yum-security

To use this plugin to update your computer to the latest security fixes, just use

yum –security update

I have a detailed post about this plugin here

Tips 3: Presto

If you are on a budget internet connection with very limited bandwidth, yum-presto is for you. The presto plugin will download deltarpms, which are the changes of the current version installed in your computer and the one on the internet. This will drastically reduce your download size and you can get your updates faster.

Work is being done to integrate Presto to Fedora’s base repositories, however, the developers are still facing problem trying to integrate Presto with Koji and Bodhi, the buildsystem and the updates pushing system of Fedora. Therefore you will need to configure Presto after installation by following the details at

To install this plugin, use:

yum install yum-presto

Tips 4: Do NOT Mix Repositories!

Mixing repositories .. is BAD. There are a lot of repositories out there for you to choose from if you google enough. However, these repositories doesn’t necessarily compatible with Fedora base repositories or between each other. I would only recommend users to install only Livna and small repositories which provide a small number of packages like Adobe Linux flash repository or Google’s Apps repositories. Livna is the best because of their packages follow closely with Fedora’s Packaging Guideline, so, you can expect that their quality of packages are as good as the real thing.

Good news that Livna, Freshrpms and Dribble are merging to form RPMFusion. Until RPMFusion is launched, just stick with Livna.

Tips 5: Broken dependencies? Skip them

Once you start installing 3rd party repositories, broken dependencies is a risk you will need to take on. This usually happens when the base repository and the 3rd party repository’s packages are not in sync with each other. There is a yum plugin to help you automatically skip these broken dependencies together with packages which are affected by it. Its called yum-skipbroken. In rawhide F9, skip-broken have been merged with the core yum. I am not sure about F8.

To use it, just use the –skip-broken option parameter on the command line.

yum –skip-broken update

If the option is not available for your Fedora installation, try installing the plugin through

yum install yum-skipbroken

Tips 6: Using proprietary drivers? lock your Xorg and Kernel version!

This plugin is very useful for users who are using proprietary drivers or kernel modules and would like certain packages to remain as it is to avoid breaking the drivers. I found this useful when I installed Fedora in a friend’s computer and he/she needed to use a proprietary driver. I would lock his/her kernel and xorg from upgrading (yes, somehow this approach feels ugly, but it helps preventing them away from updating things which might break the driver)

To install, use:

yum install yum-versionlock

Documentation on how to use it is available in /usr/share/doc/yum-versionlock-%{version}/README

Tips 7: Keep the cache for future use

Yum by default does not keep it cached downloads. You can change this behaviour through editing the yum config and change keepcache=1.

The yum cache directory, /var/cache/yum can be useful if you are going to play around a lot to the point that you might need to reinstall you Fedora installation frequently. It helps saving some time to redownload all those packages all over again. Just copy the rpm packages in that directory out, and you can reuse it later. You can also create a repository out of it using createrepo.

Tips 8: For organizations, create local mirrors!

It easy to create local mirrors for YUM repositories. There are several way of doing it – Rsync, or reposync (provided by yum-utils package). In normal situation I would recommend using rsync, but for poor me who in a college that blocks rsync, I uses reposync. Reposync downloads through http, but a bit harder to use to setup a usable repository.

A documentation on how to start contributing as a mirror is available here:

After you’ve get your mirror synced, get yourself a Fedora Account, and register yourself with Fedora’s MirrorManager. The beauty here is, from the MirrorManager, you can set, for example, any requests for mirrorlist from your organization’s public IP, will be replied with the URL to the mirror in your LAN IP. Your users won’t know that they are using a LAN mirror! It JustWorks!. This is something APT won’t give you :P. You can also set your mirrors to be available to certain range of IP/countries or not.

Tips 9: Detect problems early. Use package-cleanup

Sometimes, you might get your installation interrupted or some crazy happening which your installed package database goes crazy with duplicate packages or broken dependencies. There is one tool which helps a lot in tracing the problem and its called package-cleanup. This tool is provided by the yum-utils package, so to acquire it,

yum install yum-utils

Several common commands I usually use:

package-cleanup –dupes # list out duplicates
package-cleanup –cleandupes # clean up duplicates
package-cleanup –problems # list out packages with broken dependencies

More options? .. invoke the –help parameter

Tips 10: Download packages for usage later, together with dependencies

Sometime, you might want to download packages with its dependencies but without installing it and you want to have it easily copyable to another computer with exactly the same installed package list with your computer. yumdownloader (provided by yum-utils package) tool is great for this. You can use it to, for example, build reusable packs for a bunch of identical computers, and distribute them. You can also use it for grabbing the source rpm of a package, just in case you want to hack some stuff from the package.

My usual use of yumdownloader:

# download source package
yumdownloader –source packagename

# download a package, together with
# dependencies needed on my computer
yumdownloader –resolve packagename

# download a package, together with
# dependencies needed on a different
# chroot/mounted Fedora install
yumdownloader –resolve packagename –root /path/to/chroot

Theres another trick of using the yumdownloader with chroot, by copying /var/lib/rpm folder, you can make use of the rpm profile to download packages for a friend’s computer and pass it in a CD. This concept is what being used in opyum (a similar tool like APTonCD) to build what debarashi call as YumPacks. Opyum is cool, but somehow I feel creating the set manually is more comfortable for me. Telling a user to pass me the /var/lib/rpm folder is much easier and quicker rather than telling them to install opyum and guide them through how to create a profile. Though, that is my personal preference, opyum is still a great tool to use for “users” who don’t know how to mess with the CLI tricks.

Tips 11: Clean caches first if somehow yum behave weirdly

Sometimes the files cached in your computer might be broken because of some reason or another (I usually getting this problem in my university, with my hackish Fedora repository mirror – so, the metadata tend to be a crazy broken metadata once in a while). Try cleaning the cache first and retry. Chances are the problem is from there. To clean whatever cached files in your yum cache, use:

yum clean all

Tips 12: When yum fails miserably for everything, fear not, APT and Smart are there to save the day

Fedora have APT too!!!. Those from debian roots who can’t seem to get away from APT, just install apt-rpm. You’ll get your familiar package manager again~ :D. Another available package manager for Fedora is smart.

One beauty about apt-rpm and smart on Fedora, they all uses the generic repository metadata similar to yum. That means, all yum repositories will work with apt-rpm and smart effortlessly!. 🙂

Pengufest , Pragyan ’08

Pengufest is all about Linux and Open Source Software. It initially started out as a mass linux installation fest.This year we had along with the usual installations fest, a few lectures from NRCFOSS contributors and a number of small workshops conducted by second years. It was really amazing to see the amount of code our seniors contributed to OSS . The work and effort they put in is tremendous. As a first step towards contributing to this community, Akhil Sanket and I conducted a workshop on Basic Networking in Linux. It was fun preparing all the pamphlets and the presentations. U learn a lot when u do it by urself tweaking things to make them work correctly. Thanks to Suren , he organised it brilliantly.

Bye, C u @ Pengufest , Pragyan 09.