Tame the Latest VirtualBox under Ubuntu

Sometimes one has need of virtualization. I am one; I had need. I like VirtualBox well enough. It’s no VMWare, but then again it doesn’t cost anything for me to use VirtualBox at home. Also, I would like to set up a PPA repository on my Ubuntu machine so that updates for VB come through Synaptic (or apt-get if you prefer). Sounds complicated, I know, but really it’s pretty easy. Here’s how.

I am using Ubuntu 10.04 (also called Lucid or Lucid Lynx); you may use these directions for other versions of Ubuntu (or perhaps other Debian variants), but you will have to make the appropriate adjustments.

First of all you will need to add the repository to your Software Sources (System —> Administration —> Software Sources —> Other Software tab —> Add button).  Here is the APT Line you’ll need:

http://download.virtualbox.org/virtualbox/debian lucid contrib

Once you have that repository in place, you’ll want to get the key for that repository so you can attach to it securely.  I prefer to do this via the terminal (Applications —> Accessories —> Terminal).  As it happens you can also add the repository via the terminal and so I’ll include both commands for you here:

# You may add the repository using this command:

sudo add-apt-repository "deb http://download.virtualbox.org/virtualbox/debian lucid contrib"

# You may add the key using this command:

wget -q http://download.virtualbox.org/virtualbox/debian/oracle_vbox.asc -O- | sudo apt-key add -

# You will be asked for your password to run these administrative level commands to make changes to your system.


Ok. Now that you have added these you will find there are various versions of VirtualBox in Synaptic. Pick the one you’d like to install and mark it for installation. I’m currently running 4 (actually 4.1.2 I believe). I was using 2 up until today when I upgraded to 4 so I know at least those two work.

According to this article there are some extras you can install, plugins for VirtualBox, by downloading them and pointing VirtualBox at them. They can be found on the VirtualBox site (which uses Edgesuite for content delivery).  I haven’t tried the extras so I can’t say anything about them, but they sound like they are worth having.  You can read about them and download them here.

I hope that helps you get virtualized.


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