Minimalistic Ubuntu Virtual Machine with VirtualBox on Win 7

I've been meaning to create a minimalistic Linux Virtual Machine that I can clone and adapt to particular needs for a while now and today I finally got around to doing it:
  • Download VirtualBox from here (free for personal use).
  • Download an Ubuntu Minimal CD Instal iso from here (I used 9.10 x32).
  • Open VirtualBox and create a New virtual machine by following the prompts (I gave mine 384MB RAM and a 7GB dynamic disk (this is the MAX size)).
  • Once the VM is created, click on settings and tweak whatever you like. Select to mount your Ubuntu ISO in the storage area.
  • Start the VM and at the Ubuntu installer boot: prompt type cli and press enter.
  • Follow the installer wizard selecting appropriate values (I selected to install on entire HD with no LVM).
  • Once the installation is complete, unmount the ISO and restart the VM.
  • Once at the Ubuntu terminal:
  • >>sudo gedit /etc/apt/apt.conf
  • ----ACQUIRE {http::proxy "http://username:password@proxy:port/"}
  • >>sudo aptitude install xorg ---(the graphical core)
  • >>sudo aptitude install xfce4 ---(minimalistic window manager)
  • >>sudo aptitude install gdm ---(graphical login manager)
  • >>startx ---(load the window manager)
  • At this point you may want to shutdown the machine and create a clean snapshot.
  • Fire the machine back up and install remaining packages you're interested in, e.g:
  • >>sudo aptitude install firefox
The snapshots allow you to change between different states of the machine so you can have multiple Firefox versions in different snapshots that all branch from the clean install.

And for anyone thinking of using the Windows 7 Virtual PC VM instead, not such a good idea. I tried installing Ubuntu 9.10 minimal on my Win 7 Pro x64 laptop within Virtual PC. Installation completed successfully but after a restart I was greeted by segfaults. Turns out this is a very common problem that can be worked around by assigning more ram to the VM image, but even then you get no guarantees of things randomly failing.


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