“Budgie-Remix” is born


“Ubuntu Budgie” is  a thing  – its not real – well not yet.

So what will such a thing look like? Enter “Budgie-Remix”.

Ubuntu’s trademark restrictions would not allow some random person or team just to claim their spin as “Ubuntu” – so for the moment I’ve code-named this project Budgie-Remix.

If that sounds spooky – well Ubuntu Gnome in its infancy was known as “gnome-remix” … and funnily enough “Ubuntu Gnome-Remix” – well … it was before Canonical “clarified” its trademark usage.

I’ve spun this out very quickly – don’t even attempt to use this in a production environment.  I’m sure it will eat all your kittens…

budgie [Running] - Oracle VM VirtualBox_127

The base is Ubuntu 15.10 mini iso uplifted to 16.04 alpha.  Look at the readme for further details.  The MD5 is there to make sure your download is successful – if you dont know what that means type in a terminal

md5sum budgie-remix.iso

Out will splurge a number – it should be exactly the same as the  contents of the .md5 text file on SourceForge.

So how was this hacked together? I’ve added my budgie PPA. Hand-cranked a wallpaper, icon and theme via directly editing some base operating files.  LightDM logon screen has been edited manually.

I’ve added Gnome-Software, Nautilus (Files), Gnome-tweak-tool and dconf-editor to the mix.

Then used the wonderful Pinguy Builder to create an ISO.

It’s 64bit only and is only to be used in Virtualbox/Gnome-Boxes etc.

login username is “live” and there is no password


 

Its purpose is for two reasons only – to demonstrate what budgie-desktop actually is and also to understand what actually needs to be done to make a real distro.

Quick – dirty – mission accomplished?

Needs to be refined – it needs some real software development techniques to be applied.

As always – I need people to help in any way they can – testing, coding, packaging – basically anything and everything.  Hit the contact button please!

Stay tuned.

Resolving no shared folders with VMWare Player 7 and Ubuntu 15.04 guest


VMWare Player is actually a very nice stable virtualisation solution … for older operating systems.

If you are using VMWare Player to experiment with newer operating systems like Ubuntu 15.04 you’ll find out quite quickly, standard stuff like vmware-tools fail to work.  The reason for this is that VMWare themselves are not proactive.  They wait months and months before releasing newer versions of their vmware-tools product.

If you want a pro-active hypervisor – choose virtualbox.  However – I’ve found that virtualbox is very unstable – it often crashes and suspending & resuming guests just doesnt work.

So back to VMWare Player.

Ubuntu vivid - VMware Player (Non-commercial use only)_073Shared folders support for the latest Ubuntu 15.04 using the current vmware-tools (v9.9.2) is broken.  If you attempt to install vmware-tools, a whole host of vmhgfs compilation errors are observed.

Fortunately there is a wonderful GitHub Project that maintains support for new kernels – support for both kernel 3.19 and kernel 4.0 is available.

The readme instructions are self explanatory.  Reproduced here – but remember to re-read the readme for changes and updates – don’t forget to show your appreciation and star that repository and use the briliant Flattr to show your support:

To build VMware Tools, do the following:

  1. Checkout the repository:
    git clone https://github.com/rasa/vmware-tools-patches.git
  2. Copy or download the version of VMware Tools you wish to use into the vmware-tools-patches folder. To do this use download-tools.sh and pass it the associated VMWare Fusion version number N.B. this still works with VMWare Player!!:
    cd vmware-tools-patches
    ./download-tools.sh 7.1.1

    It is strongly suggested to use the latest version of VMware Tools.

    VMware Tools is also included inside the linux.iso file that is shipped with VMware Fusion, Player, and Workstation – but you should ignore this version and just grab the latest.

  3. Untar the tarball, and apply the patches:
    cd vmware-tools-patches
    ./untar-and-patch.sh
  4. Run the vmware-install.pl installer to install VMware Tools:
    ./compile.sh

How to install VMWare Player in Ubuntu 14.04


Over the recent weeks I’ve been using VMWare Player to play, experiment and develop in various operating systems & various versions of Ubuntu.

I had been an avid VirtualBox user but I’ve become increasingly disenchanted with VirtualBox unstable nature. I’ve had numerous X-windows crashes & failures to suspend to resume. Every new version it seems brings new problems.

So what other virtualisation software could I use on my Ubuntu 14.04 host? My basic requirements were straightforward:

  • 3D Graphics acceleration – I dont want my guest to behave like a slug
  • ability to share folders with my host easily – I do my developing in Guests but I share data files stored on my Host.
  • easy to move my mouse cursor from Guest to Host without having to use key combinations to release the cursor.
  • must be fairly simple to setup & configure
  • it must be free – free as in beer.

3D Graphics acceleration is the killer feature here for me – without having to use a full bare metal solution, VMWare Player seemed to me to be the only viable solution (at least at the moment). So the following is what I learned – I’ve split this into two posts – the second describes my trials and tribulations trying to convert an existing virtualbox guest to VMWare format.

VMware Player (Non-commercial use only)_001

So how do I install VMWare player on Ubuntu 14.04…

Its not straightforward. There are no debian packages available like VirtualBox.

First Download the 32bit/64bit Linux bundle file from here

Next reach for your terminal and navigate to where you downloaded the bundle file and give it execute permissions

cd ~/Downloads
chmod +x VMWare*.bundle
sudo ./VMWare*.bundle

This will install VMWare Player. However, subsequent to running VMWare Player from the dash it will attempt to compile various kernel modules. This will fail due to kernel 3.13 used in Ubuntu 14.04.

You’ll need to patch the VMWare sources to overcome this. I followed this excellent guide – dont worry, whilst this guide mentions Trusty alpha and vmware player 6.0.1 the instructions equally applies to the latest version of Trusty (at the time of writing 14.04.1) and kernel 3.13.0.36

Once patched, search for VMWare Player in the dash again and this time all will be well and it will fire up.

From VMWare Player you can create new guests.  For older Ubuntu versions such as 12.04, VMWare Player recognises the operating system and provides you a quick and easy wizard to install.  It will install VMWare Tools automatically.

For newer operating systems you’ll need to install VMWare Tools manually – more on that in a later blog article.

Workspace 1_010


Next – how do I run multiple guests at the same time. Unlike Virtualbox, the VMWare Player GUI only allows you to run one guest at a time.

However if you start VMWare Player and then search and start VMWare Player again, a second instance will run – thus you can start a guest from each instance. Its a workaround – not nice but workable.

Better still though would be to run multiple guests directly from the Unity Launcher. This is possible via Drawers – I would warmly recommend you try this. It costs $2.99 from the Software Center. If you short of cash (!) then you can install for free via a PPA:

Workspace 1_009

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ian-berke/ppa-drawers
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install drawers

Now create a .desktop file in the folder ~/.local/share/applications

For example:

gedit ~/.local/share/applications/trusty.desktop

Copy and paste below – change the Exec command to point to the full path of your Guest. Dont forget to change the Name field for what the name of your Guest is.

Save, then open Nautilus and navigate to the .desktop file you just created. Open drawers and drag and drop the .desktop file onto the Draw

[Desktop Entry]
Encoding=UTF-8
Name=Trusty
Comment=Run a virtual machine
Exec=vmplayer "/home/foss/vmware/trusty/trusty.vmx"
Terminal=false
Type=Application
Icon=vmware-player
StartupNotify=true
Categories=System;
MimeType=application/x-vmware-vm;application/x-vmware-enc-vm
X-Desktop-File-Install-Version=0.22
Hidden=false

Repeat for your other Guests.


Conclusions

Well I’ve been using VMWare Player for a three weeks now. I’m fairly happy. Extremely happy that I have had not one single X-Window crash. Suspend and Resume is flawless.

Less happy – if you mouse cursor slips to outside the guest window, even though the guest window is still in focus, you lose the ability to type.

If you using a host application such as firefox and want to flip back to the guest you need to click the VMWare Player window title first to bring the guest back into focus.  This is annoying.

Generally grumpy – there isnt a way to snapshot and revert VMWare Player guests. Where I’m testing stuff that I need to rollback I’m still using VirtualBox’s snapshot facility.

VMWare is supposed to be the king of virtualisation. These niggles such as no debian package, having to patch software, inability to run multiple guests directly from one GUI and the lack of snapshots makes you NOT wanting to give it a try. I note the latest GTK3.14 version of Gnome Boxes has snapshot capabilities – so come on VMWare – if the opensource community is building in what should be deemed essential capabilities – why arent you?

An upcoming article will cover changing VirtualBox guests into VMWare Guests