[IAEP] [Sugar-devel] A Virtual Box solution that works with Sticks

Gary C Martin gary at garycmartin.com
Wed Sep 23 22:19:45 EDT 2009

Hi Dave,

On 24 Sep 2009, at 01:55, Dave Bauer wrote:

> Last I checked virtualbox could not boot from USB on a Mac. This may  
> have changed in a more recent version.

Yep correct, that is still the case**. But, we were not talking about  
booting USB. Just mounting it and using the data-store from there,  
tweaking a VM for deployment 'should' be small change. This of course  
runs into all the 'what version of Sugar is installed in the VM' vs.  
'what version of data-store is installed on the stick' but for a small  
deployment with control over both, and with specific HW needs, I don't  
see this as an issue.

Additionally, if some data-store validation checks could be put in  
place I could even see this being a very positive feature for Soas and/ 
or upstream Sugar; an ideal little solvable issue for the two to  
resolve in a way that would benefit any deployments with old or not  
currently compatible hardware (where either the OS or a VM has to be  
run from the physical machine).

** unless you put the whole damn vdi on the stick and forgo the idea  
of booting the stick independently as a normal OS, though there could  
be room to investigate booting of a small partition with a reliable  
host OS that did nothing but dive right into the VM for those cases.  
Seems doable, but scary. Would much rather spend effort in finding a  
way to boot a USB directly – likely requires providing a Mac only  
image, though they can quite happily boot from USB, they just require  
correct boot formats (EFI for Intel Macs) but current Linux's seems  
well behind that curve. Most other HW manufacturers are still on old  
BIOS set-ups, Macs can support this for booting, Boot Camp does just  
this, but not for booting from USB devices unfortunately.


> Dave
> On Wed, Sep 23, 2009 at 8:12 PM, Gary C Martin  
> <gary at garycmartin.com> wrote:
> Hi Bill,
> On 24 Sep 2009, at 00:17, Bill Bogstad wrote:
> > On Wed, Sep 23, 2009 at 4:26 PM, Gary C Martin
> > <gary at garycmartin.com> wrote:
> >
> >> Sure, you could just link the ~/default/datastore directory on  
> the VM
> >> to the matching location on the stick. I'm not sure how the pretty
> >> way
> >> to do this would be (likely at this moment in time would be just
> >> tweaking the VMs to assume the stick was there). Pop stick in, then
> >> run the VM would be the workflow once set-up. From a future stand
> >> point, you'd likely want to push upstream for a feature where Sugar
> >> checked for valid (and correct version) data-stores on start-up
> >> (perhaps with a UI if more than one valid data-store was found), so
> >> any external media device, or perhaps even mounted network volume
> >> could become the default data-store for that session.
> >
> > Could you clarify what you are suggesting?   Most VMs (including
> > VirtualBox) typically use large files within the host  environment  
> to
> > provide the contents of virtual disks to the OS running under
> > virtualization. By default VirtualBox uses a format that dynamically
> > allocates in the real filesystem as the guest OS actually writes to
> > the virtual disk.   I don't think this file is going to be directly
> > compatible with any file (or filesystem image) that SoaS is  
> storing on
> > a USB stick.  If you were thinking of something else, please let me
> > know.
> Yes, I routinely use the "Shared Folders" feature for VirtualBox on
> the Mac :-) Every thing Sugar flavour I work on resides there for easy
> access between different VMs. VirtualBox treats this as a device
> (after installing guest additions) so after a reboot I run:
>        sudo mount -o uid=500 -t vboxsf <name_you_give_share>
> <name_of_intended_mount_point>
> ...which should should do the trick.
> Also be aware that you need to tell VirtualBox it's allowed to use
> USB, I think it defaults to allow, but you can also filter for named
> devices if that makes more sense in a deployment. I would also want to
> sanity check the shut down process to make sure we didn't bork users
> sticks at the end of a session.
> Ping if you'd like to work this through, should be easy enough for me
> to set up a test cycle here if you think this is valuable.
> Regards,
> --Gary
> _______________________________________________
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> -- 
> Dave Bauer
> dave at solutiongrove.com
> http://www.solutiongrove.com

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