Sunday, May 10, 2009

Playing Around with Ubuntu Netbook Remix on VirtualBox

Image by via Flickr
Noticing that the Ubuntu Netbook Remix has been promoted to front page status on the site, I decided to try out the 9.04 version. There are a couple of issues along the way if you don't want to burn the image: the instructions for getting it to work are below.

  1. Install VirtualBox, either by or by installing the FOSS version from the repository.
  2. Download the .img file from the UNR download site. Use BitTorrent if you can -- it's faster and easier on the mirrors.
  3. Convert the.img file into a VirtualBox .vdi file. In order to do that, you'll need to use VirtualBox's command line. Open a terminal and cd to the directory that you've downloaded the ubuntu-9.04-netbook-remix-i386.img file to. When there, issue the following command:
    VBoxManage convertdd ubuntu-9.04-netbook-remix-i386.img ubuntu-9.04-netbook-remix.vdi
    This will leave you with the original file and a new file, ubuntu-9.04-netbook-remix.vdi.
  4. Create a new machine in VirtualBox with a 4GB hard disk, choosing "Linux" as the operating system and "Ubuntu" as the version. Give the machine between 512MB and 1GB RAM. Increase the video memory to 16MB. Finish and close the wizard.
  5. Add the Netbook.vdi file as a second hard disk. Open the "Hard disk" tab of the machine's properties, and click the plus icon, setting the new drive as "Primary slave." Select the ubuntu-9.04-netbook-remix.vdi file, adding it with the Disk Manager when requested.
  6. Boot the machine and hit F12 to choose to boot from the second hard disk. You'll need to press "2."
  7. Choose your language and to "Install Ubuntu Netbook Remix." I won't explain how to do that here. You can give it the whole disk. It should be a simple, if slow, process.
  8. Reboot the computer. You'll be in the UNR interface, but it will be dog slow because of the generic VESA driver being used. Luckily, there's a way around that problem.
  9. Install the Guest Additions. While the machine is running, go to the machine's VB menu and choose Devices -> Install Guest Additions. If you are using the open source version of VirtualBox, you'll probably be prompted to download the Guest Additions .iso file, which will take a few minutes. The disk will appear in the right-hand menu bar. Click on it to make sure the CD is mounted. Open a terminal (in Accessories) and type the following:
    cd /media/REACTOS
    sudo ./

  10. Install updates. You should be prompted for this. I won't detail it.
  11. Reboot and use the computer. Mine is still a little slower than it should be, but it's OK with the Guest Additions installed.
UNR is an interesting and innovative interface. It gets good use of low screen resolutions, and it does this without creating a one-off interface: all the changes use the Gnome framework (e.g. the panel mods are simply panel applets).


  1. May 10, 2009 03:53 AM

    Looks like an interesting bug with the panel in the screenshot.

  2. Tim AshleyJun 5, 2009 12:13 PM

    If you're having slow and sluggish GUI with Ubuntu Netbook Remix you need to patch your kernel. I found two .deb packages that will do it for you!

    Get them here:

    Worked great for me!

  3. Jun 29, 2009 12:57 PM

    Thanks for the help!

  4. Oct 4, 2009 04:25 PM

    thx a lot. it's done :)


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