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VirtualBox

I wanted to try Anjal, the new tiny email client based on Evolution, for my Mini Dell 9. I use Evolution on my (almost)daily computer use, but using Evolution on a rather small screen is not the best thing that could happen, add also that when using Evolution with the Mini 9 and it starts running all my filters (70 so far) it slows down the system and sometimes it takes ages to run them all.

So Anjal seems the best option, but that meant to compile it from scratch and I dind’t want to install all the dependencies on my Mini 9: only 8 GiB (in total) of space on an SSD.

That’s were VirtualBox enter. Instead of really trying it on the Mini, I thought about reproducing a Mini environment on a virtual machine and test it from there.

The first “problem” is: installing ubuntu-netbook-remix with VirtualBox. You can’t obviously use the .img file as an ISO, but you have to convert it and create a VitualBox Disk Image. Thanks to the wonderful documentation shipped with Virtualbox, that’s easy. The command to use is:

VBoxManage convertfromraw INPUT.img OUTPUT.vdi

You can also use the –format {VDI|VMDK|VHD} option to specify the type of disk. Done that, I setted up two “hard disks” inside the new virtual machine: the master with an empty space for storing the installation and the slave with the .vdi file created before.

Run the virtual machine, press F12 to choose the boot options, select the slave disk and install Ubuntu as usual. Installation done, apply Ubuntu’s patches, install guest additions for VirtualBox (you have to reload after each step). The last thing to do, before starting the dependencies download and the compilation process, is to mimic the screen resolution of the Mini 9. And again, thanks to VirtualBox documentation you can do this with the following command:

VBoxManage setextradata “CustomVideoMode1” “1024x600x24”

Add a small option on the kernel line in this case

vga =864

and also edit the xorg.conf.vobx file adding the 1024×600 resolution (this is not writte in the documentation, but I couldn’t make it work with that resolution, so I tried adding the options there, and it worked).

This is the first step, now I should dive into the compile thing, but outside it’s sunny and 28°C, so I’m heading to the beach!