Running Kubuntu under VirtualBox

I’ve written a number of times on this topic, but thought I’d bring it all up to date and draw all the various, disparate posts together.

I use Kubuntu, not as my main OS, but for web development testing, which means I need a broad cross-section of Linux browsers. Therefore I run Kubuntu for it’s KDE interface (and, hence, Konqueror). I do this under VirtualBox – the virtual machine that I’ve found to be the best.

So, here’s my def. guide to creating a web development build of Kubuntu (for the layman, but assuming you can find your way around an OS and VirtualBox a bit). Ok, here goes…

Installing Kubuntu

  1. Download the Kubuntu ISO (I’m using the 32-bit addition) and save on your computer.
  2. If you’ve not already creating a guest machine on VirtualBox, do so. I find an 8GB hard drive, 256MB base memory and 12MB graphics memory is sufficient. I also enable the 3D acceleration and VT-x/AMD-v options.
  3. Attach the previously saved ISO as a mounted CD and boot. This will run through the installation – install this onto the previous created virtual hard drive.
  4. Reboot after the install.

Ok, now you have Kubuntu. Start it up again and we’ll configure it.

Automatic Login

  1. Go into System Settings.
  2. Click on the Advanced Tab and select “Login Manager”
  3. Click on the Convenience tab.
  4. Click on Enable Auto-login and select the user from the drop-down list.
  5. Apply these changes

This has set Kubuntu to automatically log you in each time – a handy time-saver.

Switch off Screen Saver

  1. Go into System Settings
  2. Click on Desktop
  3. Click on the Screen Saver option
  4. Untick “Start automatically”
  5. Apply these changes

Update Build

The next thing I do is to go into the Adept Manager and install any pending updates. This ensures your build is as up-to-date as possible.

Now restart the system.

Installing Linux Additions

Linux Additions is software which improves the interactivity between your host machine and your guest machine – in my case, between Windows XP and Kubuntu.

  1. Start Kubuntu. At the top of the VirtualBox window, select Devices and then click on “Install Guest Additions”
  2. Open up Konsole and run the following…
    sudo aptitude install build-essential linux headers-`uname -r`
  3. Once complete, run the following commands…
    cd /media/cdrom
    sudo sh ./
  4. Once complete you’ll be prompted to restart the system, which you should do.

Once the system has restarted you’ll notice that you’ll be able to cleanly interact with the Kubuntu system via your mouse, without having to click in the window and use a “hot key” to return back to Windows. It will also give you extra video facilities which leads onto…

Improving Screen Size

I don’t know if it’s the same with your build but up until the point I installed the Linux Additions, Kubuntu was displaying in a 800×600 pixel window. However, now it’s gone to 1152×864, which is a lot better. Personally, I’m going to change it, so here’s how to do it…

  1. Go into System Settings
  2. Click on Display
  3. By default the Size and Orientation option should be selected
  4. You should see an option to set the size – change this via the drop-down
  5. Apply these changes

The screen then proceeded to corrupt and I had to reboot the Kubuntu session to get it back – this worked however and my resolution is as I set it.

Installing Browsers

Kubuntu comes with Konqueror. The two further browsers I wish to install are Firefox and Opera.

First of all, Firefox…

  1. Go into Adept Installer
  2. Search for & install Firefox

A simple one that! Now for Opera…

  1. Browse to and download the latest version to your desktop (it should be a .deb file)
  2. Right click and select “Open With” followed by “GDebi Package Installer”

And that should be it. All done. However, each update to Kubuntu normally brings along changes to the above (e.g. with 8.10 I lost the ability to easily specify my monitor and video card hardware).

The plan now is to keep this post up-to-date (I’ll add appropriate comments to highlight where changes are made). In time I’m going to add a selection of FAQ pages to the site, and I’m sure this will become one of them.

Good luck and if you have any problems, please drop me a comment.


7 responses

  1. Cameron Kuykendall avatar
    Cameron Kuykendall

    I’m running Kubuntu 10.04 in VirtualBox, and the cd/media/cdrom command doesn’t work. Help.

    1. I assume you’ve set the drive up within the VirtualBox settings for your Kubuntu image? You have to specify all hardware that you’d like emulating.

  2. When starting a virtual Machine on Virtualbox ,What virtual Machine os
    do you use for kubuntu.
    My current vm (virtualbox) only allocates ubuntu and so forth ,not
    Kubuntu ,Help please thanks,

    1. I’d use Ubuntu – Kubuntu is just Ubuntu with a different GUI.

  3. If you’re having trouble with the ‘cd /media/cdrom’ command, an easier way to get there for folks new to the command line is to type ‘cd’ and then from the Kickoff Application Launcher (start menu) open the File Manager. Assuming you have mounted the guest additions CD image by going to Devices > Install Guest Additions from the VirtualBox menu, you should see the guest additions CD listed on the left. Simply click and drag it to your terminal window. This will autofill the path you’re gonna need to ‘cd’ to.

    Then you can proceed with the rest of the instructions easy-peasy lemon squeezey.

  4. But did you get the BitTorrent version? I was just wondering because I got sort of confused. 🙂

    1. Probably not. There is a “Regular Download” option on the Kubuntu page above the BitTorrent versions.

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