How to update ONLY installed apps in Linux?

When I used Ubuntu recently via VirtualBox an Ubuntu update would keep making the system larger. Finally an update would fail since the VM image size would be exceeded. Attempts to prune temp folders did not help or where excruciatingly geeky.

I noticed that the update would be installing things I never used or thought were part of Ubuntu. I don’t use it much, so have not not delved into the intricacies, i.e., end user. So, my question, is Update really an update?

In Cygwin, for example, when you do an update, you can pick a view, New, Updates, etc. I did not find this capability in the GUI update app. It must be there, it’s supposed to be so much better than Windoze. 🙂

I searched the web for an answer, btw. Look, end-users don’t want to do apt-get and other geek fantasmisms, besides, a lot of the pages I found confuse update of apps with update of the system.

When time allows will give more info as to what I used and some of the things that were being updated.

Ubuntu install in VirtualBox gets compiz error

I tried installing Ubuntu 12.04 into VirtualBox 4.2.4 on a Windows 7 laptop and kept getting graphics errors.

Tried again, but this time after creating the VM and before installing Ubuntu, I set the the graphics settings of the VM (via vb console) to 64mb and 3D. Now it installed. I previously tried Ubuntu 12.10 but gave up. Maybe with this preinstall config change I will try again.

Most of the Linux install on VirtualBox instructions skip any configuration of the VM and go straight into installing the guest OS.

Laptop: HP Pavilion dv7, 8GB Ram, quad core i7 CPU, 2.2 GHz. 17″ screen.

Ubuntu 12.04 in VirtualBox 4.2.* on Windows 7

I updated my VirtualBox to 4.2.2. I previously updated Ubuntu to 12.04. Everything is working fine.

My only problem is VirtualBox Guest Additions. I updated it, I think. Or did I? How would I check?
At “how to check version of virtualbox guest additions currently installed…” one of the posts suggests:

lsmod | grep -io vboxguest | xargs modinfo | grep -iw version
version: 4.1.12_Ubuntu

Since I rarely deal with VB installs I never remember the ‘additions’ process.

Oops! You have to install the guest additions in the client Linux OS. After I did this, the VB menu, Machine -> Session Information -> runtime: Guest Additions 4.2.2 r8194.
28 Oct 2012: Updated to VirtualBox 4.2.4 r81684

And the command shows the same:

jbetancourt@jb-vb-acer:~$ lsmod | grep -io vboxguest | xargs modinfo | grep -iw version
version:        4.2.2

Screen capture in Ubuntu running in VirtualBox

Screen capture was not working in a new install of Ubuntu in VirtualBox. The attempts would result in an image of the desktop background. Weird.

Since the default app didn’t work, I installed various other ones. None worked. Finally I installed Gimp. Even that didn’t work.

I think that ruled out an application issue. Left was Ubuntu, Unity desktop, hardware, VirtualBox, or me. Certainly not I.

It was the 3D setting on the virtual machine! Doh! I thought the check box was a request; if the system has no 3D support it would just not use that setting.

VirtualBox: 4.1.6
Ubuntu: 11.10
Host: Windows 7 64bit

Off topic, but what a great rant! “Why I’ve finally had it with my Linux server and I’m moving back to Windows.” I know the feeling. I had Linux running on an old laptop. Then I tried to upgrade the distro. The laptop stopped working. Now nothing installs, Windoze, other Linux distros, nada. Boot sector issues or firmwear issues. I don’t know. One day I’ll buy an enclosure and try to reuse the laptop harddrive as an external USB backup.



Bassnectar – Pleasure the Bassnympho

Amy Winehouse – All my lovin’ (The Beatle’s cover)

Network access to VirtualBox VM?

How I setup a new VirtualBox VM running Ubuntu that could only be reached from the local network. An external network access (using port forwarding at the router) fails.

How I set up a new VirtualBox VM running Ubuntu that could be reached from the local network.

I first used the Bridged Network setup, which did not work. This is on VirtualBox 4.1.4. I have other VB vms where the Bridged Networking does work. hmm.

On this VM I changed networking to:
– NAT. Network Address Translation.
– Defined a Port Forward rule (via Virtual Box GUI). Ports on hosting PC get mapped to the VM guest. For example, 22.
– Made sure the Windows 7 Firewall allowed the external port.
– Defined a port forwarding at my network provider.
– Defined a port forward at my local router.

At least, that is what I think I did. In the turmoil of getting things to work, research what others tried, and then success, it is hard to get the actual process just right.

Saved, then waited; takes a while for everything to percolate through the network. Opened the URL and voila, I have access!

That was not easy! Where is that button?

Further reading

  1. VirtualBox Bridged Network Port Forwarding Issue

Bill Evans Trio – Waltz for Debby [Take 2]

VirtualBox 4.1.4 on Windows 7 with Ubuntu guest

Installing over older version was not that hard this time.

Installing over older version was not that hard this time.

First I created snapshots of each VM in my VirtualBox. Next create a restore point for Windows 7, just in case VB destroys stuff.

Then I downloaded and installed the new VirtualBox 4.1.4. It locked up. Went thru some stuff, showed a full taskbar but nothing. No exceptions or suspicious threads in Windows’s Proc Explorer. Install wouldn’t cancel either, had to kill it. Retried but it said there is another install going on. Did not see one in task list.

I rebooted Windows PC. Tried to start the existing Ubuntu VM, but it failed, one of the virtual network drivers is hosed. Shucks. Hmmm. Maybe VirtualBox will install again? This time I right clicked on the downloaded file and choose “Run As Admin”. It installed!

No 3D Unity interface. Guest Additions not updated. Clicked on device menu and install Guest Additions, nada!. I keep forgetting you have to install it manually for a Linux guest. For this I followed the VirtualBox user manual.

First do the steps in I ran those using sudo. Second, follow steps in Again using sudo. Shut down VM. In the VirtualBox gui, change the Ubuntu display to 3D. Start Ubuntu VM.

Success, I have the Unity interface again.


  • On this system I updated to Ubuntu 11.10 (codenamed Oneiric Ocelot). Works fine.

VirtualBox 4.1.4.
Host: Windows 7 Professional 64bit.
Guest: Ubuntu 11.10 codenamed “Oneiric Ocelot”, Unity desktop.
PC: AMD quad with 8GB ram.
Brain: of carbon-based life form, Earth, Homo sapiens sapiens.

Han Solo and The Princess (Love Theme) from “Empire Jazz”

Guest Additions info incorrect in VirtualBox?

When I go to the menu Machine > Session Information, the runtime tab says my Guest Additions is 4.0.4_OSEr70112. Shouldn’t that be 4.0.8_711778, since that is what I loaded?

Took a bit of effort but I got with my Windows 7 64bit host the VB 4.0.8 update to work with Ubuntu 11.04 w Unity.

When I go to the menu Machine > Session Information, the runtime tab says my Guest Additions is 4.0.4_OSEr70112. Shouldn’t that be 4.0.8_711778, since that is what I loaded?

Here is the info using the VBoxManage CLI:

C:\Program Files\Oracle\VirtualBox>VBoxManage.exe guestproperty enumerate "Ubuntu" | grep -i GuestAdd
Name: /VirtualBox/GuestAdd/Version, value: 4.0.4_OSE, timestamp: 1306626029078892600, flags:
Name: /VirtualBox/GuestAdd/Revision, value: 70112, timestamp: 1306626029079392600, flags:
Name: /VirtualBox/GuestAdd/Vbgl/Video/SavedMode, value: 1920x1105x32, timestamp: 1306626031970259700, flags:
Name: /VirtualBox/GuestAdd/HostVerLastChecked, value: 4.0.8, timestamp: 1306626070499652300, flags:

Hmm, this does show 4.0.8 for one property. Maybe I’m missing some step?

Issues with upgrade?
What were my issues with the upgrade? Ubuntu VM would not complete the boot up. First it was the freeze at checking battery state, then after getting by that, it was the freeze at installing new binary file formats.

I tried some of the suggestions found on the web. The final one I tried is listed below. But, even that didn’t work. Yet after a few reboots of the vm and setting the 3D mode for graphics it finally rebooted fully.

Some links I used to solve issues
Natty Narwhal and Virtual Box

Host: Windows 7 Professional 64bit.
Guest: Ubuntu 11.04 “Natty Narwhal”, Unity desktop.
PC: AMD quad with 8GB ram.
Brain: Belonging to carbon-based life form, Earth, Homo sapiens sapiens.

Upgrade to Ubuntu 11.04 works in VirtualBox 4.0.6

The upgrade was pretty smooth. And, VirtualBox does allow 3D graphic support, so Unity can be used as the UI.

The upgrade to Natty Narwhal was pretty smooth. At first it failed cause my 8GB virtual drive did not have enough free space for the upgrade process. So I ran the Computer Janitor (I think that was the app) to make room. One day I’ll have to figure out how to increase my vm disk size (the snapshots, I read, make this complex).

After that it was pretty quick though at some points it prompted with some Linux geeky questions I had no way of answering, like “do you want to keep the cosmic figenbouton driver file?”. Yea, I said to keep everything. Finally restarted and then it said the Unity Desktop interface could not be used, I needed 3D. So, I shut Ubuntu down and in VirtualBox enabled the 3D options for the Ubuntu VM. Restarted and 3D worked. Hmmm, never did before, and I always had the same graphics card.

Unity looks good. I don’t see the revolution in it yet. The task bar is on the side, the “Start” button is on top, etc. The Launcher is ok. I could not find the Admin apps. It should have at least migrated the former menus into a legacy category. And the default transparency is too transparent.

But, it does rise to the Windows 7 level of usability (I don’t know about the Apple world, I’m not rich). Microsoft needs to innovate more. Stop copying and come up with something. Ubuntu is looking sweet.

Right now I’m listening to a Triple Concerto by Bach that is on my Windows 7 hard drive. It is playing in Ubuntu via the automatic shared drive that VirtualBox now allows. Chrome, FireFox, and Solitare is running in Ubuntu. A bunch of stuff in Windows 7. Pretty cool.

I recommend Ubuntu 11.04 and the Unity interface.

Have been using it today. Unity Desktop has some warts. Once I was moving the mouse into a window so I can drag its right edge and make it wider. The little thumby scroll widget kept cropping up. Ugh! Little things like that. Not much, but they add up. No right mouse button click for properties and other things? Weird. Maybe its an option setting.


How to test Ubuntu 11.04 with Unity in VirtualBox 4.0
Ubuntu (operating system)
The latest Ubuntu Unity: Good or bad?
Eclipse on Ubuntu 11.04 (Natty)


– Oracle VM VirtualBox 4.0.6 r71344
– HP P6230Y
– AMD Phenom II X4 810/2.6 Ghz
– Windows 7 Professional 64bit
– HIS HD 5670 IceQ 1GB (128bit) GDDR5 PCIe Display Port (DirectX 11/ Eyefinity)
– Samsung SyncMaster P2350
– Acer P241w

Ubuntu on Dell Inspiron 1100 laptop?

Can Ubuntu be installed on an old Dell Inspiron 11 laptop?

I was once successful installing Ubuntu on this very old laptop. Since then the hard drive was wiped. Maybe I can install Linux again?

Nope! The latest Ubuntu 10.10 would not. But I think that was a CD media errors since I was getting: SQUASHFS error: Unable to read page, block [letters/digits], size [letters/digits] And, this page says so.

I had an Ubuntu 10.04 LTS CD available so I tried that. Installed fine. However, after I login, the screen gui is blank. I remember this issue and their is a fix or if I have time try to burn another Ubuntu 10.10 CD. Unfortunately the laptop cannot boot off of thumb drive.

Further Info

VB file sharing with Ubuntu guest and Windows 7 host

VirtualBox 4.0 can now mount shared folders automatically! I tried it and can now see my full C drive on Windows 7 from the Ubuntu guest.

VirtualBox 4.0 can now mount shared folders automatically!

Yes, you could always do it with a few edits of some system config files, but this puts it at a non-geek average user level, a file sharing for idiots perhaps. The instructions on creating shares is in the VB manual section 4.3.2 Automatic Mounting.

I tried it and can now see my full C drive on Windows 7 from the Ubuntu guest running in VirtualBox (VB). But, at first, it did not work, and a previous manually mounted share also stopped working, both with access permission problem. The big detail I missed:

Access to auto-mounted shared folders is only granted to the user group vboxsf, which is created by the VirtualBox Guest Additions installer. Hence guest users have to be member of that group to have read/write access or to have read-only access in case the folder is not mapped writable.

So after you create the share you have to add users to the vboxsf group. Using the Ubuntu UI you navigate to System, Administration, Users and Groups, then Manage Groups. Now find vboxsf and show its properties, from there you can add users. Reboot.

From the Oracle VM VirtualBox manual:

4.3.2. Automatic mounting
Starting with version 4.0, VirtualBox can mount shared folders automatically, at your option. If automatic mounting is enabled for a specific shared folder, the Guest Additions will automatically mount that folder as soon as a user logs into the guest OS. The details depend on the guest OS type:

With Windows guests, any auto-mounted shared folder will receive its own drive letter (e.g. E:) depending on the free drive letters remaining in the guest.

If there no free drive letters left, auto-mounting will fail; as a result, the number of auto-mounted shared folders is typically limited to 22 or less with Windows guests.

With Linux guests, auto-mounted shared folders are mounted into the /media directory, along with the prefix sf_. For example, the shared folder myfiles would be mounted to /media/sf_myfiles on Linux and /mnt/sf_myfiles on Solaris.

The guest property /VirtualBox/GuestAdd/SharedFolders/MountPrefix determines the prefix that is used. Change that guest property to a value other than “sf” to change that prefix; see Section 4.6, “Guest properties” for details.

Access to auto-mounted shared folders is only granted to the user group vboxsf, which is created by the VirtualBox Guest Additions installer. Hence guest users have to be member of that group to have read/write access or to have read-only access in case the folder is not mapped writable.

To change the mount directory to something other than /media, you can set the guest property /VirtualBox/GuestAdd/SharedFolders/MountDir.

Solaris guests behave like Linux guests except that /mnt is used as the default mount directory instead of /media.

To have any changes to auto-mounted shared folders applied while a VM is running, the guest OS needs to be rebooted. (This applies only to auto-mounted shared folders, not the ones which are mounted manually.)

VirtualBox: 4.0.0 r69151
Ubuntu: 10.10 (maverick)
Kernal Linux: 2.6.35-24-generic
Window 7:
PC: p6230

Further reading

VirtualBox Shared Folders in Ubuntu 10.10 Guest with Windows 7 Host


Ratkje- Vox