A couple of days ago I posted about my experience in setting up Ubuntu 8.10 as a virtual machine under Windows Virtual PC. I was so insanely surprised at the ease of that installation that I decided to try doing it all over again with Fedora 10.
That was a colossal mistake.
I think part of the mystique behind Ubuntu as the next real viable alternative to Mac and Windows as an operating system is its total ease of use and installation. Even in a VM it was super easy to install and get working. Whether it was Wubi or a straight install, Ubuntu is just easy to install. Kubuntu is too. And for those that need super ultra easy Xubuntu is the way to go.
Fedora however is not at all on par with Ubuntu when it comes to ease of use. Fedora has never been easy to install or use and trying to get it into a VM was no exception.
I started out like I did with Ubuntu by trying a live install ISO. That failed miserably because the installer could not get through the first step. So I moved to the full install DVD ISO. Again, epic fail. After several failed attempts I ended up downloading and installing by way of the text based internet installer.
The text based installer worked, but it took about four hours (the first run did – yes, I said first run) as it downloaded various packages for installation. It also didn’t help that I didn’t know about a huge boot bug that would render a perfectly good installation as a black screen of crap. So after a few hours of actually getting Fedora 10 installed correctly – and without knowing it – I reinstalled it thinking I had screwed up. That was another four hours or so down the toilet.
After getting the second good install installed I had to figure out why I was getting that stupid black screen. It ended up being that the Fedora text based installer seems to not be able to pick up the monitor its on and chooses to not install a default monitor like Ubuntu does, so it just leaves it and tries to pick it up later. But it never gets there so it tries to display into nothing. So with a little research in hand and some googling done, I learned that if I hit a down arrow key immediately on start up I get access to the GRUB boot loader and I can edit the start up commands. Armed with that I was able to get some stuff handled.
The first thing I had to do was, at the
kernel ... line, enter “e” to edit the loader and add
vga=0x32D then enter “b” to continue booting. After that I followed a small bit mentioned in this tutorial about Installing Fedora 10 on Virtual PC about installing the system-config-display package and reconfiguring your display configuration.
Once that was done I was able to get logged in to Fedora to the command prompt. But I didn’t get a desktop yet. After some work I was able to figure out that since there was really no display set that even changing the default run level from 3 to 5 would not force Fedora to boot to desktop. Entering the
init 5 command at the prompt would take me to a GUI, but it would only allow me to restart or shutdown once there.
However I was able to get to a desktop by entering
startx at the prompt, which allowed me to setup a default user instead of root. But…
That is where it stops. I haven’t had the time to get this tested further. I will be spending more time on this, but I believe I will be spending that time in VMWare instead of Virtual PC because of the cross platform compatibility and portability. But if you are looking to setup a Linux install as a VM in Virtual PC, do yourself a favor and use Ubuntu instead of Fedora. It will be way better for you.