Our Release Engineering group provides a VMWare VM image of the Linux Reference Platform, which is the VM upon which all of the official Linux builds happen. This is very handy, as you can trade some download time (it’s about 1.2 GB) for the time it would take you to install Linux and setup all the build dependencies. I’m currently running Ubuntu 8.04 64-bit on one of my home machines, and I’ve been using VirtualBox for running VMs on the machine because it was super easy to install in Ubuntu (via apt-get). I found out today that VirtualBox can use VMWare disk images, so you can run the Linux Reference Platform VM pretty much out-of-the-box in VirtualBox.

The steps I took were:

  1. Download the reference platform VM from the link above and unzip it somewhere.
  2. Run VirtualBox, and go to the “Virtual Disk Manager”. Click “Add”, and browse to the directory where you unzipped the VM. Add “CentOS-5.0-ref-tools-vm.vmdk” and “CentOS-5.0-ref-tools-vm_1.vmdk” to the “Hard Disks” list in the manager, then click “Ok”.
  3. Click “New” to create a new VM. Name it whatever you want, and select “Linux 2.6” as the OS. Set the base memory size to something usable on your hardware (but not so small that it can’t compile Mozilla). For the “Boot Hard Disk (Primary Master)”, click “Existing…” and select “CentOS-5.0-ref-tools-vm.vmdk”. Click “Ok”, then “Finish”.
  4. Click on your new VM in the list on the left, and click “Settings”. Click on the “Hard Disks” entry in the list on the left of the Settings dialog. Check “Primary Slave”, click the “Select” button to the right of the drop-down, and choose “CentOS-5.0-ref-tools-vm_1.vmdk”. Click “Ok”.
  5. You should now be able to click “Start” and see your new VM boot. It will complain about a missing disk for the /builds mount, this is normal and shouldn’t be a problem.

You should read the wiki page linked in the first paragraph, as by default the VM is not configured to boot into X windows, but does provide a VNC Server.

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