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// Tales from software development

SqueezeCenter on Ubuntu 8.10 Desktop on Virtual Server

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Following on from my post on my problems with SqueezeCenter running on Windows Server 2003, I installed Ubuntu 8.10 Desktop on a Microsoft Virtual PC 2004 virtual machine to get a feel for it while waiting for my new Tranquil T7 hardware to arrive.

I’ve heard that Ubuntu 8.10 installs quickly and cleanly but that’s definitely not the case with a Virtual PC 2004 virtual machine. Judging by the number of posts that I found on the problems of installing on a VPC 2004 VM, it’s a well known problem area. It seems to come down to two basic problems – the Ubuntu installer expects to be able to run a  video driver in 24-bit depth and doesn’t recognise a PS/2-type mouse. A VPC 2004 VM emulates 16-bit graphics hardware and a PS/2 mouse. Typical 😉

It’s not that hard to get Ubuntu to boot, you just need to add these options to the kernel line in the GRUB boot definition:

vga=791 noreplace-paravirt i8042.noloop

The 8.10 Live CD allows you to edit the boot commands and add these options. Once you’ce installed Ubuntu you can edit the GRUB boot menu at /boot/grub/menu.lst and add the options. Ubuntu 8.10 disables the root user by default so you should invoke your preferred editor using sudo or gksudo, e.g. open a terminal window and run the command: gksudo gedit /boot/grub/menu.lst.

It took a few hours for Ubuntu to install. It’s fairly common that installing an operating system is very slow with Virtual PC and Virtual Server. Presumably this is due to the amount of disk I/O activity.

I followed the instructions on the SlimDevices wiki to install the debian distribution of SqueezeCenter. It all seemed slick and straightfoward. 

I hadn’t intended to actually run SqueezeCenter on Ubuntu on a VM but as I’d got this far I thought I might as well give it a try. It was a revelation – the SqueezeCenter web UI is more responsive than SqueezeCenter running on Windows Server 2003 on my Tranquil T7. Even running on a VM on an old desktop, SqueezeCenter ran flawlessly on Unbuntu. None of the problems that I’ve been having with SqueezeCenter running under Windows Server 2003 on the Tranquil T7 showed up.

I’m not sure what that says about SqueezeCenter, Windows Server 2003, and Ubuntu and I don’t really care – I’m just happy that SqueezeCenter on Ubuntu looks like a solution to the problems I’ve been having.


Written by Sea Monkey

March 19, 2009 at 8:00 pm

Posted in Environments

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