[fedora-virt] Distributing Fedora 11 Created Virtual Machines

Robert L Cochran cochranb at speakeasy.net
Tue May 26 21:50:03 UTC 2009

On 05/26/2009 05:35 AM, Daniel P. Berrange wrote:
> On Sun, May 24, 2009 at 09:40:01PM -0400, Robert L Cochran wrote:
>> I have a virtual machine created on Fedora 11 which runs Ubuntu 9.04. I
>> have some more customizations to do with the machine, such as getting it
>> to speak to (FTDI 232R-based) USB devices. When that is done, I would
>> like to copy the virtual machine to a USB flash drive and postal mail
>> that to a teacher. The scenario I'm envisioning is that the teacher can
>> then import the virtual machine and play it on his or her computer --
>> whatever that computer is, perhaps a Windows machine running VirtualBox
>> or VMWare. Not necessarily a machine running Fedora 11, you see. Now we
>> have my first question: can she run my virtual machine on another
>> virtual machine manager, which is not necessarily a Fedora product?
> There's no easy answer to that question. it really depends how you
> configured the virtual machine, and the OS installed inside it. For
> example if you configured 'virtio' disks, then you'll likely have
> trouble making it work in VMWare or VirtualBox. To a certain extent
> Linux can cope with hardware changing&  automatically reconfigure
> itself, but it depends on exactly how well the distro in question
> is put together.   The only way to be sure of success is to actually
> test your viurtual machine image in VirtalBox&  VMWare yourself
> and fixing any portability problems you encounter.
>> To go on with the story I'd like the teacher to add her customizations
>> to the Ubuntu virtual machine, then she in turn will deploy that to
>> students. They would copy the virtual machine to their computers
>> (whatever those are) and play them on those computers. These will
>> probably be whatever computers the school has an d/or whatever computers
>> the student can afford to pay for. Could this work as well?
> Again you're looking at the same problem of whether the guest OS will
> automatically reconfigure itself for the different hardware or not,
> but with the added problem that you'll be unable to test it yourself.
> You also have the issue of how exactly they'll get the image off the
> USB stick and onto the physical machine.
> This is not an altogether impossible problem, but do be aware of the
> scope of potential problems you may encounter.  For Fedora we
> distribute a Live CD image which is put together such that it'll
> boot successfull under any common hardware, physical or virtual.
> It also includes a mini installer, which lets you copy the LiveCD
> image over to the real OS.  Rather than building a custom virtual
> machine image and then copying around the disk image, I think you'd
> be better off taking a Live CD image, and tailoring what's included
> in that. Since that already has been designed with hardware portability
> in mind.
>> Suppose the answer is no they cannot play a Fedora 11-created virtual
>> machine on their own virtualization software. Is it possible to take the
>> virtual machine file and clone (part of?) it to a hard drive such that
>> Ubuntu can be booted from the hard drive?
> Ubuntu questions are best asked on Ubuntu mailing lists. For Fedora we
> have a Live CD image that can be tailored to do the kind of thing you
> are after, more or less just be tweaking the kickstart file used to
> build it.
> Daniel

Thank you, Dan, for taking the time to answer this for me. I guess I'm 
going to have to greatly simplify this because I've never met the other 
person, and I'm not sure how much fiddling and adjusting he will accept 
from me. And there's always the issue that I know little of Fedora's 
virtualization internals. I think my best bet might be to set Ubuntu up 
on a laptop and then loan him the laptop for a while. I'll see if he can 
accept Fedora 11, too. A little cloning here, a little cloning there...


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