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I've remotely installed VirtualBox OSE on my Gentoo box at home. I have everything set up and ready for the OS.

However all the documentation I've read seems to say that you can only use the PUEL version in order to get remote access during installs - does anyone know if it's possible to do similar with the OSE but using VNC? Links to documentation or tutorials would be welcome, apparently my Google-Fu is failing me, if it's out there.


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there's no longer a PUEL and OSE version - 'PUEL' is now called virtualbox additions. – Journeyman Geek Apr 20 '11 at 10:01

It is sort of possible. The problem is that the virtual machine does not have a VNC server running.

What you could do is (install X on the Gentoo machine and) use VNC to connect to the Gentoo box's desktop. You can then do a "local" install on Virtualbox.

So on your local monitor, you will get your normal desktop containing a VNC window showing the desktop of the Gentoo machine which in turn shows the desktop of the virtual machine. Make sure the desktops look different or it could get rather confusing.

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Hrmm, that's not quite what I'm after, as my Gentoo box is headless and doesn't even have X installed. I was hoping (and maybe I misunderstood) I could VNC into the actual Guest OS as it was booting without needing VNC installed as a separate app on an X server. – Eddie Parker Sep 13 '10 at 22:30
Quite. As I said, "sort of". The problem is that you need a VNC / ssh / telnet / something else server somewhere that connects to the virtual machine before anything is installed. I suppose another option is to create a custom live CD iso that starts a VNC server when it boots and then hope it boots correctly... Hopefully somebody will have a better idea for you, or you could always install the PUEL version of virtualbox. – Neal Sep 13 '10 at 22:56

It is my understanding that VBoxHeadless will turn on remote viewing (either RDP in the commercial version or VNC for the OSE) - simply use that to start your VM. You can control the ports (if you have multiple VMs running for example) through the -a and -p commands:

VBoxHeadless -s "VM Name" -p 5900 -a Your.Desired.IP.Address

I am not aware of a restriction placed on VirtualBox OSE that only allows for VNC use during install.

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From VirtualBox version 4 you need to install the extension pack for VRDP during installs.

Download the extension pack from the download page then as root type:

vboxmanage extpack install Oracle_VM_VirtualBox_Extension_Pack-4.0.4-70112.vbox-extpack

Using the extension pack filename that you downloaded.

You may have to add yourself to the vboxusers group then log out and in for the extension pack to work.

Now when you start the virtual machine with:

vboxheadless --startvm ubuntu

You should see something like this:

Oracle VM VirtualBox Headless Interface 4.0.4
(C) 2008-2011 Oracle Corporation
All rights reserved.

VRDE server is listening on port 3389.

You can now remote desktop to your guest on port 3389 and install your OS.

See for more details.

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