Fedora 8 (werewolf) on Virtual PC 2007

Fedora 8 (werewolf) on Virtual PC 2007

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My "Running Linux in Virtual PC" posts seem to be some of my more popular reading, so let's have a go at the recently released Fedora 8 (It's no longer Fedora Core).

As with most distributions, if you try to install it right off the ISO, you will rapidly hit the "screwed up graphics".  Virtual PC 2007 does not support 24-bit color, and guess what mode is used by most Linux installers?  Good times :)  You could install in text mode, but as it is no longer 1992, let's do this in graphics mode.  Unfortunately, the tricks I list for installing Ubuntu do not work for Fedora.  Oh well...

First off, you will want to download the ISO here: http://fedoraproject.org/get-fedora

Create a new virtual machine, and at the first screen hit "tab" for additional options.  You will want to add "vesa" to the end of the boot parameters to fix the screwed up video problem.  Booting at this point will introduce you to the other problem plaguing recent distros in Virtual PC... a non-functional mouse.  Fortunately, I have the fix for this as well :)  Add "i8042.noloop"


Hit enter, and you will end up in Anaconda (the Fedora installer) with functional graphics and a working mouse.  WOOHOO!


The next few options (language, keyboard layout, etc) are all quite standard.  It appears that the Fedora team has decided to go with a knock-off of Apple's Aqua glowing orb circles.  Interesting...


We get the standard option to choose what packages are installed (Office and Productivity, Software Development, or Web Server).  You can select the checkbox for "Additional Fedora Software" to get packages that were not chosen for inclusion on the DVD. 

If you are not up for an hour of hand-picking which packages are installed, Fedora 7 introduced the concept of "spins" (special ISOs of the distribution with custom package sets).  At the time of this writing, the available spins (http://spins.fedoraproject.org/) are:

  • Fedora 8 Live Games i686
  • Fedora 8 Live Developer i686
  • Fedora 8 Live FEL i686


Next comes "grab some coffee" time while Fedora installs. Avoiding a problem that has plagued installers since the beginning of time, Fedora doesn't even bother to estimate how much time is left.


When you are done installing, go ahead and reboot.  Graphics will work fine, but the mouse will not work again.  <sigh...>  make sure to stop the reboot at grub, press "e" to edit, and add our hallowed i8040.noloop parameter to the 2nd line (the one that starts with kernel).  After editing the line, hit enter and then "b" to boot.  We'll have to do this one more time later to save the change for good.


Now you can finish booting and walk through the first-run setup wizard!


After walking through the options, you will finally be at the (somewhat funky looking) Fedora login screen.


After logging in, let's fix that mouse problem for once and for all.  Well... until Fedora updates the Kernel, then you'll have to repeat these steps. 

Go to Applications --> System Tools --> Terminal

Normally, I would do the following commands with Sudo, but I get a message that I am not in the sudoers file.  Wierd... feel free to fix that if you'd like and do the following with sudo.  I'm just going to violate security best practices and elevate to root with SU.  So:

  1. "SU"
  2. nano /boot/grub/menu.lst
  3. Arrow down to the line starting with "kernel".  Arrow to the end of the line and add i8042.noloop
  4. ^O to write out
  5. Enter
  6. ^X to exit
  7. Type exit and hit enter (twice).  Once to exit your elevated root prompt, and once to exit the terminal.

Hooray!  You should have a working mouse from now on :)


So what is new in Fedora 8?  Ars has a great writeup here, and the official feature list can be found here: http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Releases/8/FeatureList.

  • New PulseAudio sound daemon (which allows users to set the volume for each application individually, just like Vista
  • New Codeina utility that allows users to purchase proprietary codecs
  • New PolicyKit authentication system
  • New Look/Feel (I much prefer it to Ubuntu)
  • Compiz (although it is not enabled by default, and which likely does not work on Virtual PC's anemic emulated video card, although I have not tried it)

Taking a look through the UI, I see that only FireFox and Evolution are in the quicklaunch.  OpenOffice has been relegated to a menu, where even the OpenOffice branding has been removed.  I wonder if there's a story behind that?


In any case, once you get the mouse and video working, Fedora 8 works like a champ and runs great.  It sure would be nice if they did a bit of testing on Virtual PC (as that is a platform that is baked) so that we did not have to diddle around with the video and mouse, but unfortunately that is a bar that only Novell/Suse seems to be able to hit.  All in all, great distro!

  • PingBack from http://linux.x7g.net/2007/11/12/fedora-8-werewolf-on-virtual-pc-2007/

  • Hello Sean!!!

    Thanks to your intructions Fedora 8 is running inside my Virtual PC.

    All is working perfectly but when I switch to Virtual PC full screen mode, the screen area is not used completely, do you know how to correct this issue?

    Thanks in advance!!

    Rodrigo Corral

  • Thanks for the instructions! I was on the verge of giving up on Linux again.

  • Hey Rodrigo-

    That is because you likely have your Fedora resolution set to 800x600, and your monitor set to something higher.  When you go full screen, you would need to set your Fedora Resolution to whatever your native Windows resolution is.  

    You would normally do this in Fedora under System --> Preferences --> Hardware --> Screen Resolution.  Unfortunately, there don't seem to any other screen resolutions to change to.  You will want to play around with your /etc/X11/xorg.conf file to adjust the screen resolution.

  • you the "man" sean, thx a million.

    this is the best community i've been in yet.

  • thanks for the help, but now everytime i start fedora i have to do the i8042no.loop after the kernel entry, is there a way around that?

  • @jtranok-

    Scroll about 2/3 the way through my post until you find the part that says "After logging in, let's fix that mouse problem for once and for all. "

    What follows is the instructions for solving the problem so you don't need to type it in each time you boot :)

  • Great tip emailed to me by reader Rainer:

    Just a hint to simplify the installation: When the installation asks where to install GRUB there is an option to enter additional kernel parameters. Adding the i8042.noloop parameter there works also, so there is no need to interrupt the restart and to manually edit the boot options.

  • One thing about Fedora 8 I have noticed is that if you try to install it in Virtual PC 2007 the video display will be messed up if you use the GUI install. At the boot screen hit "tab" for additiona...

  • Thank you very much for your tutorials on running Fedora 8 in Microsoft Virtual PC. I recently got Fedora 8 on the cover of my APC Magazine disc and I wanted to try it out and now I can :).


  • Sean,

    To the best set of instructions. Thank you.


  • Sean,

    To the best set of instructions. Thank you.


  • Thanks for the instructions.

    I installed under Virtual PS 2007 and encounterted the mouse issues. But thanks to your blog, I got around this.

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  • strike the question on the wep key. VP2007 reconized the wirless network key.

    A question on using the daemon tools lite and accessing 1 or more drives in VP2007. Is this possible?