Howto run Quantian via the VMWare Player from a Windows, including an optional installation to a bootable virtual disk

This HOWTO has been contributed by Simon Blomberg, and Dirk Eddelbuettel provided some additional editing as well as the wml/html markup. Comments and corrections welcome.

The following instructions describe the way that Simon used to installed Quantian on his Windows XP professional box, attached to a high-speed network. While these notes should hopefully be generalisable, some local modification may be needed. As the saying goes: Your mileage may vary. If you find errors or omissions, or have suggestions for an improved presentation, please let us know.

  1. Download and install the `free as in beer' VMWare Player for Windows. This player is available in Windows and Linux versions. So while the following is written primarily with Windows as the host ("outer") operating system and Quantian as the client ("inner"), it is of course also possible to run Quantian inside another Linux system.
  2. Download and install the Windows version of the qemu emulator.
  3. Get a copy of the Quantian .iso file, using the links from the main Quantian page. Be warned!!! The .iso is 2.7 Gb. That's a big file to download in anybody's language, and you are advised you to check with your sysadmin before downloading, otherwise you may get into trouble (Simon did!). BitTorrent is recommended for download the file, as it is generally more stable than using a web browser. It may also be easier to create an .iso from a Quantian DVD. The download took over an hour with a 100 Mb/second connection, but that involved downloading from the other side of the Pacific Ocean. :-)
  4. On the Windows host computer, spawn a DOS shell and cd to the qemu directory. Execute the following command at the prompt:
    qemu-img.exe create -f vmdk Quantian.vmdk 20G
    This creates a virtual disk that is visible to VMWare Player. Make it as big as you need, keeping in mind that Quantian expands to over 7 Gb. Simon specified 20 Gb. This also works under Linux, but note that you need a reasonably recent version of qemu to create vmdk images.

  5. Move the Quantian.vmdk file to the same directory as your Quantian.vmx file (Simon keeps his on the desktop.)
  6. Edit your Quantian.vmx file to add the new virtual disk, as per the instructions initially published here and here on Dirk's blog. As that note needed an update to the current Quantian_0.7.9.2 (not as in Dirk's blog), a new version is provided below.

    # VM Machine Info
    guestOS = "linux"
    displayName = "Quantian"
    config.version = "7"
    memsize = "256"

    # CDROM Info
    ide0:0.present = "TRUE"
    ide0:0.fileName = "Quantian_0.7.9.2.iso"
    ide0:0.deviceType = "cdrom-image"

    # uncomment this for a virtual hard disk
    #ide1:0.present = "TRUE"
    #ide1:0.filename = "QuantianIDE1.vmdk"
    #ide1:0.deviceType = "ata-hardDisk"

    # uncomment this for a second virtual hard disk
    #ide1:1.present = "TRUE"
    #ide1:1.filename = "QuantianIDE2.vmdk"
    #ide1:1.deviceType = "ata-hardDisk"

    #Floppy Info
    floppy0.present = "FALSE"

    #Ethernet Info
    Ethernet0.present = "TRUE"
    ethernet0.addressType = "generated"

    # Audio Settings -- set to false/false on Dirk's Linux host
    sound.present = "false"
    sound.autodetect = "false"

    # Host USB
    usb.present = "TRUE"

    # the following appears to be generated by the VMWare Player anyway
    ethernet0.generatedAddress = "00:0c:29:91:50:aa"
    sound.virtualDev = "sb16"
    uuid.location = "56 4d 6d 4c d0 59 4a aa-6f 4a 23 f7 b9 91 50 aa"
    uuid.bios = "56 4d 6d 4c d0 59 4a aa-6f 4a 23 f7 b9 91 50 aa"
    #sound.deviceNr = "-1"
    #sound.device = "/dev/dsp"
    ethernet0.generatedAddressOffset = "0"

    tools.remindInstall = "TRUE"
    ethernet0.connectionType = "bridged"

    ide0:1.redo = ""
    uuid.action = "create"
    #ide1:0.redo = ""
    #ide1:1.redo = ""

  7. Start VMplayer and either choose the Quantian.vmx file, or supply Quantian.vmx as argument to VMplayer. Quantian should now boot off the .iso file. The virtual disk should appear on the Desktop as hdc.
  8. Inside the Quantian session in the VMWare Player, spawn a root shell (select `root shell' from the second icon in the menu bar) and partition the disk using the Linux cfdisk command: cfdisk /dev/hdc Create at least one new primary partition (more if you want). Make it big enough to hold Quantian (10 Gb should be plenty). It will be called hdc1. Do not make it bootable. Remember to write the partition table, then quit cfdisk. Do not reboot yet!
  9. From root, add a file system to hdc1 by running: mke2fs -j /dev/hdc1 Do not reboot yet!
  10. The name of the virtual disk should now be hdc1. Mount it by clicking on it. Do not reboot yet!
  11. From root, run knx2hd. You have to configure the install, then start the install. There are several options for the configuration. Simon chose the (recommended) Debian install, and the ext3 filesystem. Start the install onto hdc1. This will tigh up your computer for a very long time (over an hour). Go and do something else for a while.
  12. Logout of Quantian. Quit VMplayer. Move the files created by VMplayer to the Recycle bin (ie nvram and Quantian.vmss NOT Quantian.vmx or Quantian.vmdk).
  13. Restart VMplayer and choose Quantian.vmx from the menu (or edit the Properties of the icon to make Quantian.vmx the default argument). If all has gone well, Quantian should boot from the disk image, using grub. You should see the grub messages at startup. There is no need to run grub or lilo to make hdc1 bootable, as knx2hd does that job for you.
  14. Simon had to re-configure the network card in Quantian in order to restore his network connections. After that, everything worked fine.
  15. Enjoy your new Quantian installation.
This recipe should also be applicable to other bootable cdrom/dvd images with an integrated installer. In other words, this should work just as well for a test installation of many other Linux distributions. Feedback would be appreciated.

Last modified: Mon Jun 5 21:00:40 CDT 2006