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Thread: Virtual Box - shared guest OS between users?

  1. #1
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    Default Virtual Box - shared guest OS between users?

    I'm contemplating installing WinXP as a Virtual Box session on our new laptop. But I don't want to have to create separate Virtual Box installations (with WinXP as the guest OS) for both users (ie one for each of my wife and myself).

    Has anyone tried setting up Virtual Box with the .vdi files and Virtual Machines in either:
    a. separate partition that both openSUSE users can access, or
    b. under /home/virtualbox directory (or some directory like that) with permissions setup so that both users can access.

    I'm curious if this is functional, for if I were to allocate 40 GBytes or so to a WinXP guest, this would mean I do not need create two 40 GByte allocations (one for each user) but rather each user could share the common allocation.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Virtual Box - shared guest OS between users?

    Do you mean that the VM is always only run by one person at any time, or that they could be run concurrently? The former is no problem, you just have to share the VM files using Unix group permissions. The latter is problematic, since Windows is not designed to have multiple instances share the same disk. You could have two minimal installs which then use a common network, i.e. Samba share. Don't forget the legal aspect, you may need two licenses to run two instances concurrently.

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    Default Re: Virtual Box - shared guest OS between users?

    Quote Originally Posted by ken_yap View Post
    Do you mean that the VM is always only run by one person at any time, or that they could be run concurrently? The former is no problem, you just have to share the VM files using Unix group permissions.
    Yes, I meant the former. Run by only one person at a time.

    I'm thinking it easiest for me to create /home/virtual box, and put the virtual box session there.

    Quote Originally Posted by ken_yap View Post
    You could have two minimal installs which then use a common network, i.e. Samba share.
    Interesting ... but I think I'll keep it simple.

    My idea is to put openSUSE on our new laptop, and then install Virtual Box and WinXP as a guest OS under openSUSE. And then if my wife wants WinXP (instead of using Vista which will be a boot option) she can boot to openSUSE and run winXP there. The same will be for me when I am on business. While I will run openSUSE nominally, if someone has a datafile that uses advanced features of an MS-Office app (which give open office problems), I'll be able to instead use a virtual session of a licensed copy of winXP and MS-Office to open the custom app.

    I'm not particularly keen on using Vista on this laptop, although I suspect in the end I'll be dragged into it. And maybe by having our legal copy of MS-Office on the WinXP guest OS, my wife will be less inclined to use Vista and she will be more inclined to use Linux (so as to access winXP).

    Out of curiosity, I tried Crossover Office Pro (taking advantage of their recent free offer) and while it works GREAT for running individual stand alone MS-Office applications under the Crossover office pro wine implementation, ... it does unfortunately have some limitations for running multiple MS Office apps. For example, copying slides via the clipboard from MS Power point to MS-Word, does not work well under Crossover office. This does work well with a guest WinXP session running under Virtual Box (on openSUSE).

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    Default Re: Virtual Box - shared guest OS between users?

    I'm thinking it easiest for me to create /home/virtual box, and put the virtual box session there.
    Though I haven't tried it, this should work out pretty fine. Are you foreseeing something that I haven't been able to notice yet?
    Dell Inspiron 1520 | Intel Core2Duo T5250 | 2GB |nVidia 8600mGT |160GB |openSUSE 11.3

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    Default Re: Virtual Box - shared guest OS between users?

    Quote Originally Posted by coolpcguy View Post
    Though I haven't tried it, this should work out pretty fine. Are you foreseeing something that I haven't been able to notice yet?
    No, I am hopeful that will work. My main thought is I could mess up the permissions, ... and have to play a bit to get that right.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Virtual Box - shared guest OS between users?

    what about creating a separate user group and assigning read/write access to that directory to that user group ?
    Dell Inspiron 1520 | Intel Core2Duo T5250 | 2GB |nVidia 8600mGT |160GB |openSUSE 11.3

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