Installing Slackware (a Linux distribution) in a VirtualBox virtual machine

After not having dealt with Slackware for several years, I needed to create a virtual machine with Slackware.  I had to solve two problems, and am writing below how they were solved for the benefit of future Slackware based virtual machine builders.

  • Slackware version: 13.37 for 32-bit x86, installed from DVD
  • VirtualBox version: 4.1.18 r78361, Debian Squeeze amd64

Virtual machine parameters:

  • Operating system: Linux
  • Version: Linux 2.6 (32-bit being implied) – the combobox list had no entry for Slackware.
  • Base memory: 1.5GB
  • Hard disk: 30GB
  • Host I/O caching: on (to silence a warning).

Problem 1
When trying to boot from the DVD in order to install Slackware 13.37, the hugesmp.s kernel failed to boot.
I found the following bug reports:
https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/linux/+bug/246067
http://www.linuxquestions.org/questions/slackware-14/kernel-panic-on-virtual-box-installation-its-driving-me-nuts-901223/
https://forums.virtualbox.org/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=44598

Some of the above bug reports had the suggestion to turn on VT-x/AMD-V acceleration.  However it was already turned on in my virtual machine.  I tried several combinations of flags in Settings/System/Processor and Settings/System/Acceleration but of no avail.

The problem was solved by changing the IDE controller type from PIIX4 to PIIX3 in Settings/Storage/IDE Controller/Type.

Problem 2
The initial reboot after installation failed.  From the stack trace it seemed that the problem was due to unknown kernel options.  I found some bug reports, but they were not directly related to this.

I successfully rebooted the virtual machine when entering the following as LILO prompt:

Linux pci=routeirq acpi=off pci=noacpi

Then, the problem was solved by editing /etc/lilo.conf as follows.  The line

append=” vt.default_utf8=0″

was changed to

append=” vt.default_utf8=0 pci=routeirq acpi=off pci=noacpi”

And then /sbin/lilo was run (without arguments).

Author: Omer Zak

I am deaf since birth. I played with big computers which eat punched cards and spew out printouts since age 12. Ever since they became available, I work and play with desktop size computers which eat keyboard keypresses and spew out display pixels. Among other things, I developed software which helped the deaf in Israel use the telephone network, by means of home computers equipped with modems. Several years later, I developed Hebrew localizations for some cellular phones, which helped the deaf in Israel utilize the cellular phone networks. I am interested in entrepreneurship, Science Fiction and making the world more accessible to people with disabilities.

One thought on “Installing Slackware (a Linux distribution) in a VirtualBox virtual machine”

  1. The newer version of VBox has a Linux – Other option. Maybe you should try that instead of sticking to 2.6 kernel version on your next install.

    Also some good news with 14.0 as it installed without issue on my system. Did a boot from dvd, loaded hugesmp, cfdisk the virtual drive and make it bootable, then run setup. But hardware identification is as usual a pain in the keister. Good luck and have fun!

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