Installing your own CSE lab machine using VirtualBox

You can install your own virtual machine on your personal computer, and get an Ubuntu desktop that is similar to (although different from) a CSE lab machine. Once installed, this virtual machine will require no internet connectivity, but will have most of the same software you expect to find when you walk into a CSE lab or use VOLE.

It’s important to be aware of the differences between this option and the use of a CSE Lab machine:

CSE Lab Machine

Local Virtual Machine

Ubuntu Linux 18.04 OS

Yes

Yes

Software Stack

Yes

Yes

Graphical Interface

Yes

Yes

CSE Home Directory

Yes

No

CSE Login Credential

Yes

No

Access to modules

Yes

No

Installing VirtualBox for Windows or MacOS/OSX

There are a lot of online resources for how to install VirtualBox. We have looked at the resources below and they will work, but there are many guides out there if these don’t work for you.

Official instructions for installing VirtualBox on Windows can be found on the VirtualBox website. You can also find a good video walkthrough of the installation process in this YouTube video

Official instructions for installing VirtualBox on OSX can also be found on the VirtualBox website. You can also find a good video walkthrough of the installation process in this YouTube video.

Once you have VirtualBox installed, it’s time to install an Ubuntu virtual machine. Certain details about the VirtualBox GUI might be different depending on whether you’re on Windows or a Mac, and depending on the version of VirtualBox you have installed. Just make sure you’re installing Ubuntu 18.04 (Bionic Beaver), and that you select a 64-bit installation.

Once you have Ubuntu installed, in order to download the CSE cluster of software you’ll need to log in and open firefox or chrome and download the following script:

get_packages.sh

Once you have the script, run this command from the terminal:

$ sudo bash get_packages.sh

This script will take time to complete. You can interrupt it (using Ctrl-C) if you need to, and you can re-run it again without causing a problem. The installer will ask you a few questions as it installs software. Here are our suggested answers:

Select mail delivery: local

Select window manager: lightdm

If you receive the error “Could not get lock /var/lib/dpkg/lock-frontend”, the likely cause is that Ubuntu is still updating after the operating system installation, so just wait 30 minutes or so and try again.

Once the script finishes, your virtual machine is ready. As always, the CSE service desk is available to help if you have questions; you can reach us by emailing csehelp@umn.edu.