virtualbox between mac lion and ubuntu

I installed VirtualBox a few weeks ago.   A few wrinkles when actually using it.


By default, you can’t copy/paste between your Mac and VirtualBox VM machine.  It’s easy to enable though:

  1. Devices > Install Guest Addons
  2. Wait a few minutes for a terminal window to open and install
  3. When prompted, press return to close terminal window
  4. Restart the VM
  5. Now copy and paste works naturally.
Keyboard shortcuts
On the Mac, you use command c to copy and on Ubuntu you use ctrl c.  It was a bit annoying to switch between the two frequently.  I don’t really have a good way of dealing with this other than press command c and wonder why nothing happens.  Ideas?
Command tab
I’m big on command tab.  The problem is that Virtualbox eats/disables it.  Which means every time I switched from my browser or Open Office to the VirtualBox install, it was awkward to get back.  I would up solving this by creating three desktops on Lion (spaces.)  One was VirtualBox Ubuntu Linux.  The second was the Open Office document with the book I was technical proofreading (Well Grounded Java Developer.)  The third was my browser/finder windows/etc.  This was helpful.  It let me three finger swipe as I was reading and command tab for the “little swaps” within my main desktop.  This fit my mental model well.  The only thing I didn’t like was that I had to put Open Office back in desktop #2 each time I opened a new chapter.

3 thoughts on “virtualbox between mac lion and ubuntu

  1. Regarding the use of the Command key in Linux – I did this in Ubuntu and now basically the Cmd is used as the original Ctrl key. Go to System -> Preferences -> Keyboard, choose the Layout tab, click Layout Options -> Alt/Win key behaviour -> Control is mapped to Win keys.

    Since the left Cmd key was the Host key in virtualbox, I had to reconfigure virtualbox to use the Ctrl key as the Host one (for switching modes etc.). You can use your own.

  2. Why do use Ubuntu if you have mac? Curious to know. Since in my case since i cannot afford mac, so i installed Ubuntu and feeling I am way ahead of mac in terms of software but not in terms of hardware.

  3. I use mac much more than Ubuntu. (probably 95% of the time.) The main reason I installed it was that I was technical reviewer for a Java 7 book and wanted to be testing the examples with an official release of Java 7. Which was available for Linux but not Mac. There were unofficial versions for Mac. But then if something doesn’t work, it is the port or the book?

    I’m glad I did though. It’s nice having a VM that I can blow away on demand.

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