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coLinux

Getting Started with coLinux

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coLinux is a wonderful tool for running Linux under Windows; it allows you to run a full-fledged Linux computer with no extra partitions, inside Windows. More information can be found at the home page.


DisclaimersEdit

coLinux is still under heavy development, and will likely change in the future. This page represents the contributions of various coLinux users. The information may not be tailored to your environment. Like many open source projects, there's no warranty, blah blah blah. There is no guarantee that this program will operate correctly, or indeed, at all.

coLinux 0.6.4 and before with XML configurationEdit

Old coLinux versions up to 0.6.4 used an XML file as configuration. We put the old guide here.

The current manual should have only the new plain text formats for version 0.7.1 and later.



TerminologyEdit

Host OS
The system coLinux is installed on (usually Windows)
coLinux OS
A coLinux instance running an operating system like Debian, Ubuntu, or Gentoo
Adapter
Also called a "network card". A piece of hardware which provides network capabilites to a system

OverviewEdit

Generally, to use coLinux, one performs the following steps:

  • Download and install coLinux
  • Use the included terminal to log in
  • Use the most foolproof method to get network connectivity (usually slirp)
  • Update the system using apt-get or emerge
  • Install xterm or a complete desktop like GNOME or KDE
  • Install an X Server or VNC on the Host
  • use telnet, ssh, or a VNC client to connect to the Guest and start xterm, etc.
  • use scp, putty, cofs/smb, etc., to copy files between Host and Guest


Download and InstallationEdit

See Also README

Go to the downloads sourceforge downloads page. Download and run the most recent executable installer from package &package_id=107317 coLinux-stable.

  1. Although the installer doesn't default to it, "c:\coLinux" is a good install location.
  2. During the install you are prompted to install WinPcap. This can be done while the coLinux installer is open.
  3. The TAP-Win32 Virtual Adapter device driver will be installed.
  4. There is no harm in installing both WinPcap and TAP-Win32.

For the latest development binaries and source (i.e. might crash your system), see snapshots

If you uninstall coLinux from one location and install it to another, the following procedure will update the Windows registry accordingly:

colinux-daemon.exe --remove-driver
colinux-daemon.exe --install-driver


Filesystem DownloadEdit

From the main download site, download an image file which includes an operating system. Debian-3.0r2.ext3-mit-backports.1gb.bz2 on SourceForge is a good choice. It expands to 1GB when decompressed. This has a basic Debian image on it with everything you need to get started. Save/extract this in the coLinux directory. Here is a partial list of programs that can extract the image, which is compressed using bzip2:

Run bzip2 on Windows command line:

bzip2-102-x86-win32.exe -d Debian-3.0r2.ext3-mit-backports.1gb.bz2


ConfigurationEdit

coLinux can be configured using parameters on the command line, or with a configuration file like default.colinux.xml. For command-line options, see README.

Here are the contents on an example file called coLinux.bat ("^" is the line continuation character in Windows).:

Uses eth1 to talk to Hosting OS, eth0 for for Internet connectivity

colinux-daemon.exe kernel=vmlinux initrd=initrd.gz ^
cobd0="Debian-20040605-mit.ext3.1610mb" ^
cobd1="fs_768Mb" ^
mem=512 ^
eth0=pcap-bridge,"Local Area Connection" ^
eth1=tuntap ^
root=/dev/cobd0

Use ssh (port 22) or VNC (port 5901) to connect to coLinux guest system

colinux-daemon kernel=vmlinux ^
cobd0=Debian-"c:\coLinux\20040605-mit.ext3.1610mb" ^
cobd1="c:\coLinux\fs_768Mb" ^
mem=512 ^
eth0=slirp,,tcp:22:22/tcp:5901:5901 ^
eth1=tuntap ^
root=/dev/cobd0

The option cobd0 represents a partition. Partitions are mounted under /dev/cobdn, where n is given by the index passed to it, and the path is fairly straightforward. Make sure that the first one (index="0") points to your root filesystem (e.g., the Debian image).

cobd0="c:\coLinux\Debian-3.0r2.ext3-mit-backports.1gb"

You may want to disable the swap device for now. It's not strictly necessary, and will be described later. It's no problem, if the file does not exist at this point:

cobd1="c:\coLinux\swap_file"

The other options will work as-is.

Memory [1]EditEdit

You can take a quick look at the

mem=64

line and adjust it to fit your system. This is the physical amount of RAM you are going to allocate to coLinux, and you need to keep some for Windows.

System Memory Suggested Memory Setting for coLinux
128MB RAM or less Don't bother with coLinux. Well, OK, try 32MB...
160 to 256MB RAM 64MB
256 to 512MB RAM 96MB
512MB or more 128MB or more

Those values are based on personal experience; your mileage may vary. Note: This is non-swappable memory, so using too much can do bad things to your computer while coLinux is running. (as soon as you reboot, everything will be fine). It used to default to 29MB which was sufficient for most things, now it seems to default to 64MB. If you have less than 256MB of RAM you probably want to make it smaller. Realistically, unless you want to use X Windows (described later) or use a very memory-intensive program, 32MB or even 16MB may be enough.

Oh, if you want, you can also tell coLinux your keyboard is not US with a command line like loadkeys fr-latin1. (For remapping your keyboard check coLinuxKBD)

Configuring the network. This is not strictly necessary to enjoy coLinux, but you need it to:

  • download new software: the image you downloaded contains only a basic system, much like a bare Windows installation
  • Use ssh and PuTTY, a nice terminal since you will find the console too uncomfortable
  • launch X applications and run VNC and see the results on your Windows screen


Running coLinuxEdit

c:\>cd coLinux
c:\coLinux>colinux-daemon.exe @example.conf

or, to use an NT type command shell as the terminal:

c:\coLinux>colinux-daemon.exe -t nt @example.conf
  • To enable a double-click start, create a short-cut to the daemon (right-click and select Create Shortcut), then right-click on that new shortcut and select Properties. In the Target box (under the Shortcut tab), add the following to the end of the existing text (after the double-quote): "@example.conf" and click OK. Don't forget the space before the @, Vista needs this in quotes! You can now double-click the shortcut (perhaps copy it to your desktop) to run CoLinux. If you would like to start the console minimised, select Minimized from the Run drop-down box.
  • Alternatively, you can put the following into a bat file such as coLinux.bat which you can double click:
    start "coLinux" /Dc:\colinux /min colinux-daemon.exe @example.conf
    Remove /min if you want to see the boot messages. Change the /D<path> to point to your coLinux dir.
  • In another few seconds, a colinux-console should pop up. And after a few more seconds, it should stop and give you a login prompt. Since the default Debian image has no other users, you must log in as root:
  • The login for the debian image is root/root, you should change this.
2.4 distros - blank password
2.6 distros - "root" as password

Now you can use adduser to add another user for normal use, or passwd to set the root password. And you have Linux!

Brushing the Dust off a Downloaded Root FS [2]EditEdit

The Debian Root filesystems are a little long in the tooth. DebianRootFsImages is a procedure to bring the system up-to-date so that it is actually usable.



Using Other Linux Distributions in coLinuxEdit

The vanilla Debian may not be to your liking, or it may just seem a little hard to set up. You can find the instructions for installing just about any 32bit distribution here: Easy_way_to_port_native/vm_distro_to_coLinux, or for using an already installed dual boot distro (propably outdated) ConvertingDistributions. If you would like to use the Gentoo Deluxe 2 GB image look here: GentooDeluxHowto, or if you would like to use Topologi Linux look here:TopoHowTo. You can also download via BitTorrent a pre-configured coLinux setup based on coLinux-0.6.0 and the Debian filesystem - just download, extract, install, run.



TroubleshootingEdit

coLinux doesn't start [3]Edit

  • check the path to the uncompressed filesystem image
  • in the line with root=/dev/cobd0 add ro with space between:
root=/dev/cobd0 ro
and be ready to remove it if it doesn't help. You can keep it. It is harmless in most cases. (some distributions need it)
  • Finally, take a close look at your text editor. It may have converted the text silently to UTF-8, adding an invisible marker at the beginning of your configuration file. Switch to hexadecimal mode or to another editor and check the top of the file. If you see the UTF-8 marker, erase it.
  • in case of an error similar to
daemon: exit code 84a08401
daemon: error - CO_RC_ERROR_ERROR, line 33, file colinux/os/current/user/file.o
Repeat the following dance:
colinux-daemon.exe --remove-driver
colinux-daemon.exe --install-driver

If that doesn't work, you can check your parameters in the config-file. Look for an incorrect or missing image filename, vmlinux path, or swapfile path. Comment out all unneeded config-file parameters to help find the cause of the problem.

  • Add -v 3 to the colinux-daemon options, to see more verbose messages.
  • If none of these things work, you can try Nitin Jain's install notes (listed in External references). Very good step-by-step directions

Adding Swap SpaceEdit

  • To add swap for use in your coLinux environment you need a blank file with the correct size of swap you want. Here is a location of a number of sizes of empty partitions.
  • Add the name of the file you downloaded, per the line below, to your configuration file (example.conf). Be sure to set the path too. cobd1=c:\coLinux\swap
  • Boot your coLinux system.
  • Login as root
  • Add the line below to /etc/fstab: /dev/cobd1 none swap sw 0 0
  • Run "mkswap /dev/cobd1"
  • Run "swapon -a"

Important Note for Gentoo Users [4]EditEdit

Gentoo requires configuration of a swap file. Follow the instructions at AddSwapPartition

NetworkEdit

see Network#Recommended_Setup

See Network#The_WinPCAP_driver

See Network#TAP

See Network#Slirp

Graphical Interface (Xserver)Edit

The article XCoLinux explains how to run an X server on the Host and xclient applications in coLinux

External ResourcesEdit

Nitin Jain's install notes 2006-07.
Evan Danaher's notes 2005 or earlier.
coLinux+Debian on Windows XP-Pro install notes2008-2010

colinux-daemon.exe --remove-driver colinux-daemon.exe --install-driver = Filesystem Download = From the main download site, also download a filesystem which includes an operating system. Debian-3.0r2.ext3-mit-backports.1gb.bz2 on SourceForge is a good choice. It expands to 1GB when decompressed. This has a basic Debian image on it with everything you need to get started. Save/extract this in the coLinux directory. Here is a partial list of programs which can extract the image, which is compressed using bzip2: *bzip2 for windows on redhat *bzip2 for Windows, from GnuWin32 or GetGnuWin32 *tar and bunzip2, included in unxutils or cygwin *winrar *7Zip Run bzip2 on Windows command line:

bzip2-102-x86-win32.exe -d Debian-3.0r2.ext3-mit-backports.1gb.bz2

= Configuration = coLinux can be configured using parameters on the command line, or with a configuration file like default.colinux.xml. For command-line options, see README. Here are the contents on an example file called coLinux.bat ("^" is the line continuation character in Windows).: Uses eth1 to talk to Hosting OS, eth0 for for Internet connectivity

colinux-daemon.exe kernel=vmlinux initrd=initrd.gz ^
cobd0="Debian-20040605-mit.ext3.1610mb" ^
cobd1="fs_768Mb" ^
mem=512 ^
eth0=pcap-bridge,"Local Area Connection" ^
eth1=tuntap ^
root=/dev/cobd0

Use ssh (port 22) or VNC (port 5901) to connect to coLinux guest system

colinux-daemon kernel=vmlinux ^
cobd0=Debian-"c:\coLinux\20040605-mit.ext3.1610mb" ^
cobd1="c:\coLinux\fs_768Mb" ^
mem=512 ^
eth0=slirp,,tcp:22:22/tcp:5901:5901 ^
eth1=tuntap ^
root=/dev/cobd0

The option cobd0 represents a partition. Partitions are mounted under /dev/cobdn, where n is given by the index passed to it, and the path is fairly straightforward. Make sure that the first one (index="0") points to your root filesystem (e.g., the Debian image).

cobd0="c:\coLinux\Debian-3.0r2.ext3-mit-backports.1gb"

You may want to disable the swap device for now; it's not strictly necessary and will be described later. It's no problem, if the file does not exist at this point:

cobd1="c:\coLinux\swap_file"

The other options will work as-is. == Memory == You can take a quick look at the

mem=64

line and adjust it to fit your system. This is the physical amount of RAM you are going to allocate to coLinux, and you need to keep some for Windows.

System Memory Suggested Memory Setting for coLinux
128MB RAM or less Don't bother with coLinux. Well, OK, try 32MB...
160 to 256MB RAM 64MB
256 to 512MB RAM 96MB
512MB or more 128MB or more

Those values are based on personal experience; your mileage may vary. Note: This is non-swappable memory, so using too much can do bad things to your computer (while coLinux is running; as soon as you reboot, everything will be fine). It used to default to 29MB which was sufficient for most things, now it seems to default to 64MB. If you have less than 256MB of RAM you probably want to make it smaller. Realistically, unless you want to use X Windows (described later) or use a very memory-intensive program, 32MB or even 16MB may be enough. Oh, if you want, you can also tell coLinux your keyboard is not US with a command line like loadkeys fr-latin1. (For remapping your keyboard check coLinuxKBD) Then you have to configure the network. This is not strictly necessary to enjoy coLinux, but you need it to: * download new software: the image you downloaded contains only a basic system, much like a bare Windows installation * use ssh and PuTTY, a nice terminal since you will find the console too uncomfortable * launch X applications and run VNC and see the results on your Windows screen = Running coLinux =

c:\>cd coLinux
c:\coLinux>colinux-daemon.exe @example.conf

or, to use a command shell as the terminal:

c:\coLinux>colinux-daemon.exe -t nt @example.conf
  • To enable a double-click start, create a short-cut to the daemon (right-click and select Create Shortcut), and then right-click on that new shortcut and select Properties. In the Target box (under the Shortcut tab), add the following to the end of the existing text (after the double-quote): "@example.conf" and click OK. Don't forget the space before the @, Vista needs this in quotes! You can now double-click the shortcut (perhaps copy it to your desktop) to run CoLinux. If you would like to start the console minimised, select Minimized from the Run drop-down box. *Alternatively, you can put the following into a bat file such as coLinux.bat which you can double click:

start "coLinux" /Dc:\colinux /min colinux-daemon.exe @example.conf Remove /min if you want to see the boot messages. Change the /D to point to your coLinux dir. *In another few seconds, a colinux-console should pop up. And after a few more seconds, it should stop and give you a login prompt. Since the Debian image by default has no other users, you must log in as root: *The login for the debian image is root/root, you should change this. : 2.4 distros - blank password : 2.6 distros - "root" as password Now you can use adduser to add another user for normal use, or passwd to set the root password. And you have Linux! == Brushing the Dust off a Downloaded Root FS == The Debian Root filesystems are a little long in the tooth. DebianRootFsImages is a procedure to bring the system up-to-date so that it is actually usable. = Using Other Linux Distributions in coLinux = The vanilla Debian may not be to your liking, or it may just seem a little hard to set up. You can find the instructions for installing just about any 32bit distribution here: Easy_way_to_port_native/vm_distro_to_coLinux, or for using an already installed dual boot distro (propably outdated) ConvertingDistributions. If you would like to use the Gentoo Deluxe 2 GB image look here: GentooDeluxHowto, or if you would like to use Topologi Linux look here: TopoHowTo. You can also download via BitTorrent a pre-configured coLinux setup based on coLinux-0.6.0 and the Debian filesystem - just download, extract, install, run. = Troubleshooting = == coLinux doesn't start == * check the path to the uncompressed filesystem image * in the line with root=/dev/cobd0 add ro with space between: root=/dev/cobd0 ro :and be ready to remove it if it doesn't help. You can keep it. It is harmless in most cases (some distributions need it) * finally, take a close look at your text editor. It may have converted the text silently to UTF-8, adding an invisible marker at the beginning of your configuration file. Switch to hexadecimal mode or to another editor and check the top of the file. If you see the UTF-8 marker, erase it. *in case of a error similar to

daemon: exit code 84a08401
daemon: error - CO_RC_ERROR_ERROR, line 33, file colinux/os/current/user/file.o
Repeat the following dance:
colinux-daemon.exe --remove-driver
colinux-daemon.exe --install-driver

If that doesn't work you can check your parameters in the config-file. Look for an incorrect or missing image filename, vmlinux path, or swapfile path. Comment out all unneeded config-file parameters to see which might be incorrect. *Add -v 3 to the colinux-daemon options, to see more verbose messages. * If none of these things work, you can try Nitin Jain's install notes (listed in External references). Very good step-by-step directions = Adding Swap Space = * To add swap for use in your coLinux environment you need a blank file with the correct size of swap you want. Here is a location of a number of sizes of empty partitions. * Name the file you downloaded per the line below into your configuration file (example.conf). Be sure to set the path too.

cobd1=c:\coLinux\swap
  • Boot into your coLinux system. * Login as root * Add the line below to /etc/fstab:
 /dev/cobd1  none swap sw 0 0

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