Strange video behavior in VB

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Strange video behavior in VB

MR ZenWiz
I'm not sure where to post this, but I thought I;d try here first.

I just installed Linux Mint 20 in a VB VM on my Xubuntu 20.04.1
desktop, and it seems to work more or less well - until I tell it to
go into full screen mode.  The video goes all black and this persists
through one or two reboots before it clears up.  I can't use the full
screen mode at all.

I do get a warning that I don't have hardware acceleration enabled for
lack of a driver, but the drier search turned up nothing - not really
a surprise since the VB video driver isn't really hardware.

I have the guest additions installed, and I can resize the
screen/window, but in full screen mode, it goes blank and does not
appear to recover.

Any clues?

Thanks.

Mark

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Re: Strange video behavior in VB

Liam Proven
On Tue, 27 Oct 2020 at 01:31, MR ZenWiz <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> I'm not sure where to post this, but I thought I;d try here first.
>
> I just installed Linux Mint 20 in a VB VM on my Xubuntu 20.04.1
> desktop,

You mean VirtualBox, right? I ask 'cause "VB" is the standard
abbreviation for MS Visual Basic and from the title that's what I
thought you meant, and I was at a loss as to what this meant on or re
Linux until I read the message.

Standalone version from www.virtualbox.org (current = 6.1.14) or the
older version from the Ubuntu repos? (Not sure, can't check as I am
typing on macOS.)

> and it seems to work more or less well - until I tell it to
> go into full screen mode.  The video goes all black and this persists
> through one or two reboots before it clears up.  I can't use the full
> screen mode at all.

Reboots of the host or of the guest?

> I do get a warning that I don't have hardware acceleration enabled for
> lack of a driver, but the drier search turned up nothing - not really
> a surprise since the VB video driver isn't really hardware.

The guest doesn't know that. It just sees a graphics card. You can
pick which one under:

 VBox -> VM Settings ->  Display -> Graphics controller

The choices are:
• VBoxVGA
• VBoxSVGA (the native one)
• VMSVGA (compatible with VMware, I believe)
• None

> I have the guest additions installed,

Those *contain* graphics drivers. So you *do* have graphics drivers installed.

How did you install them? From the VBox ISO (latest but you don't get
updates) or from the Ubuntu repos in the guest?

> and I can resize the
> screen/window, but in full screen mode, it goes blank and does not
> appear to recover.
>
> Any clues?

We need more info.

To enable hardware passthrough, you need to do 2 primary things:

[1] Enable 3D acceleration in that VM in VBox's  Display Settings
[2] Install graphics drivers via the Guest Additions, either the ones
VBox provides in an ISO or via those in most Linux distros' repos.

I described it in a blog post here:

https://liam-on-linux.livejournal.com/33987.html

Notes:
• To do much with them, you need a 3D-accelerated desktop (e.g. GNOME
3, Cinnamon, Unity) or to enable it under one of the desktops where
it's optional (Maté, XFCE etc.)
• I have had significant problems with every version of KDE I've tried
• To build the kernel module, you need compilers etc install. I
recommend installing the packages `build-essential` and `dkms` and the
headers for your current kernel *before* you install the extensions.
If you did not have this, remove the extensions, reboot, install DKMS,
the kernel headers and the build essentials, reboot, install the guest
additions, shut down the VM, enable 3D acceleration in VBox settings,
and restart the VM.



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Re: Strange video behavior in VB

ubuntu-users mailing list
I can't contribute to the thread. The following isn't related to the
issue, but JFTR.

On Tue, 27 Oct 2020 12:39:21 +0100, Liam Proven wrote:
>Standalone version from www.virtualbox.org (current = 6.1.14)

Since some days it's already 6.1.16, see
https://www.virtualbox.org/wiki/Downloads .

It was already released a few days, before I build a package
containing the binary from Oracle, since I was busy and using 6.1.14,
so I couldn't replace it with 6.1.16. 6.1.16 might be already older than
a week.

[rocketmouse@archlinux ~]$ pacman -Q virtualbox-bin
virtualbox-bin 6.1.16-1
[rocketmouse@archlinux ~]$ pacman -Qi virtualbox-bin | tail
Conflicts With  : virtualbox  virtualbox-host-dkms  virtualbox-host-modules-arch
Replaces        : virtualbox_bin  virtualbox-sun
Installed Size  : 168.74 MiB
Packager        : Ralf Mardorf <[hidden email]>
Build Date      : Sun 25 Oct 2020 08:27:17 CET
Install Date    : Sun 25 Oct 2020 08:29:34 CET
Install Reason  : Explicitly installed
Install Script  : No
Validated By    : None

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Re: Strange video behavior in VB

MR ZenWiz
In reply to this post by Liam Proven
On Tue, Oct 27, 2020 at 4:42 AM Liam Proven <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> On Tue, 27 Oct 2020 at 01:31, MR ZenWiz <[hidden email]> wrote:
> >
:
> > I just installed Linux Mint 20 in a VB VM on my Xubuntu 20.04.1
> > desktop,
>
> You mean VirtualBox, right? I ask 'cause "VB" is the standard
> abbreviation for MS Visual Basic and from the title that's what I
> thought you meant, and I was at a loss as to what this meant on or re
> Linux until I read the message.
>
I never use or even think of Visual Basic - my mistake.

Yes, VirtualBox.

> Standalone version from www.virtualbox.org (current = 6.1.14) or the
> older version from the Ubuntu repos? (Not sure, can't check as I am
> typing on macOS.)
>
Standalone v6.1.14...

> Reboots of the host or of the guest?
>
Guest.  I only reboot the host when I update and the update requires a reboot.

> The guest doesn't know [that it's a VM]. It just sees a graphics card. You can
> pick which one under:
>
>  VBox -> VM Settings ->  Display -> Graphics controller
>
> The choices are:
> • VBoxVGA
> • VBoxSVGA (the native one)
> • VMSVGA (compatible with VMware, I believe)
> • None
>
The one that comes up by default is VMSVGA.  When I changed it to
VboxSVGA and turned off the 3D acceleration, the Mint VM works fine,
except it still can't seem to handle full screen mode or "maximized."
I expanded the window to fill the whole screen and that works fine too
- very strange.

> > I have the guest additions installed,
>
> Those *contain* graphics drivers. So you *do* have graphics drivers installed.
>
Ok...
> How did you install them? From the VBox ISO (latest but you don't get
> updates) or from the Ubuntu repos in the guest?
>
From the built-in VB guest additions ISO that mounts on demand.

> > and I can resize the
> > screen/window, but in full screen mode, it goes blank and does not
> > appear to recover.
> >
> > Any clues?
>
> We need more info.
>
> To enable hardware passthrough, you need to do 2 primary things:
>
> [1] Enable 3D acceleration in that VM in VBox's  Display Settings
> [2] Install graphics drivers via the Guest Additions, either the ones
> VBox provides in an ISO or via those in most Linux distros' repos.
>
I tried that, in that order.  The results are as I described in my OP.

> I described it in a blog post here:
>
> https://liam-on-linux.livejournal.com/33987.html
>
I'll keep that handy, thanks.

> Notes:
> • To do much with them, you need a 3D-accelerated desktop (e.g. GNOME
> 3, Cinnamon, Unity) or to enable it under one of the desktops where
> it's optional (Maté, XFCE etc.)
I did not know that.  I hope it fits here - the Mint has Cinnamon and
the Ubuntu has GNOME 3.

> • I have had significant problems with every version of KDE I've tried
I use a few KDE utilities, but I have never liked KDE - just not my
cup of tea.  Others love it.

> • To build the kernel module, you need compilers etc install. I
> recommend installing the packages `build-essential` and `dkms` and the
> headers for your current kernel *before* you install the extensions.
> If you did not have this, remove the extensions, reboot, install DKMS,
> the kernel headers and the build essentials, reboot, install the guest
> additions, shut down the VM, enable 3D acceleration in VBox settings,
> and restart the VM.
I'm sitting in the Ubuntu VM, expanded to full screen, waiting for
something to show up.  The mouse cursor took a minute or two before it
became visible, and after five minutes of typing this response, it is
still blank (black).

I'll see what happens if I ever get anything, or reboot the VM until I
see something - anything - to work with.

Thanks.

Mark

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Re: Strange video behavior in VB

MR ZenWiz
On Tue, Oct 27, 2020 at 12:37 PM MR ZenWiz <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
:
> The one that comes up by default is VMSVGA.  When I changed it to
> VboxSVGA and turned off the 3D acceleration, the Mint VM works fine,
> except it still can't seem to handle full screen mode or "maximized."
> I expanded the window to fill the whole screen and that works fine too
> - very strange.
>
Addendum:

When I set view full screen, it goes to full screen, but the VM
display is the default small box in the center.  When I unset full
screen, it shrinks to that smaller size, which I can then expand to
fill the whole screen (with the VM window edges and title bar).

The Ubuntu VM never came up with any display, so I gave up.  I removed
it and will reinstall from scratch.  I'll let all know what
transpires, if it's interesting at all.

Thanks again.

Mark

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Re: Strange video behavior in VB

Liam Proven
In reply to this post by MR ZenWiz
On Tue, 27 Oct 2020 at 20:40, MR ZenWiz <[hidden email]> wrote:
> >
> I never use or even think of Visual Basic - my mistake.
>
> Yes, VirtualBox.

No biggie. It was obvious once I started reading the message -- but I
guess busy people might skip the message on that basis...

> Standalone v6.1.14...

OK. That's what I use too, except for Vagrant.

See Ralf's note, though.

> Guest.  I only reboot the host when I update and the update requires a reboot.

OK.

*The* primary troubleshooting technique for graphics/desktop display
problems on Linux is to switch to a text console and back. On X.11
that's Ctrl+Alt+[2...7] by default, of course.

But that switches the host, assuming you're running VBox on Linux. You
have not specified so I do not know.

So, use the host key + F2..F6. E.g. RCtrl+F2. Check it works in a
window, and then try it if full-screen freezes.


> The one that comes up by default is VMSVGA.  When I changed it to
> VboxSVGA and turned off the 3D acceleration, the Mint VM works fine,
> except it still can't seem to handle full screen mode or "maximized."
> I expanded the window to fill the whole screen and that works fine too
> - very strange.

Is this GNOME 3 in the guest? Are you using X.org or Wayland?

> From the built-in VB guest additions ISO that mounts on demand.

OK. May be worth trying the FOSS ones, as per my blog post. Remove the
ISO ones first, obviously.

> I tried that, in that order.  The results are as I described in my OP.

OK. Any difference if you turn _off_ 3D passthrough?

> I did not know that.  I hope it fits here - the Mint has Cinnamon and
> the Ubuntu has GNOME 3.

It's one of the main reasons I don't much like OpenGL desktops. E.g.
their performance in VMs sucks, and if you don't have working drivers,
the software fallback uses a lot of CPU.

An example of the Linux world copying Apple without due consideration.

Mac OS X almost never runs in virtualisation. Linux almost always
does. Hardware OpenGL doesn't work in VMs without special measures
that as you are discovering are not trivial. Therefore building
desktops that won't work well in VMs was a bad idea.

But GNOME, Elementary etc. are full of  such lacks of analysis. E.g.
an always-on top panel is central to both UIs, copied from the Mac OS
X design, as is not having menu bars in app windows. *But* the
developers apparently did not study Mac OS X, because the primary use
for the top panel is for a global menu bar. Neither GNOME 3 nor
Elementary supports a global menu bar; apparently they didn't think of
that. Therefore the top panel is vestigial and should not be there in
a well-thought-out design, and additionally, apps are crippled with
buttons in the fake title bar and a phone-like hamburger menu.

The whole thing reeks of poor design to me.

> I use a few KDE utilities, but I have never liked KDE - just not my
> cup of tea.  Others love it.

I agree.

> I'm sitting in the Ubuntu VM, expanded to full screen, waiting for
> something to show up.  The mouse cursor took a minute or two before it
> became visible, and after five minutes of typing this response, it is
> still blank (black).

Switch to a text console and back, just the same as you would if the
display got corrupted in bare-metal Linux.


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Re: Strange video behavior in VB

MR ZenWiz
I did some experimentation and found a few really strange oddities.

Full disclosure (shoulda done this before): I'm running these VMs in
VirtualBox 6.1.14, which I believe is the latest from Oracle.  The
host is Xubuntu 20.04.1.

The Mint VM runs ok, just slow.  It has the VMSVGA driver and no 3D
acceleration (and it complains about that, but I couldn't get it to
work with that option enabled, so no).  It runs in full screen view
just fine.  I probably won't use it because I still don't like the
Mint GUI or the mouse menu "start" button) structure.  It doesn't map
well for me.

I fooled around with the Ubuntu VM to play with display sizes.  I
could get it up to 2048x1560 (I think), but anything wider and it went
black.  If I then shrank it, the GUI came back.  Other than that, it
works fine.  I don't like the GNOME window manager at all - that's one
of the reasons I switched to Xubuntu back in '12 or '14, I forget
which.  My host screen, panel and keyboard shortcuts are configured
the way I like them and I see no reason to go back to a weighty GUI/wm
like GNOME, or Cinnamon.

Then I checked the display settings in my Xubuntu 20.04.1 VM (I used
that to play with it before upgrading).  The other two had 16Mb of
memory for display, but this one had 32Mb.  The lights went on, so I
upped the Mint and Ubuntu VMs to 32Mb, and voila - no more display
problems.  Both run fine in full screen mode now.

However, I then noticed that my Xubuntu 20.04.1 VM would not use the
whole full screen, and the display settings won't adjust to my 2K
dimensions.  It does allow 2560x1600, but that falls off the bottom of
the 1440 pixel screen, and the closest I can get it to a useful size
is 1920x1200, which looks silly with all that black around it.  I
don't need it, so I probably won't use it, but I'll hang onto it for
the heck of it.

So, VM display problem partially solved, enough that i can proceed.

Many thanks to all who responded, especially Liam, who challenged me
to look around at many things.

I'll shut up now.  :-)

Mark

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Re: Strange video behavior in VB

ubuntu-users mailing list
On Fri, 30 Oct 2020 21:07:47 -0700, MR ZenWiz wrote:
>I'm running these VMs in VirtualBox 6.1.14, which I believe is the
>latest from Oracle.

The latest version is 6.1.16. I'm using it on an Arch Linux host, with
Windows guests. I didn't notice any difference compared to 6.1.14
myself, but you probably should test, if it does or doesn't fix the
issue you are experiencing.

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Re: Strange video behavior in VB

Liam Proven
In reply to this post by MR ZenWiz
On Sat, 31 Oct 2020 at 05:12, MR ZenWiz <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> The Mint VM runs ok, just slow.  It has the VMSVGA driver and no 3D
> acceleration (and it complains about that, but I couldn't get it to
> work with that option enabled, so no).  It runs in full screen view
> just fine.  I probably won't use it because I still don't like the
> Mint GUI or the mouse menu "start" button) structure.  It doesn't map
> well for me.

Which GUI? Mint offers several -- I think the main ones are Cinnamon,
Maté and XFCE. I personally favour XFCE because it's the one that does
vertical taskbars best, but Maté is also good if you're happy with
top/bottom/both panels. Cinnamon is GNOME 3 rewritten to look Windows
95-like. I don't see much point, TBH, but it's pretty.

Cinnamon needs hardware acceleration to work well. Try picking one of
the other graphics cards types, reboot to check it works OK, *then*
turn on acceleration. The key thing when troubleshooting is: don't
change 2 variables at the same time.

>   I don't like the GNOME window manager at all - that's one
> of the reasons I switched to Xubuntu back in '12 or '14, I forget
> which.

Agreed!

>  My host screen, panel and keyboard shortcuts are configured
> the way I like them and I see no reason to go back to a weighty GUI/wm
> like GNOME, or Cinnamon.

Also agreed. I'm on Xfce on my work boxes, too, after trying all the
alternatives.

As a low-priority project I am trying to build a GNUstep desktop.
Someone I vaguely know online is way ahead of me, but using FreeBSD as
the basis not Linux:
https://github.com/probonopd/LIVEstep

A Linux-based alternative but using CentOS is AfterStep:
https://github.com/trunkmaster/nextspace


> Then I checked the display settings in my Xubuntu 20.04.1 VM (I used
> that to play with it before upgrading).  The other two had 16Mb of
> memory for display, but this one had 32Mb.  The lights went on, so I
> upped the Mint and Ubuntu VMs to 32Mb, and voila - no more display
> problems.  Both run fine in full screen mode now.

Cool.

I think you must previously have set those down -- as I recall, the
default allowance is a lot and I usually cut it back hard. But the
defaults may have changed; I don't watch _that_ closely. If you have
plenty of host RAM, then you can assign a lot of VRAM -- 64 or 128MB.

(When you realise that 128MB of VRAM is a lot, then you realise how
grotesque gamer-oriented graphics cards with 2GB+ of VRAM are. If you
don't play 3D games in HD, this is total waste. There used to be a
tool to put Linux' swap in the unused video RAM, making some use of
this squandered resource, but it is long unmaintained.)

> However, I then noticed that my Xubuntu 20.04.1 VM would not use the
> whole full screen, and the display settings won't adjust to my 2K
> dimensions.  It does allow 2560x1600, but that falls off the bottom of
> the 1440 pixel screen, and the closest I can get it to a useful size
> is 1920x1200, which looks silly with all that black around it.  I
> don't need it, so I probably won't use it, but I'll hang onto it for
> the heck of it.

OK.

> So, VM display problem partially solved, enough that i can proceed.

Great!

> Many thanks to all who responded, especially Liam, who challenged me
> to look around at many things.

I'm very glad I could help at all. Sorry for my hectoring tone --
these are stressful times.

BTW, are you the MarkR that used to be on CIX?

> I'll shut up now.  :-)

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