[Freedombox-discuss] Running an existing FreedomBox SD card under virtualbox.

A. F. Cano afc54 at comcast.net
Sun Feb 6 21:09:32 GMT 2022


I have an SD card with FreedomBox testing (bookworm/sid) that stopped
working some time ago.  I'm now running a different (stable) image.
Still, I would like to see what happened and fix/upgrade the old one.
I installed virtualbox from the deb package available at virtualbox.org
but there doesn't seem to be an option to let virtualbox know about the
SD card, that I can mount with no problem as /dev/sdd1.

I have found this:


but it seems to require a special build only for virtualbox, or an img
file, whereas I have an already extracted and configured FreedomBox on
an SD card, mounted now but I can always unmount it if necessary.

When I start virtualbox, I can start creating a virtual machine.  The
Name and Machine Folder I can enter.  I select Type: Linux and Version:
Debian (32 bit) and here's the first issue: I'm running an amd64 kernel
natively on this machine and the FreedomBox on the SD card also runs an
amd64 kernel.  Thnn I select the memory size: 4GB (same as the apu1d4 on
which the sdcard ran), and then I come to the show stopper.  The only
options for "Hard disk" are "Do not add a virtual hard disk", "Create a
virtual hard disk now" and "Use an existing virtual hard disk file".

If I select "Use an existing virtual hard disk file" the drop down menu
contains "Empty" and I can't do anything else, if I select "Do not add a
virtual hard disk" I get this:

  You are about to create a new virtual machine without a hard disk.
  You will not be able to install an operating system on the machine
  until you add one. In the mean time you will only be able to start
  the machine using a virtual optical disk or from the network.

This is not what I want.

If I select "Create a virtual hard disk now" and select the default: VDI
(VirtualBox Disk Imae), I can then choose "Dynamically allocated" with a
maximum sixe of 16GB, which should be sufficient.

If I start the VM, the only option to select is the CDROM drive, I can't
select /dev/sdd, which is what I want.

How do I tell virtualbox to use the bootable FS on the SD card
(/dev/sdd1)?  Or does the fact that virtualbox claims to only support
32 bits preclude what I'm trying to do?

If virtualbox won't work in this scenario, is there another way to run
the FreefomBox SD card in some kind of isolated enviromnment? a
container? qemu and associated software? The native architecture and the
the FreedomBox architecture are the same (amd64 kernels) so this
shouldn't be too hard, right?  But I've never tried to run anything in a
virtual machine/emulator/container.

Thanks for any hints.


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