MyWikidot ISO And A Virtual Machine

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This guide explains how to install the MyWikidot installable ISO image on a Sun xVM VirtualBox virtual machine.


Until I can find a suitable host for my ISO file(s), the only way you can get this file is to send me a private message (Ed Johnson) and I can provide a download link. The file is just under 1GB and I have limited bandwidth available right now. Once Wikidot makes some file management changes, I will make the file available here.
Update: February 20, 2009
I'm going to try hosting my installable ISO on Dropbox. Here are links to the ISO and corresponding md5 hash file:
mywikidot_backup_rev_393_20090123.iso (1.0 GB)
mywikidot_backup_rev_393_20090123.iso.md5 (93 bytes)
If you find it takes too long to download (it took about 3 hours to upload through the Dropbox client), send me a PM and we can look at a Plan B to get you the ISO file.


Download and Install VirtualBox

If you don't already have VirtualBox on your PC, you can download it here.

Create a New Virtual Machine

  • Open VirtualBox and click the New button located on the top button bar.
  • The Virtual machine Wizard opens up. Click Next to begin creating your new virtual machine.
  • Name your machine and select the OS type and then click Next.
  • Allocate memory for your machine. I have been able to run this virtual machine with as little as 384MB allocated, but performance suffered. I recommend at least 512MB, but 768MB - 1GB provides better performance. Your mileage may vary. Set the base memory size and then click Next.
  • Create a virtual hard disk for your virtual machine. You can use an existing virtual hard disk or create a new one. This guide will show you how to create a new virtual hard disk. Click the New… button.
  • Run the Create New Virtual hard Disk Wizard. Click the Next button.
  • Select the virtual disk image type. Either type is fine. I use dynamic to save disk space. Fixed size drives may give better performance, but I have not tested this. Make your choice and click the Next button.
  • Name your virtual hard drive and set the size. I like to append "_HD to the end of the default image file name for the virtual hard drive. I also like to bump up the size to around 20GB so I have plenty of room (plus, the drive will resize dynamically and won't take up any extra space until it's needed). Name your image, set the hard drive size and click the Next button.
  • Review your settings. To make changes, click the Back button. If you are happy with your settings, click Finish.
  • We're returned to the Create Virtual Machine Wizard with out newly created virtual hard drive selected as the default. Click Next.
  • Review your virtual machine settings. To make changes, click the Back button. If you are happy with your settings, click Finish.
  • We need to tweak a couple more settings. With the machine you just created highlighted in the list of virtual machines, click the Settings button in the top button bar.
  • Under General » Advanced check the **Enable PAE/NX box. This is required for Ubuntu Linux to run properly in a virtual machine.
  • Under CD/DVD-ROM check the Mount CD/DVD Drive box and select ISO Image File. Next, click the small folder icon to the right of the ISO Image File box.
  • Click the Add button on the top button bar.
  • Browse to the MyWikidot installable ISO you downloaded and click Open.
  • The ISO image is added to your available ISO images and is selected by default. Click Select.
  • Our virtual machine creation is complete. Click OK.

Start Your New Virtual Machine

Note: If you find your mouse gets trapped inside your virtual machine's window, hit the Right-Ctrl key to release it back to your host operating system. We will fix this behavior later on in the process after we have our virtual machine fully running.

  • With the machine you just created highlighted in the list of virtual machines, click the Start button in the top button bar.
  • The MyWikidot installable ISO was created using Remastersys. It creates a bootable, installable live CD/DVD image file. This ISO was created in Remastersys "backup" mode. This means that it preserves all user account settings. You can run this image in live mode, but the Wikidot software will not operate very well because it needs to write to a hard drive. It's best to install it, especially since we're using a virtual machine! At the boot: _ prompt, type install and hit Enter.
  • The MyWikidot installable ISO will now boot into install mode. This takes a few minutes to load.
  • After the installer loads, the first step is to choose your language. Click Forward.
  • Choose your time zone. Click Forward.
  • Choose your keyboard settings. Click Forward.
  • Prepare your virtual hard disk. I recommend selecting Guided - use entire disk (remember, we're going to format a virtual hard drive, not your actual hard drive!) Click Forward.
  • Enter the user information and host name. Note that the only critical setting here is the Computer name. it must be mywikidot for this install to work "out of the box". Remastersys preserves the user names and passwords. The installer asks for them by default and this part can't be turned off. Your Ubuntu admin user name will be wdadmin with a password of admin1 regardless of what you enter in this step. Complete the entries and click Forward.
    • User name: Wikidot Admin
    • Log in name: wdadmin
    • Password: admin1
    • Computer name: mywikidot
  • We're ready to install. Click Forward.
  • The install will take a few minutes to complete. When it's finished, click Restart Now.

Note: At some point during the install extra language packs are downloaded. A Skip button appears in the status window. If you are doing an English language install, you can safely click the Skip button. I am not sure if these are required for other languages (I would assume they are).

  • The machine will begin to shutdown and will prompt you to remove the CD and press Enter. Before you do, you need to unmount the Wikidot ISO image. Click Devices » Unmount CD\DVD-ROM and then hit Enter to finish rebooting.
  • After rebooting into your "virtual" install, you are prompted to log in with the user name and password.
    • Username: wdadmin
    • Password: admin1
  • Clean up the Ubuntu desktop by removing the Install shortcut on the desktop.

Prepare to Run Wikidot

  • Open the Readme! file on the desktop by double-clicking it. Read it! ;) We need to recreate the hosts file that was reset by our fresh install before Wikidot will run.
  • Open a terminal window. There is a shortcut in the top launcher panel. After it opens, arrange the Readme! window and the terminal window so they are side-by-side (it's OK if they overlap - we just want to be able to flip between them easily and still be able to read the text in the Readme! file.
  • Highlight the copy text in the Readme! file as shown in the screenshot. HIt Ctrl-C to copy the text. Switch to the terminal window and hit Shift-Ctrl-V to paste the text and hit Enter. Your will be prompted to enter your admin password (admin1). That's it! You can close both windows.

Open Firefox and Play!

  • Launch Firefox from the shortcut in the launcher panel on top of the screen. I have set up 3 home pages:
  • www.mywikidot.com - This is the Wikidot install running on your virtual machine.
  • my-wd-local.wikidot.com - My wiki that supports this project and other things related to the open source version of Wikidot. Please visit and participate!
  • www.wikidot.org - The official home of the Wikidot Open Source project.

Another site I highly recommend for tips, tricks and great support is:

  • community.wikidot.com - The official home of the Wikidot Community of users. It's a very active site with lots of great information.

(optional) Install Guest Additions

You can improve your virtual machine experience by installing Guest Additions. Among other things, it will free your mouse from the need to use Right-Ctrl and will allow you to set up shared folders between your host PC and the virtual machine.

  • While your virtual machine is running, select Devices » Install Guest Additions
  • A CD image is mounted and a window will open automatically that shows the contents of the Guest Additions CD image.
  • You can't run the install from the open window. You need to run it with root privileges. Open a terminal window and type these commands (commands are in bold text. Hit Enter at the end of each line):
  • sudo su - (enter you password if prompted - admin1)
  • cd /media/cdrom
  • bash VBoxLinuxAdditions-x86.run (this is for Linux virtual machines running on x86 architecture only)

Note: You may get an error message when you try to install the the Guest Additions.

Please install the build and header files for your current Linux kernel.
The current kernel version is 2.6.24-23-server (the version number may be different)

Type apt-get install linux-headers-2.6.24-23-server to install the correct header files. Be sure to substitute your version number if it is different than this example.

  • After the install is complete, you will be prompted that the changes won't kick in until you reboot. You can reboot while in the terminal window by typing:
  • reboot
  • After the reboot is complete and you have logged in, you can unmount the Guest Additions CD image by right-clicking the desktop icon and choosing Eject.

End of Guide


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