OpenBSD and VirtualBox

December 14, 2009 — 6 Comments

I’ve been using OpenBSD since the 3.0 version as desktop, in my home servers and even in production systems, some time ago I decided to virtualize my OpenBSD infrastructre first with VMware Server and later with VirtualBox (both of them with Linux as the host system) which is much more powerfull; but when I started to use VirtualBox a year or so ago I discovered that installing OpenBSD in VirtualBox can be a pain in the ass.

The installation went smothly until I got the following error:

uid 0 on /: file system full
/: write failed, file system is full
Segmentation fault

Sometimes the installation started despite of the error but it did not finish correctly, others  the installation process hung up and had to forcely shutdown the VM or simply the installation aborted. I tried several times and got some weird errors and the previous error not always at the same step.

I did a small research and found a couple of solutions for this issue.  The first solution was to enable VT-x/AMD-V virtualiztion extensions, but my processor didn’t have those extensions so this solution didn’t solve my problem.

The second workaround finally allowed me to install OpenBSD without errors. The virtual machine has to be started from the command line with the -norawr0 option:

jmr@wopr:~# VirtualBox -startvm <uid_or_name_of_the_vm> -norawr0

jmr@wopr:~# VBoxSDL -norawr0 -vm <uid_or_name_of_the_vm>

One final note, with OpenBSD 4.6 I didn’t get the error, even with a processor without the VT-x extensions.


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6 responses to OpenBSD and VirtualBox

    unwiredbrain June 23, 2010 at 15:55

    Hi there.

    Just a quick follow-up: the segmentation fault appears again on OpenBSD 4.7 (VirtualBox 3.2.4 on top of Windows XP SP3)

    As usual, launching the VM with the -norawr0 switch fixes everything.

    Wish you all the best.

    Linus Newbert August 17, 2010 at 20:04


    The bug seems to follow VirtualBox (PUEL) and OpenBSD 4.7 rather than the host OS: it happens on Lucid Lynx as well (launching with VirtualBox and norawr0 fails but with VBoxSDL and norawr0 seems to work for now).
    And just to add more spice to it, it fails both on installation and subsequent runs of properly installed machine. Guys from Oracle should be notified, and should offer, when starting the guest OS, the opportunity to activate this flag instead of showing the useless warning “You don’t have VT blah, blah …”.

    Linus Newbert August 17, 2010 at 20:07

    Btw, tried first with ose-3.1.8 then with puel-3.2.8 with same results.


    Thank you! It was impossible to get OpenBSD to run properly, You are the greatest!


    Thanks !
    Get the same “seg fault” problem on my Linux host and OpenBSD 5.0
    The VBoxSDL norawr0 command worked perfectly


    VBoxSDL -norawr0 -vm OpenBSD <- That fixed it!

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