Install VirtualBox on Ubuntu 9.10 “Karmic Koala”

By | 2010/01/15

I am, as I’m sure many of you are, avid users of virtualization. Virtualization allows us to test new releases, other distributions, and otherwise sandbox operating systems and applications that we wouldn’t otherwise be able to (or want to!) run on our stable system. In this article I will outline how to install the latest VirtualBox release using the VirtualBox / Sun repository. This will ensure your installation remains up to date, and stays within the package management system.


In order to install the latest VirtualBox release we’ll need to configure and activate the VirtualBox repository. This is done by following the steps below:

  1. (GNOME) Navigate to: System > Administration > Software Sources
  2. (KDE) Navigate to: System Settings > Add and Remove Software > Settings > Edit Software Sources
  3. Select the “Other Software” tab.
  4. Add: deb karmic non-free

You’ll also want to import the package signing key, using the command:

wget -q -O- | sudo apt-key add -


Once you have the upstream VirtualBox repository activated, you’re able to install the latest VirtualBox release using the command below. You may also click on the linked package name:

sudo aptitude install virtualbox-3.1


Before you are able to use VirtualBox you will need to add yourself to the required group. This facilitates access to the vboxdrv system device. Use the following command to add yourself to the required group:

sudo gpasswd -a <username> vboxusers

Once you have applied this change you will need to logout and log back in. This is required for the group-access change to take effect.

After you are logged back in you should be able to successfully launch VirtualBox from: Applications > System Tools > VirtualBox

8 thoughts on “Install VirtualBox on Ubuntu 9.10 “Karmic Koala”

  1. Chickenorshrimp


    I’ve just downloaded ubuntu, and I’m loving it. However, I tried following you steps to install virtual box but I’m stuck. First, I tried downloading straight from the site and running the installer, but received an error message (I cant remember what it was). So I found your page, and followed the directions. The first command returned and “ok”. The second is where I think something went wrong. This is what I put in followed by it’s response:

    : sudo aptitude install virtualbox-3.1
    Reading package lists… Done
    Building dependency tree
    Reading state information… Done
    Initializing package states… Done
    Writing extended state information… Done
    Couldn’t find any package whose name or description matched “virtualbox-3.1”
    Couldn’t find any package whose name or description matched “virtualbox-3.1”
    No packages will be installed, upgraded, or removed.
    0 packages upgraded, 0 newly installed, 0 to remove and 212 not upgraded.
    Need to get 0B of archives. After unpacking 0B will be used.
    Writing extended state information… Done
    Reading package lists… Done
    Building dependency tree
    Reading state information… Done
    Reading extended state information
    Initializing package states… Done

    And finally, I ran your last line of code:

    sudo gpasswd -a curtis vboxusers
    gpasswd: group ‘vboxusers’ does not exist in /etc/group

    And being way out of my league on this stuff, I thought I would ask for help. Anything you could do would be appreciated. Thanks

  2. Chickenorshrimp

    Also, the installer now has the error:

    Error: Conflicts with Installed package virtualbox-ose

    Dont know if that makes a difference. Thanks

    1. Christer Edwards Post author

      If you read the error, it should tell you that you already have VirtualBox installed using the -OSE version (Open Source Edition). The two can’t be installed at the same time, so you’ll need to remove one before installing the other.

      Try sudo aptitude remove virtualbox-ose and then try to install the other package.

  3. Chickenorshrimp

    It ran perfectly. I removed, then followed your steps again. Went without a hitch. Thank you so much

  4. Jigar

    i m being asked to enter the CD of ubuntu 9.04…
    and i have already installed 9.10..
    what should i do??

  5. enverhoxha

    I cannot make Virtualbox work in Ubuntu 10.04 (upgraded from Ubuntu 8.04). I tried both with Virtualbox OSE from Package Manager and Virtualbox 3.2 downloaded from the Virtualbox site (32 bits version, as my OS). Installation is OK, but when I try to run it, I get an error message:
    Error in home/…/.virtualbox.xml (line3) — cannot handle settings version ‘1.2-linux’.
    Code: NS_ERROR_FAILURE (0x80004005).
    Got an idea?

  6. Hashimoto Okeda

    Well, virtual-box for Ubuntu doesn’t work, ‘cuz that has a conflict with the kernel from hardy heron …

    We’ll be waiting a new update from ubuntu or virtualbox. Now, you can install virtualbox in Debian or Suse, without any problem …

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