Virtual Machine

The Unix Users Group (UUG) maintains a virtual machine (VM) that allows you to use a Linux-based operating system regardless of what operating system is on your computer. The virtual machine also comes with a utility that automates the installation of software needed for various CS courses.

First, you will need to download and install VirtualBox if you do not already have it. Then, download the VM image (warning: it is a large file!) and double-click it to begin the setup process.

There is a CS 101 tutorial about the setup process, and the UUG also maintains a getting started guide and a troubleshooting common problems guide. If you run into other issues or have questions, feel free to attend a UUG meeting (see the CS clubs page for dates and times).

If you are interested in seeing how the VM image is built or if you are interested in contributing, please visit the project repository on Github.

Note for M1 “Apple Silicon” Users: Since these machines use completely different CPUs, they are incapable of running VirtualBox with the Linux Mint image. The UUG is attempting to make a compatible VM, but its a fast moving target that's difficult to fully test. Mint also isn't released for M1, so this VM uses Ubuntu with the same tools, but a different look than the lab machines. If you'd like to try running a Linux VM on your M1, first download a current version of UTM, and then download the VM image. Please send any feedback, positive or negative to ripleymj@jmu.edu.

WARNING FOR MAC USERS: There are known issues with VirtualBox on macOS 11.0 (“Big Sur”). If you wish to use a VM on your machine, you should NOT upgrade to Big Sur at this time.