Ubuntu MID is one of the newest members of the Ubuntu family, a version of Ubuntu made for touch screen mobile devices. It has a very different interface to regular Ubuntu and even Ubuntu Netbook Remix as it is designed with big finger-friendly icons. If you lack a suitable device though to install it on and get the full experience you can still find out a bit more about it by installing an image on VirtualBox. You can run the image in the same way as a live cd but installing it brings more scope for experimentation. As Ubuntu MID is supplied as a disc image rather than an ISO image of a CD the install process is a little different from regular machine setups, but is still quite straightforward; the first step is to grab a copy of the disc image from http://releases.ubuntu.com/8.10/, scroll down to "MID USB image" and download the "Low-Power Intel Architecture MID USB image" to your local hard disc, you should now have a file named "ubuntu-8.10-mid-lpia.img". Next we need to convert this to an image format that VirtualBox can recognise and to name it in a way to remind us that this is an installer usb image, do this with the command (note this will create a new file and not delete the old one):
VBoxManage convertdd ubuntu-8.10-mid-lpia.img ubuntu-8.10-mid-usbimg.vdi
Now move the VirtualBox compatible to the place where the VirtualBox images are kept ("~" is a shortcut for "current user's home directory"):
mv ubuntu-8.10-mid-usbimg.vdi ~/.VirtualBox/VDI/
Open up VirtualBox and make it aware of the new disc image by going to File -> Virtual Disk Manager, clicking "Add" and selecting our new image, the "Open" and then "Ok". We can now start on our virtual machine, when we do this the disc image we just created is NOT going to be the primary hard disc, instead we will make another drive to represent a flash disc of an Ubuntu MID driven system. In VirtualBox click on "New" to make a new virtual machine, a wizard will appear, click next and put in a machine name of "Ubuntu MID" (or whatever works for you) and then select "Ubuntu" as the OS Type, click Next. On the next screen configure the base memory as 512MB, the next page in the wizard is to configure your hard disc image for the machine, click on "New" and create disc with 8GB dynamically expanding storage. Click "Finish" but don't start the virtual machine just yet we need to make a few changes. On the right hand side of the VirtualBox window you should see the configuration for your new machine, click on "Audio" and select "ALSA" as the sound system to use. After that click on "Hard Disks", a new window will pop up, on the right hand side there are three icons for "Add Attachment", "Remove Attachment" and "Select Hard Disk", click on the "Add Attachment" button, you can now add the disc image we made earlier (ubuntu-8.10-mid-usbimg) and attach it to the "IDE Primary Slave" so it will show up in the virtual machine as a hard disk.
We're now ready to run the machine, but when it is started we will have to manually select a device to boot from as Ubuntu MID is not yet installed. Start the Virtual Machine (VM) as soon as the white VirtualBox welcome screen appears, press F12. You will now see a menu showing the available devices to boot from which should include an entry for "Primary Slave", press the option key for that and the vm will boot from the image we made earlier. After a boot up sequence you will see the Ubuntu MID interface for the first time, this behaves a bit like an Ubuntu live CD and we can install our own copy from here.
The top bar contains a menu that allows you to change the group of programs that you are seeing, click on the and pick "Preferences", you will now see an icon marked "Install", can you guess what you do next? ;) The installer is similar to the regular Ubuntu installer, and even makes reference to a "live CD" (I assume they will take this text out). When you go through the steps you can get it to use all of the hard disc image you created (the defaults). At step seven click "Install" and the system should start copying files, then it will scan for updates (when it says "scanning mirrors") and then download language packs. At the end of the installation process you will be prompted to restart, do this and you will now boot into your "installed" image of Ubuntu MID. If you need to reclaim some disc space you can unregister the image for the usb installer image that we made earlier.
To get Ubuntu MID to work at its best with VitualBox we should install the Guest Additions so that we can dynamically change the size of the screen and seamless move out move in and out of the image window. To do this go to "Preferences" start up Synaptic, when prompted for a password just press return (you are logged in as an automatic user "ubuntu"). You should bring you system up to date by clicking on "Mark All Upgrades" and then find the packages "build essential" and "linux-headers-lpia" and mark them for installation (right click on it and pick that from the menu). Now click "Apply" and follow the on screen instructions. After that has completed, in the VirtualBox window go to Devices -> Install Guest Additions, inside the VirtualBox window go to "Accessories" then "terminal", the CDROM in MID will not mount automatically so mount it by typing:
sudo mount -t iso9660 /dev/cdrom /mnt/cdrom0
Now you can run this command to install the Guest Additions:
After installation is complete you will need to reboot with "sudo reboot". Now your MID image is complete!