Install VirtualBox Guest Additions on Ubuntu 11.10 – 2D and 3D Unity [Issues]

The latest Ubuntu 11.10 is released few weeks ago and having plenty of good reviews with claiming that this is the ever best Ubuntu release. I do not use Ubuntu OS, but whenever latest versions are released, I install them on VirtualBox or VMware to update my blog. Here is the small guide about install VirtualBox guest additions on Ubuntu 11.10 and get the most of the extra features. 2D Unity works fine but 3D did not work automatically for me, I think still it’s a compatibility issue with latest VirtualBox 4.1.4.

The complete installation steps of Ubuntu 11.10 on VirtualBox not covered here, it’s very easy to follow (Refer the earlier guide Ubuntu 10.10 on VirtualBox). Once the installation is completed, the next restart will land on Unity 2D desktop (which happened automatically for me), so you get Unity 2D in VirtualBox even before install guest additions. But, other extra features such as auto screen re-size and seamless mode are not enabled without guest additions.

only 2d login screen

Therefore, let’s install the virtualbox guest additions on Ubuntu 11.10 and get these extra display improvements and check the 3D unity.

3D acceleration in virtual machine setting is already enabled.

display settings

My main aim is to get Unity 3D in Ubuntu 11.10 with VirtualBox, so I tried to install guest additions in three methods,

1) Running and executing the script from built in VirtualBox Guest additions ISO.

install from CD

2) Running following command in terminal. Make sure guest virtual machine can communicate to internet and download packages.

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get install virtualbox-ose-guest-utils


Idea source.

3) Executing following commands in Ubuntu 11.10 terminal with internet access.

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get install build-essential linux-headers-$(uname -r)

sudo apt-get install virtualbox-ose-guest-x11


This method used to install guest additions on Ubuntu 10.10 as shown in Sysprobs.


I did above three installation steps individually as doing from beginning (used snapshot feature to revert back virtual machine), but could not get 3D unity login option. Even though all three were succeeded and got extra features as shown below.

extra options by vb guest additions

Restarting the virtual machine after every above installation steps landed on 2D unity only.

working 2D unity in VirtualBox 11.10

Now my question is, is this 3D Unity or should I get anything better then above screen (which is called 3D unity) ?

As per official conversation in VirtualBox forum, the latest VB 4.1.4 is still not supported for Ubuntu 11.10- click here to read.


How to Check 3D Unity Support

To check whether the virtual or physical machine can run Linux Ubuntu 3D unity, here is the command to check the compatibility, (Type the command and press Enter)

/usr/lib/nux/unity_support_test -p

Surprisingly Ubuntu 11.10 virtual machine returned the below result as 3D unity is supported.

3d unity test

But I’m sure 3D unity is currently not enabled in guest machine. So, I started 3D unity manually by following command,

unity --replace


unity manual start

Now, I could see the difference in desktop and 3D unity started working, even though the terminal screen started to throw some errors for each action.

How I can confirm it? pressing ALT+TAB is working like below which is part of 3D unity.

working 3d unity 11.10 in virtualbox


If you are great fan of Ubuntu and Oracle VirtualBox I’m sure this guide and my experience would be helpful  in some way. If there is a work around to make the 3D unity permanent without starting it manually, please share in comments area.

11 thoughts on “Install VirtualBox Guest Additions on Ubuntu 11.10 – 2D and 3D Unity [Issues]”

  1. Have Ubuntu 11.10 virtual guest on virtual box.

    When I enter the command /usr/lib/nux/unity_support_test -p, the following says “no”:
    Not software rendered
    GLx texture from pixmap
    Unity 3D supported

    When I enable 3D on the guest, then the guest fails and does not come up.

    Any ideas?

  2. Thanks!!
    This guide was very helpful for me.
    The iso installation(?) was not installed vbox additions.
    but second way and third way was affected.(?????????)
    Sorry. I’m not so good at English. Because I’m Korean and not so much(many?) studied myself.
    Anyway, It was very useful. Thanks~~
    (But I think its reaction rate is little bit slow….or not..)

  3. i ran through all your steps, yet when i tried running the unity –replace command, i got a bunch of warnings that looked like these:

    WARN 2012-02-09 02:20:01 glib.glib-gobject :0 invalid cast from `BamfWindow’ to `BamfApplication’

    WARN 2012-02-09 02:21:00 unity.glib.dbusproxy GLibDBusProxy.cpp:255 Cannot call method InfoRequest proxy /com/canonical/unity/lens/applications does not exist

    and then my terminal froze on this:

    WARN 2012-02-09 02:21:01 unity.iconloader IconLoader.cpp:509 Unable to load contents of file:///usr/share/icons/unity-icon-theme/places/svg/category-installed.svg: Error opening file: No such file or directory

    WARN 2012-02-09 02:21:01 unity.iconloader IconLoader.cpp:509 Unable to load contents of file:///usr/share/icons/unity-icon-theme/places/svg/category-available.
    svg: Error opening file: No such file or directory

    desktop still displays no icons, and the ability to close/minimize/maximize anything has disappeared from view as well on stuff like my terminal.

    i’m new to VMs and Ubuntu, does anyone know what’s wrong?

  4. Hey,

    Just wanted to say thank you. I couldn’t get that to install at all using a number of other walkthroughs. You’re the boss.

  5. I have installed ubuntu 11.10 at virtualbox
    typing lspci eb console not my firewire card.

    I wish I could connect my DV camera and can capture with kino.

    how I can activate the firewire?

  6. Well, it appeared to install, but it didn’t work. Caused some weird refresh issues. Maybe it is the video card I’m using which is an Intel(R) HD Graphics 3000 on my laptop.

  7. Oracle VBox 4.1.12 with Windows & Guest extensions. CPAN OpenGL.066 loaded and configures.
    UNITY 3D does come up, however, ALT+TAB crashes the desktop. VM has 3GB, 20GB hard drive, currently running Cinnamon 1.4 desktop which appears to work fine. I ran the utiily and it displays the following, is this because openGL CPAN support is loaded or is something else broken and how do fix it?


    Ed –

    unity_support_test -p
    OpenGL vendor string: Mesa Project
    OpenGL renderer string: Software Rasterizer
    OpenGL version string: 1.4 (2.1 Mesa 7.11)

    Not software rendered: no
    Not blacklisted: yes
    GLX fbconfig: yes
    GLX texture from pixmap: yes
    GL npot or rect textures: yes
    GL vertex program: yes
    GL fragment program: yes
    GL vertex buffer object: no
    GL framebuffer object: yes
    GL version is 1.4+: yes

    Unity 3D supported: no

  8. Hello All,

    I solved the issues with 3D that I posted in my last reply. Several issues, freeglut and CPAN opengl .066 had to be removed, and the exporting for an environmantal that forced indirect opengl IO, You might want to add a link to, there are some important first steps posted that make getting 3D and all Vbox extensions working, some get info to be leaned from their forum too.


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