School Server, Holodeck style

We are not quite there yet, but virtual machines always remind me of Star Trek’s Holodeck – a virtual world, where the OS thinks it runs on a real machine, but it can be “paused” at will and shelved away until a later date.

To take advantage of this setup, and to play around with a school server, I have put together a VM of OLPC XS 0.7 This version has been installed, but not configured. To get started:

  1. Grab and install a copy of your favorite virtualization platform such as VMPlayer or Virtualbox. I use VirtualBox under Ubuntu 12.04 LTS, which is where I built this VM. Your experience with other VM environments may vary.
  2. Download the OVA file from
  3. Unzip and check the md5sum hash of olpc-xs-0.7.ova. It should be 8eeed031780bc8d2c87915bc48ee27c8
  4. In VirtualBox, go to File | Import Appliance and point to the OVA file. This will import the VM into your machine. Be sure to adjust the RAM etc. to your liking. I’ve set it at 1024MB.
  5. Start your VM. When booted up, login as root. Password is we’rejammin’  (and I hope you like jammin’ too!)
  6. As a good administrator, change the password to your liking.
  7. Remember, this VM is not configured, so set it up.
  8. For example, xs-setup will set up your XS to run at Choose a domain of your liking. Because this is in a VM, and can be turned off at the flick of a switch, anything is ok. Even is ok, but we won’t like you very much.
  9. Now, we need to set up the networking. The VM comes only with the lo interface. So, run xs-setup-network and this will set up eth0 as the LAN interface. This interface will be spewing IP addresses via DHCP when you reboot the VM. So, before you reboot the VM, set its networking to bridging, and bridge it with the interface that you want it to spew at. For instance, I chose to bridge eth0 in VM and eth0 on my host laptop. That way, if I connect a AP to eth0 on my host laptop, it will be serving IPs to any XO that connects to it. Make sense?
  10. All set? reboot
  11. When the VM comes back up, you will see that eth0 now has an IP (the XS runs at this IP). It will also be serving IPs via eth0.
  12. Next steps? Use your server to test out Moodle. Try adjusting the RAM and CPU allocations and see how the XS behaves. Use your VM to train teachers, impress friends, be a Trekkie and say “Computer, end program“.
  13. See for more.

About sv3rma
This entry was posted in Hardware, Services, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to School Server, Holodeck style

  1. Robert says:

    I have been meaning to email you for the yum.log from when we installed XS .7 at ant olpc-sf meeting. I should be able to grab that from this ova image. thanks

  2. Mitchell Seaton says:

    Fantastic Sameer, thanks.

  3. sv3rma says:

    If you are looking for a OVF file instead of OVA, the OVA is simply a tar file. See for more.

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