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I'm checking arch on a virtualbox (running on ubuntu) before I install it on my machine. I have followed the wiki up until the display driver section. lspci gives:

VGA compatible controller: InnoTek Systemberatung GmbH Virtual Graphics Adapter

I assume this is some sort of virtualbox compatible layer, is there a way to by pass it and test my real display driver (intel of some kind) on the virtual box?

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In exchange for the advice and help you receive, you could pay the community here a favor by going through your old questions and voting on answers that were useful or misleading as well as accepting any correct answers. – Caleb Jun 29 '11 at 13:03
up vote 2 down vote accepted

No. It is not possible to provide a VirtualBox VM access to the host video card, only the virtual interface you see listed there. In fact, this is true for most hardware including network cards as well. The primary exception to this is some USB devices and storage controllers that can be revealed to the VM if the host OS is not using them via a special bridge driver.

Using a Linux distro in a VM should give you a feel for whether you like the software or not, but it is not a good test of whether it interfaces well with your hardware.

Instead you should use a LiveCD or bootable USB release to start it up with full access to your hardware. This will allow you to test all the things you want to checkout without over-writing or re-partitioning your hard-drive until you think it's going to work.

As a final note, most Linux distros share relativly the same base of drivers and hardware compatability. How well they juggle it all varies some, and sometimes one distro will have work-arounds for certain machines that have not made it into the upstream projects, but it's pretty safe to say that if your video card and display works in one Linux distro, it is likely to work in another distro of the same era.

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Thanks, I had a bitter experience with my old laptop where almost no distro recognized my display driver and wifi card. Do you happen to know if there a way to test arch without installing it? – Yotam Jun 29 '11 at 13:15
@Yotam: I already mentioned in my answer how this is usually done. Since the main ArchLinux LiveCD releases do not feature a desktop environment by default, you might look into one of the Arch based distros instead. There are several Arch based LiveCD's with graphical environments. Since these are derivative works some things may work well out of the box that would not on plain Arch or vise-versa, but it is a place to start. – Caleb Jun 29 '11 at 14:10
@Yotam: Intel tends to have pretty good open source drivers ... much of their work has even made it into the kernel or other upstream projects. You shouldn't have much problem with intel graphics or wifi adapters. Some cheap wifi cards like Atheros used to be really troublesome, but even most of those have gotten much easier to manage in Linux of late. Unless you have bleeding edge hardware choices or some old cantakerous ones where the venders never released specs and nobody cared enough to make it work ... then it's unlikely you will have as much of a problem now as you did in the past. – Caleb Jun 29 '11 at 14:23

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