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The Net Takeaway: Ubuntu 7.04 and No Mouse on Virtual PC


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Ubuntu 7.04 and No Mouse on Virtual PC · 05/29/2007 08:05 PM, Tech

UPDATE for 7.10: Same issue on 7.10; same workaround applies. See Ubuntu 7.10 and No Mouse on Virtual PC, or just follow the below directions.

UPDATE: 5/29/2007 a workaround from points to which both say to include the kernel parameter i8042.noloop on the boot. This can be done manually each time on the liveCD (Press “f6” for additional options at the boot screen, and hand type it in on that text line) or if you install it, you can manually add this to the boot config file. On my tests with VirtualPC, this allowed the mouse to work as expected! tells how to edit the boot config file.


I’ve been playing with some Linuxes off and on, and you may recall my post PCLinuxOS: Finally a usable Linux… where I told how impressed I am and continue to be with PCLinuxOS.

I’ve now had a chance to play with Mepis which has some really nice touches, but doesn’t look enough like Windows for a smooth transition, and also the lastest version of Ubuntu, 7.04, which looks just like the old one.

But I couldn’t spend too much time with Ubuntu. Why? Because of a bug which affects some users using PS/2 mice… and VirtualPC. Yes, I still use VirtualPC, not VMWare, because I already have images set up and its a pain to switch over (doable, but a pain). I also don’t want to have yet another set of virtual drivers, so I haven’t put in VirtualBox, though it also gets good reviews.

But the issue is that Ubuntu 7.04 does not recognize the mouse or keyboard in VirtualPC as of this posting; you just can’t type anything or use the mouse in the virtual machine (aka, its a “headless box”). This means that its unusable. And so we are stuck for a while.

Why? The beauty of “open sores”, sorry, Open Source. Whenever there’s a bug, it has to compete with people’s time and interest to get it fixed. An issue affecting a Microsoft app running Linux under a Microsoft OS, not surprisingly, is getting little attention from Linux programmers.

I’m not alone in this need; lots of “dabblers” are frustrated that their VirtualPC Ubuntu install is now trashed, and some people on older hardware are also screwed. And we’ve filed bugs about the hardware issue and specifically on VirtualPC:

ps2 mouse does not work in Feisty FINAL VERSION
Mouse, Keyboard disabled in Virtual PC
among others.

And yes, its a kernel problem, which means it affects Red Hat and others. (Note: the issues appears not to affect Qemu/VirtualBox or VMWare or Parallels or other virtual solutions; its just the way that the kernel checks for certain hardware which wasn’t tested on a) enough motherboards and b) in VirtualPC. If you don’t have the specific motherboards or chipsets at issue, or you use another virtualization solution, Ubuntu 7.04 (or Fedora or others) may be fine for you.)

But at the end of the day, bugs which mostly impact MS users just tend to fall to the bottom of the stack. There is no “priority assignment”, process to lobby for bug, nothing to let us know that anyone will fix or how we can draw attention to it; it just sits there, disabling the MS users who want to try out Ubuntu. This, by the way, from the people who complain that they can’t get MS people to switch from Windows to Linux.

With this kind of treatment, I wonder why?

So, feel free to jump on these bugs if you are experiencing these problems; perhaps if enough people post on the forums and comment on these bugs, we can get a fix out which will make it possible to start introducing people to Ubuntu safely via VirtualPC.

Otherwise, Bug #1 in the Ubuntu list, Bug #1, first reported on 2004-08-20 by Mark Shuttleworth: Microsoft has a majority market share will continue to stay on the top.

* * *


  1. Figures. This is why linux sucks, will always suck and will never replace Windows. Frankly I think they’re just a bunch of hipocrites. If Linux took over as the major OS the whole IT infrastructure would collapse under the weight of apathetic, fat, ugly, lives-at-home-in-moms-basement idiots. Microsoft may not be the nicest company in the world, but they get the job done.

    RMS    Jul 4, 01:09 AM    #

  2. thanks, this works great!

    Mark Heath    Jul 5, 01:38 PM    #

  3. RMS, you morron!
    linux is prefect and works better and better everyday. You should learn to read first
    “Note: the issues appears not to affect Qemu/VirtualBox or VMWare or Parallels or other virtual solutions; its just the way that the kernel checks for certain hardware which wasn’t tested on a) enough motherboards and b) in VirtualPC”
    Don’t blame Linux for lacks of developments in MS virtual PC and learn to think!
    ps: I use Ubuntu everyday for 2 years, and no longer use Windows at home for that time…. Linux is worth the try!

    moi    Sep 14, 11:38 AM    #

  4. Man you suck not linux
    also windoze sacks..
    Microsoft hate linux and for that they doesn’t make drivers for linux.
    PS: Use VmWare

    lunux user    Jan 17, 03:12 AM    #

  5. Wow, thanks “lunux user” that piece of writing was easy to read and there were no spelling errors. I am surprised you know how to use *nix, or even a computer for that matter.

    end sarcasm

    windows user    May 7, 12:46 AM    #

  6. Yes i have used this before i have seen this post, and it works damn well. There is also a 2 byte kernel patch that fixes the issue

    Hakerbitz    May 26, 06:51 PM    #

  7. The i8042.noloop worked for me BUT I am getting graphics that are unreadable. Any ideas on how to get the screen to look right. I have an iMac G5 Set at 1440X900 Resolution. 1.8 GHz. 1.25 GB Ram. Ubuntu 8 works on VPC 7 up to the install window and with i8042.noloop I can now move the arrow around (thank you) but the graphics are garbled. Any ideas?


    redpro    Jul 8, 02:36 AM    #

  8. Ancient, but I’m bored and amused enough to respond anyway.

    Hey, moi, YOU should learn to read first.

    “... the way that the kernel checks … wasn’t tested on … VirtualPC …”

    It’s NOT a “... lacks of developments in MS virtual PC”. It’s an Ubuntu problem.

    That also leaves me curious about what else they did that doesn’t work quite properly. Every OS I’ve tried boots VPC as fast as real hardware (host caching makes up for emulation layers) EXCEPT ubuntu’s livecd. That boots in less than a minute on my real hardware and literally takes most of an hour to boot in VPC.

    MikeDB    Jul 1, 11:49 AM    #

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