How to Run Gambas on Windows

Gambas on Windows

If you’re interested in Linux development but don’t want to ditch your Windows OS, you’re in luck! In this article I’ll show you how to install a Virtual Machine (VM) System that will allow you to install and run virtual computers. Each having their own operating system, virtual hardware, and installed software.

Image Virtual Box Control Panel

fig. 1 – VirtualBox Control Panel

So what is a virtual machine? A VM is a software-based emulation of a computer. Virtual machines operate based on the computer architecture and functions of a real or hypothetical computer. They used special file formats as hard-disks and can interface with the host or “real” machines hardware. This is not to be confused with Programming language VMs or Process VMs which are programs that interpret op-codes and perform actions based on those op-codes, like the Java VM. What we are going to use here is the type of VM that a web host might offer to its customers for hosting web services. This type of virtual machine is a complete virtualization of the system hardware. Including cpu, disk drives, cd-roms, video cards, memory, serial ports, etc… A complete virtual computer hardware system! Using a VM host system you can create and install multiple machines on your computer. Each looks like a real computer and each has its own hardware, software, and system settings.

Create Virtual Machine Dialog

fig. 2 – Create Virtual Machine Dialog

Memory Setting

fig. 3 – Memory Setting

There are a hand-full of VM software systems to choose from. Two of the most popular are VMWare a commercial system favored by a lot of hosting companies, Xen an open source system, and VirtualBox a system developed by Sun Microsystems, and finally, Microsoft’s Virtual PC. Sun has released both commercial and open source versions of VirtualBox. There are many VM systems to choose. I favor VirtualBox but other VM suites usually work just as well. VirtualBox can be installed on all major OSes, MAC, Linux, Sun Solaris, and Window. Most VMes have good documentation and are easy to set up. Some have special features that help hosting companies like, auto-start of the virtual client machines on reboot. So while I am using VirtualBox you may want to explore other options. There are plenty of tutorials on this for all major OSes, and VM systems. So i wont repeat it all here. Instead head over to XXX and read the manual. It will give you all the info you need (including screen shots) or try the links in the list below. Once you’ve completed the install come back here.

Create Virtual Hard Drive Dialog

fig. 4 – Create Virtual Hard Drive Dialog

Virtual Hard Drive File Type Dialog

fig. 5 – Virtual Hard Drive File Type Dialog

Once VirtualBox installation is complete on your machine  we need to install the client machine. The physical machine the VM software runs on is referred to as the host and the hosted virtual machines are referred to as the clients throughout our discussion here. There are many OSes to choose from in the Linux Distro list. I like Debian and its various clones. Ubuntu is my desktop of choice but I also use Mint and run Fedora, CentOS and Debian servers. I don’t claim to be an expert with any of them. But we want to get you up and running FAST! After all, you’re here to learn Gambas not about VMs or OSes. It is our good fortune that the good people over at WhiteIsland Software have put together a Debain based Distro just for Gambas users. This distro comes with Gambas already installed. So you wont need to worry about making sure you’ve got all the dependencies covered or the compilation process, which can be daunting for new users. Download  GambOS Distro from WhiteIsland Software using the link at the end of this article, and let’s get it installed.

Storage and Physical Hard Drive

fig. 6 – Storage and Physical Hard Drive

Once you have the GambOS iso file downloaded, open up your VirtualBox control panel and select “New” from the main menu at the top (See fig.1).  Next you’ll be greeted with the “Create Virtual Machine” dialog window as shown (fig. 2). Enter a name for your virtual machine and select Linux as the machine Type. Then select “Other Linux (32 bit)” for the Version. Now click Next. You’ll now be greeted with the “Memory Size” dialog (fig. 3). I suggest you set this to 512 MB and increase it later, if you find that you need more memory on your virtual machine. Click Next and the “Hard Drive” dialog will be presented (fig. 4). Select “Create Virtual Hard Drive Now” and Click the Create button. You will be presented with the “Hard Drive File Type” dialog (fig. 5). Select “VDI Virtual Disk Image” and click Next. Now the “Storage and File Type” dialog opens (fig. 6). Select the “Dynamically Allocated” (this setting will only allocate the actual space needed by the files on your virtual machine and slowly grows as needed to the maximum size you select here.) Then click Next.

File Location and Size

fig. 7 – File Location and Size

The “File Location and Size” dialog will open (fig. 7). If you have multiple hard drives on your system and wish to store your virtual machine’s hard drive on a disk other than the system disk, you can choose that location here. Using the folder navigation to the right of the text field. If you are new to managing virtual machines, I suggest you leave the default for now. You can always move the machine later if you so desire. Now set the size of your virtual hard disk. I suggest a minimum of 8GB but 12 or even 20GB is even better as long as your system has that much available space on the local hard drive. Now click the “Create” button at the bottom of the window. The dialog will close and your new machine will be listed in the machine list in the left hand pane of the VirtualBox Control Panel.

Virtual Machine General Settings

fig. 8 – Virtual Machine General Settings

Storage Settings

fig. 9 – Storage Settings

Now you have a new virtual machine. However, it needs an operating system just like any new computer build would need. Let’s install GambOS on our new VM. Select your newly created VM from the list in the VirtualBox Control Panel. It will be highlighted. Then Click “Settings” from the main menu. The machine Settings dialog will open (fig. 8).

Settings Attach Drive Image

fig. 10 – Settings Attach Drive Image

Now select the “Storage” hardware item in the hardware list on the left of the dialog (fig. 9). The “Storage Tree” pane will open to the right. Click on the empty cd-rom icon in the storage tree to highlight it. Under the “Attributes” section, click the cd-rom icon to the right of the CD/DVD Drive drop-down menu. This will open a drop-down menu. Select “Choose a virtual CD/DVD disk file” from the drop-down menu. This will open the file navigation window. Navigate to where you have saved the gambos-xxx.iso file and select it. The file dialog will close and the gambos-xxx.iso image will be listed in the storage tree (fig. 10). Now, with your virtual machine still highlighted in the machine list, click the “Start” button on the main menu (fig. 11). Your VM will now open in a new window (fig. 12), and begin its boot process. It will check its virtual cd-rom for a bootable disk image and since we have placed the gambos iso image there, it will boot from that disk image. We simply have to follow the sames steps here that we would follow if we were installing GambOS on physical hardware.

fig. 12 - Virtual Machine Startup Screen

fig. 12 – Virtual Machine Startup Screen

fig. 13 - GambOS Boot Screen

fig. 13 – GambOS Boot Screen

The next screen you will see is the GambOS boot screen (fig. 13). You’ll be given a few options here. However, we want to install the OS on our new virtual system. So, select “Install – start the installer directly” (fig. 14) and follow the prompts. The machine will boot into the installer and the installer’s “Welcome” screen will open (fig. 15). Select the language you wish to use for the installation process if it is not already selected by default, and click “Continue”. You will now be greeted with the “Preparing to Install” screen. Here you can select if you would like to download and install updates as part of the installation process and if you would like to install third-party software. Make your choices  and click “Continue” (fig. 16).

fig. 14 - Install Screen

fig. 14 – Install Screen

fig. 15 - Language Select

fig. 15 – Language Select

fig. 16 - GambOS Prepare to install

fig. 16 – GambOS Prepare to install

Next, the “Installation Type” window will open. Make sure “Erase disk and install GambOS” is checked and click “Continue” (fig. 17). A confirmation screen will open (fig. 18). Click “Continue”. The time zone/location screen will open. If it is not already set to your location, do so now and click “Continue”.

Next, you will see the “Keyboard Layout” screen. If your keyboad layout is not selected by default, change this setting. If you are unsure of your keyboard setting either click the “Detect Keyboard Layout” button or use the default (fig. 20).

The installation process will now begin. You will see a small dialog window that will inform you of the installation progress (fig. 21). When the installation has finished, you will see the “Installation complete” notice. Click “Restart Now”. The virtual machine will usually auto-remove the cd-rom. If it does not, simply power off the machine and go to the VirtualBox control Panel to remove it. Then click the “Start” button again and the machine will boot (fig. 25).

fig. 17 - Erase Disk

fig. 17 – Erase Disk

fig. 18 - Install Now

fig. 18 – Install Now

fig. 20 - Time Zone Selection

fig. 20 – Time Zone Selection

fig. 21 - Keyboard Layout

fig. 21 – Keyboard Layout

fig. 22 - Configuring

fig. 22 – Configuring

fig. 23 Initializing

fig. 23 Initializing

fig. 24 - Installation Complete

fig. 24 – Installation Complete

fig. 25 - VM Boot Screen

fig. 25 – VM Boot Screen

Once the boot process has completed, you will be greeted with the GambOS login screen (fig. 26). The default username is: Gambas3 and the default password is: gambas3. Be sure to changed this once you have logged in. Upon logging in you will be greeted with a clean desktop (fig. 28) with only two pdf files to clutter it. Read these pdf files as they are files with valuable information. If you get a message that your language is not fully supported as I did (fig. 27). Simply follow the on-screen prompts to resolve the issue.

fig. 26 - GambOS Login Screen

fig. 26 – GambOS Login Screen

fig. 28 - GambOS Desktop

fig. 28 – GambOS Desktop

To access the main menu click on the icon in the lower left of the screen. From there, select Programming -> Gambas from the fly-out menu (fig. 29). After a brief delay you will see the Gambas 3 Welcome screen. You now have a fully functional Lubuntu Virtual machine. You can Adjust your hardware settings as needed in the VirtualBox Control Panel. You can Install additional software from the software center, and best of all, you can get started with Gambas 3 development using the documents provided on the desktop.

I hope you have enjoyed this article and found it useful. If you have any questions or suggestions please contact Me using the contact page on the site’s main menu and place “How to run Gambas on Windows” in the article field.

fig. 27 - Incomplete Language Support

fig. 27 – Incomplete Language Support

fig. 29 - Starting Gambas 3

fig. 29 – Starting Gambas 3

fig. 30 - Gambas Welcome Screen

fig. 30 – Gambas Welcome Screen

After writing this article the good folks over gambos.org created a GambOS image file just for VirtualBox and instructions on how to install it. You can find more information at: GambOS VirtualBox Image.

References:

  • Sun MicroSystem’s VirtualBox can be downloaded here.
  • White Island Software’s GambOS Gambas Distro can be downloaded here.

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