GNOME Do VirtualBox Plugin

I’ve been meaning to write about this for a while, but just now made the time to actually do it.  I’ve been following the development of GNOME Do for a while now.  After playing with it for a while and learning how fast and easily things can be done with GNOME Do, I decided that I should write a plugin for the project.

I’ve been using VirtualBox a lot recently, mostly for programming and testing applications on different platforms, without actually having to restart my laptop.  After I saw that there was no VirtualBox plugin, I thought that this would be the perfect plugin to write.

After a couple weeks I have built a nice, stable GNOME Do plugin for managing VirtualBox virtual machines.  The plugin allows GNOME Do to perform actions on your saved virtual machines.  The plugin will index the current state of your VM and only allow you to perform relevant actions as well.  For example, if you have a VM that’s currently powered off, the only actions Do will show you are to either turn on the VM or revert to a saved state (if there is one).  For VM’s that are currently running, you can pause, turn off, save state, or take a snapshot.  Dynamic modifier items also allow you to start a VM in either headless mode, or GUI mode.

I’ve made a small YouTube video showing the various actions that are exposed to GNOME Do through this plugin.

My plugin was finally accepted into the Community branch of GNOME Do’s plugins.  I’m still attempting to get it into the official branch, as I’ve agreed to maintain it, and have gone through multiple code reviews to make sure the plugin meets coding and performance standards.  Look out for this plugin to be available with the next release of GNOME Do.

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.


  • Tianyi Cui says:

    Would you please add the feature of call VBoxHeadless command? Or could you tell me where to start if I want to help to implement it.

    • cszikszoy says:

      You can already start a VM in headless mode actually. This shows up as a modifier item (3rd pane option) in Do. Select the VM you want to start, select “Start”, then select “Start Headless”.

  • KitB says:

    Where does this plugin look for icons? The defaults are ugly as hell (merely due to size issues) and I’d like to get some higher resolution images to use but I cannot find the icons to change.

    • Chris S. says:

      I agree, the icons aren’t very pretty. The icons are actually taken from the VirtualBox source code, and embedded into the plugin assembly. I tried to get some higher resolution icons from Sun, but had no luck. If you have (or can make) better icons, or were able to get in touch with the VirtualBox team to get some higher resolution icons please let me know. I hang out in #gnome-do on

  • Tareeq Ali says:

    Hi Chris,

    I love this plugin but do you know why some icons do not show up properly, for example when I type in Windows XP the icon works perfectly, the windows 7 icon is replaced by the gnome ‘dialog error’ icon. When I pull up CentOS, I see the icon with the ‘red hat’ but generic linux and arch linux icons do not show up properly.

    Any Suggestions?

    • Chris S. says:

      I pull the icons into the plugin from the virtualbox source. From time to time, they add new icons. I just need to grab the source again to get the new icons and bundle them with the plugin. I’ll fix it soon. I’m not exactly sure when we will release an updated plugins package, so if you want the new icons now you’ll have to build do-plugins from source. It’s not really all that complicated. Stop by #gnome-do on if you need any help.

  • Nick Maynard says:

    BUG: “Discard state”, rather than discarding the suspended/saved state, reverts to the latest snapshot. This just killed my virtual machine.

    • Chris S. says:

      Isn’t this the same thing that happens in the VirtualBox GUI when you click “Discart State”? If not, and you expected something different, please feel free to submit a bug on launchpad against “do-plugins”.