Monthly Archives: November 2011

Start-up weekend Geneva 2011

I am currently at the airport, after a pretty intense weekend in Geneva : start-up weekend.

The idea is that for 54 hours, you do nothing but work on new ideas with a group. You develop them to get to a stage where you think they might be viable and you come up with ways to make them work. At the end of the weekend, you present your project to a jury through a small presentation and see what others think of it.

I ended up with a project that looks into last-minute hotel deals. I developed a prototype Android app (I was surprised I got this running within 2 days, but for some magical reason, it worked during our presentation), while others were working on the business model, the marketing plan and the development strategy.

The whole experience has been wonderful to me. You meet many entrepreneurs and like-minded people that want to make a difference and create their own jobs out there. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who thinks of him / herself as an entrepreneur ! 🙂

Installing Player / Stage and development tools on Fedora 15 through Virtualbox

After quite some struggles, I finally managed to get the Player / Stage stack installed exactly the way I wanted it. It gave me quite a headache, so I thought it would be a good thing to share (so other people don’t have to go through the same thing).

First of all, my perfect setting was to set my environement up through VirtualBox. This is because Player / Stage is still quite rough and requires packets and tinkering I did not want to occur on my stable work machine. However, I wanted to develop through my normal Eclipse (in my host operating system) as that was already all set-up and I didn’t want to get into performance issues through the Virtual Machine. Knowing all of that, I made the following choices :

  • Virtualbox
    Easy to install, widespread and I knew it already
  • Fedora 15
    This was an easy choice, as it was recommended on the player / stage download page – Fedora already has the player / stage packets in it’s official repositories, making things a lot easier.
  • OpenJDK
    I wasn’t 100% sure it would all work on OpenJDK, but I wanted to try and… it all worked out for the best 🙂 (so no need to install the Oracle Java dependencies)
  • Shared folder of my Eclipse workspace that could be accessed directly through the virtual machine

That was my perfect setting and it turned out not too hard to set up.

Further along this article, I explain what problems I had. This can be helpful if you have specific questions, but here is the full set of instructions to get everything working :

  1. Download the Fedora 15 CD image from their website and install a clean virtual machine
    Be sure to allocate enough space to the root partition for installation of different packages (I allocated 3.5 GB)
  2. Prepare fedora to install VirtualBox Guest Additions
    yum install kernel-headers kernel-devel
  3. Reboot
  4. Install gcc : yum install gcc
  5. Install VirtualBox Guest Additions
  6. Install player / stage
    yum install player player-devel player-doc player-examples player-python player-ruby
    yum install stage stage-devel stage-playerplugin
    For more information on this step, see here :
  7. Install OpenJDK and all Java utils you will need (through “Add software GUI)
  8. Shut down machine
  9. Go to “settings” in your Fedora VirtualBox and add your workspace as a shared folder. Select “auto-mount”
  10. Start your Fedora VirtualBox
    (You can now find your folder under /media)
  11. Run “system-config-users” and add your local user to the “vboxsf” group
  12. Done !

The problems I encountered

  1. Player wouldn’t show my robot
    It was really weird when everything seemed to work, but for some reason Player wouldn’t show my robot (a little red thing driving around). This was very easily fixed by installing the VirtualBox Guest Additions
  2. Guest Additions wouldn’t install properly
    I needed to install kernel-headers and kernel-devel first, for Guest Additions to install correctly (‘yum install kernel-headers kernel-devel’ -> reboot)
  3. I couldn’t access my shared folder
    I needed to add my personal user (under the fedora virtualbox) to the vboxsf user group