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Arch Linux is rock solid although last update broke Virtualbox

I had installed Arch Linux UEFI on my main workstation on 04 November 2015 at ~03:10 hrs. I got my trusted lieutenant, Xfce, installed immediately. I used this recipe as a guide.

Now, Linux does not tell us the installation time the way Windows does with the systeminfo command:

systeminfo command

How, then, do I know when I installed Arch Linux ?

sudo tune2fs -l /dev/sda2 | grep 'Filesystem created:'

The result:

Filesystem created:       Wed Nov  4 03:10:39 2015

What is tunefs?

tune2fs allows the system administrator to adjust various tunable filesystem parameters on Linux ext2, ext3, or ext4 filesystems.

Prior to that I had allowed openSUSE Tumbleweed to rule my workstation. I was very happy for quite a long time. However, stability tumbled away and I was left with an OS that froze every now and then. I believe it was all due to Plasma 5. I had the same experience with it on Arch Linux too. I installed it because I was bored with Xfce.

I had never faced an update issue in the past almost one year. Yesterday’s update, however, broke VirtualBox. A very minor thing. This breakage notwithstanding, I think, this level of stability for a rolling-release is just unbelievable. This is something Corporates with unending supply of money and resources aim to achieve.

Broken VirtualBox

Started VirtualBox after the update and tried to launch my Windows 7 virtual machine. The update had nuked VirtualBox and it cried:

The VirtualBox Linux kernel driver (vboxdrv) is either not loaded or there is a permission problem with /dev/vboxdrv. Please reinstall the kernel module by executing
as root.
where: suplibOsInit what: 3 VERR_VM_DRIVER_NOT_INSTALLED (-1908) – The
support driver is not installed. On linux, open returned ENOENT.

I did what the message asked me to do:

sudo /sbin/vboxconfig

This is what I got in return:

sudo: /sbin/vboxconfig: command not found

I did the following in /sbin directory:

ls | grep vbox

The result was:

rcvboxdrv vboxballoonctrl vboxheadless vboxmanage vboxreload vboxsdl vboxwebsrv

Now, where is /sbin/vboxconfig?

I purged VirtualBox and installed again. No change in results.

Since the message said that it was the loading of vboxdrv that had failed, I thought of loading the driver myself and it worked:

sudo modeprobe vboxdrv

Role of dkms

dkms is supposed to do the dirty work of updating modules for me. dkms has been extremely reliable all these months. Never had a trouble. On Arch Linux you need to install VirtualBox dkms package. Let me query my packages and show you:

sudo pacman -Q | grep virtualbox

The result of the query is:

virtualbox 5.1.6-1 virtualbox-guest-iso 5.1.6-1 virtualbox-host-dkms 5.1.6-1


My Arch Linux experience has been extraordinary. I trust it so much that I have it installed on my main workstation. It may break some day down the line, but I will not hesitate to spend a couple of hours to install it back and get things back on track.