How to Create a Raspberry Pi VM in VirtualBox #piday #raspberrypi @Raspberry_Pi

How to Create a Raspberry Pi Virtual Machine VM in VirtualBox Grant Winney


I recently started flipping through The MagPi back-issues, and came across an article where someone talked about setting up a virtual Raspberry Pi environment. At the time he wrote his article, I don’t think the Pi was even really available to the public yet.

It got me thinking though. I’ve been playing around a lot on the Pi itself, but it’d be convenient to have an environment setup where I could experiment with code even when I don’t have access to the Pi.

Goal: Setup a virtual machine with Debian (from which Raspbian is derived). Install Python and other libraries and installers, so I can code solutions that can be migrated to the Pi.

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  1. This isn’t setting up a virtual Raspberry Pi–it’s setting up an installation of Debian in Virtualbox with the wrong processor architecture (X86 vs. ARM). None of the Raspbian-specific features will be available, and any compilation done in the VM will result in binaries that can’t be run on an actual Pi.

    The Pi can be virtualized, but it’s not the straightforward process presented above. Debian has instructions for it here: https://wiki.debian.org/RaspberryPi/qemu-user-static

  2. Wow, this post garnered more attention than I thought it would. If I had known that, I would’ve taken the idea further! It’s by no means perfect or complete, but I’d definitely like to be able do more “Pi”-related development without having to be on the Pi itself.

    I hope someone finds something in it useful, or it sparks an idea, or moves you a bit closer to your own goal! Good luck, and happy Pi’ing!

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