What is a Virtual Machine

A VM is a complete operating system running within your own operating system. This means that you can run the VM within any host (Windows, Linux, Mac...) by using a virtualization software such as Virtual Box. If you have a modern computer and a modern OS, the performances of the VM should be close to a native installation of its operating system.

Download the Virtual Machine

You will need 5 Gb for the installation file (.ova) + ~10 Gb free for the Virtual Machine. If you need to save some space, you can save 5 Gb of the .ova file by saving it on an external drive.

  1. Download the Virtual Machine installation file (.ova) on your local computer (your laptop, or a computer in which you have access to the admin/root account). The file is 5 Gb, so plan the download accordingly (i.e., the sooner the better! (smile) ).
    You can get the file from here:


Download Virtual Box (if you have it already, make sure you have a version > 4.2.14

  1. Download and install Virtual Box from here

Install the virtual machine

DO NOT start the Virtual Machine after installing it, you have to go through the configuration before!

See the following video (watch it on YouTUBE if it does not work for you on confluence) and the instructions below:

  1. Open virtual box, click on the File menu and choose "Import appliance"
  2. Click on "Open appliance", and select the file Sesto_VM.ova you just downloaded. Then click "Next" ("Continue" on Mac)
  3. Just click on "Import" and wait for VirtualBox to import the Virtual Machine
  4. Voit la', the VM should show up in the list of installed VM. DO NOT START IT YET!!


  1. Make a directory on your host machine (your own laptop/computer):
    cd ~
    mkdir GRBWorkdir
  1. Share the GRBWorkdir folder between your computer and the Virtual Machine. See the following video (watch it on YouTUBE if it does not work for you on confluence) and the instructions below:
    1. Open Virtual Box, and click on the Sesto_VM machine, then on Settings.
    2. Go to "Shared folder" on the list on the left
    3. click on the "+" icon, then insert in the "Folder path" the path to the GRBWorkdir folder (or navigate there). Use "GRBWorkdir" as 'Folder Name' (if you use another name IT WON'T WORK!)

      When you open the virtual machine you will find the GRBWorkdir directory in the home of the grb user (~/GRBWorkdir). All files you create there will be available on your computer even when the virtual machine is powered off.

Starting the virtual machine and basic usage

  1. Open Virtual Box, click on the virtual machine "Sesto_VM" and click on "start"
  2. Wait for the system to boot
  3. To open a terminal, right click on an empty area of the desktop and select "Terminal"
  4. Your shared folder is in your home. You can always get back there by doing "cd ~/GRBWorkdir"
  5. The Google Chrome web browser is pre-installed. The VM share the same internet connection as your computer, so if your compute is online you can use Chrome in the VM to browse the internet, download data, etc.. directly on the VM
  6. The atom icon at the bottom left corner is a menu where you find all the installed applications
  7. To close the Virtual Machine select "Leave" and the "Shut down" from the menu.

What you need to know about your new operating system

  1. There is only one regular user (grb), with password "glast"
  2. The password for the root user is "grbanalysis"
  3. Software
    • A complete Scientific Linux 6.3 OS with KDE
    • Fermi Science Tools
    • gtburst
    • Rmfit v. 4.3BA (just write "rmfit" in a terminal to use it)
    • Heasoft 12.3 (Xspec, FTOOLS, Swift science tools)
    • Root
    • Entough python free (Python 2.17, IPython 0.13, numpy, scipy, matplotlib and more)
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