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Slackware 13.1 and VirtualBox USB

By default, USB support does not work when installing VirtualBox PUEL on a Slackware host. Essentially it is a permissions issue. There are a number of ways around it, but the simplest is this ridiculously small change to rc.S.

rc.S (downloadable rc.S.diff.gz):

--- ./rc.S.orig 2010-03-20 00:14:51.000000000 +0000
+++ ./rc.S      2010-06-14 11:31:16.067169967 +0100
@@ -297,7 +297,7 @@
 if grep -wq usbfs /proc/filesystems; then
   if ! grep -wq usbfs /proc/mounts ; then
     if ! grep -wq usbfs /etc/fstab; then
-      /sbin/mount -v usbfs /proc/bus/usb -t usbfs
+      /sbin/mount -v usbfs /proc/bus/usb -t usbfs -o devgid=83,devmode=0664
       /sbin/mount -v /proc/bus/usb

This patch effectively changes the automatic permissions on USB devices so that the group owner is the plugdev group and so the group owner has write permissions. Make sure any users in the vboxusers group are also in the plugdev group… but you knew that.

In order to apply the above patch, do the following as root:

# cd /etc/rc.d
# wget http://blog.tpa.me.uk/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/rc.S.diff.gz
# zcat rc.inet2.diff.gz | patch -p1

Or just make the change by hand, given how small it is.

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  1. Thrashdude
    June 14th, 2010 at 19:43 | #1

    This is actually a long known issue with most (all?) distros. Thanks for documenting this easy fix for Slackware Zordak :)
    I used to use this – > http://en.gentoo-wiki.com/wiki/VirtualBox#USB_Devices_Grayed_Out

    And about time you posted something to your blog!

  2. slava_dp
    June 15th, 2010 at 07:45 | #2

    Thank you, Zordrak. This issue bothered me for quite a while, but I never had enough inclination to investigate the cause :-)
    Now there’s a simple fix. \o/

  3. Charles
    July 6th, 2010 at 09:14 | #3

    It can also be fixed by renaming /etc/udev/rules.d/10-vboxdrv.rules as 91-vboxdrv.rules.

    I don’t understand why and investigation by progressively reducing 91 back toward 10 have displayed a history effect that is persistent across boots. Reduce the number until breakage (41 in my testing) and then increase the number to the last one that worked (55 in my testing) and it is still broken. Implement the fstab workaround, reboot, remove the fstab workaround, reboot and it’s working with 55.

    Some more info in a LQ thread: http://www.linuxquestions.org/questions/linux-virtualization-90/virtualbox-usb-device-is-being-exclusively-used-by-the-host-computer-798620/page2.html

  4. pupit
    August 13th, 2010 at 16:58 | #4

    in line:
    /sbin/mount -v usbfs /proc/bus/usb -t usbfs -o devgid=83,devmode=0664

    few people as myself too came up with the problem that a zero character before 664 holds usb devices unreadable.

  5. August 16th, 2010 at 09:47 | #5


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