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I have been using Ubuntu for years now, but for a few months I got my hands on a shiny new iMac, while I had it I messed around with Parallels Desktop and fell in love with many of its features. One of the features in particular is being able to add windows programs to the dock in OSX.

I mostly use Virtualbox/Parallels for AutoCAD, SolidWorks, and Qucik books. So what I would like to do is be-able to install AutoCAD for example in virtual box, and then make a shortcut directly to AutoCAD and place it on the Ubuntu Panel right along with the rest of my Ubuntu Apps. So basically if I click on the AutoCAD icon in my Ubuntu panel, it will open virtual box in seamless mode and automatically launch AutoCAD, or If I click SolidWorks, it will automatically open in seamless mode, and auto launch SolidWorks, etc...

This is by far one of the best features in Parallels desktop for Mac and I would be great to beable to reproduce this function in virtual box. Also, I know they have or had, im not sure, Parallels Desktop for linux, but it doesn't have the same features as it does in OS X, at least thats what I understand.

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Some time ago I made a somewhat limited approach to do this by starting a VM in saved state from the launcher. This of course will then only load a single application + Windows.… – Takkat May 22 '13 at 16:03
  1. Install Guest Additions
  2. Enable seamless mode
  3. Shutdown the VM
  4. Create a simple bash script, placing this into it (reference):

    VBoxManage startvm "VM_NAME"
    VBoxManage guestcontrol execute "VM_NAME" "exec_command"

    Replace VM_NAME with the name of the VM and exec_command with the command you want to run.

  5. Save this file somewhere, give it execute permissions, write a .desktop file for it, then sudo move that to the /usr/share/applications folder.

Note: My preferred way to make a .desktop file is like this:

sudo apt-get install --no-install-recommends gnome-panel
sudo -H gnome-desktop-item-edit --create-new "/usr/share/applications"

Then fill in the fields with the path to your script as the command, this will place a .desktop file in the /usr/share/applications folder (more info)

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Here is a possible work-around, if you are willing to create three separate virtual machines, one for each program, then...

  • In the first virtual machine, set AutoCad as a Start Up application.
  • In the second virtual machine, set SolidWorks as a Start Up application.
  • In the second virtual machine, set QucikBooks as a Start Up application.

Then, right click on each virtual machine ans in VirtualBox Manager, and select "Create Shortcut on Desktop".

To save space, you don't have to make each virtual disk (*.vdi) very large, because, you can setup a common shared folder on your host machine to store all your files from all three applications.

Additionally, you could clone your existing virtual hard disk, so you don't have to reinstall everything two more times. Use VBoxManage clonevdi current_hard_disk.vdi new_hard_disk.vdi.

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