See also: DanDrake/JustEnoughSageServer and SageAppliance

You need a recent virtualbox, or the (proprietary) server version of it (which is free as in beer). In any case, the steps below work for me on Ubuntu intrepid:


deb intrepid non-free


$ wajig install virtualbox-2.1

Answer yes to install the kernel module, it should just work. Create the virtual image:

$ VBoxManage createvm -name ubuntu -register
$ VBoxManage modifyvm ubuntu -memory "2048MB" -acpi on -boot1 dvd -nic1 nat
$ VBoxManage createvdi -filename ~/.VirtualBox/Machines/ubuntu/ubuntu.vdi -size 20000 -register
$ VBoxManage modifyvm ubuntu -hdb ~/.VirtualBox/Machines/ubuntu/ubuntu.vdi
$ VBoxManage registerimage dvd ~/ext/debian-40r6-i386-netinst.iso
$ VBoxManage modifyvm ubuntu -dvd ~/ext/debian-40r6-i386-netinst.iso

Start the image

$ VBoxHeadless -startvm ubuntu
VirtualBox Headless Interface 2.1.2
(C) 2008-2009 Sun Microsystems, Inc.
All rights reserved.

Listening on port 3389

Connect to the image (requires X) on the same machine:

rdesktop localhost

Or you can login remotely by forwarding the 3389 port:

$ ssh -L 3389:localhost:3389 server

And from your desktop computer

$ rdesktop localhost

Install the system. After installing it, remove the cd (iso image) by

$ VBoxManage modifyvm ubuntu -dvd none

Stop the image (do not save changes)

$ VBoxManage controlvm ubuntu poweroff

Stop the image (save changes)

$ VBoxManage controlvm ubuntu savestate


In order to be able to login using ssh, do:

$ VBoxManage setextradata ubuntu "VBoxInternal/Devices/pcnet/0/LUN#0/Config/guestssh/Protocol" TCP
$ VBoxManage setextradata ubuntu "VBoxInternal/Devices/pcnet/0/LUN#0/Config/guestssh/GuestPort" 22
$ VBoxManage setextradata ubuntu "VBoxInternal/Devices/pcnet/0/LUN#0/Config/guestssh/HostPort" 2222

Then you can login on the server using:

$ ssh -p 2222 localhost

Or if you put this into your .ssh/config:

Host pythonnb
    HostName localhost
    User ondrej
    Compression no
    Port 2222

Then you can connect just by ssh pythonnb.

To forward the port 8000 for the Sage notebook, use:

$ VBoxManage setextradata ubuntu "VBoxInternal/Devices/pcnet/0/LUN#0/Config/guest8000/Protocol" TCP
$ VBoxManage setextradata ubuntu "VBoxInternal/Devices/pcnet/0/LUN#0/Config/guest8000/GuestPort" 8000
$ VBoxManage setextradata ubuntu "VBoxInternal/Devices/pcnet/0/LUN#0/Config/guest8000/HostPort" 8000


Download and install Sage as usual in the virtual machine. Start the notebook:

$ ./sage
| Sage Version 3.2.3, Release Date: 2009-01-05                       |
| Type notebook() for the GUI, and license() for information.        |
sage: notebook(address="")
*                                                *
* Open your web browser to http://localhost:8000 *
*                                                *

And connect to http://localhost:8000 on your host machine.

Securing the Sage notebook

Do all of the below as the user ondrej, that will run the notebook server. Create an nbuser user that will run the actual worksheets:

$ sudo adduser nbuser
$ sudo addgroup sageusers
$ sudo adduser ondrej sageusers
$ sudo adduser nbuser sageusers

Setup ssh keys, so that you can do ssh [email protected] without a password. Create a working directory:

$ mkdir nbfiles
$ chmod g+w nbfiles

You have to make Sage available just by calling sage and it needs to be in default paths, e.g. it's not enough to add the path to Sage to your .bashrc. Do it by:

$ cd /usr/local/bin
$ sudo ln -s /home/ondrej/ext/sage-3.2.3-Debian4.0-32bit-Intel-i686-Linux/sage .


from sage.all import *

notebook(directory='/home/ondrej/nbfiles', port=8000, accounts=True, address='', ulimit='-u 100 -v 3000000 -t 3600', open_viewer=False, timeout=120, secure=False, server_pool=['[email protected]'])

And start it using:

$ sage -python

Setting up lighttpd

$ wajig install lighttpd

Create /etc/lighttpd/conf-available/20-notebook.conf:

server.modules   += ( "mod_proxy" )

$SERVER["socket"] == ":8080" {
    proxy.server = ( "" =>
        ( (
        "host" => "",
        "port" => 8000
        ) )

Enable it:

$ sudo lighty-enable-mod notebook
$ sudo /etc/init.d/lighttpd force-reload

And login to your computer from the outside world to the port 8080 (you can of course just setup the port 80 instead of 8080).

SageVirtualBox (last edited 2012-02-14 22:35:28 by ltw)