I was trying to set up my wife’s Windows 95 installation as a virtual machine in VirtualBox on my Linux box, but when the VBoxManage clonevdi command didn’t work (which I am now pretty sure was just because I didn’t give the full path to the virtual hard drive .vdi file I was trying to clone) I did a bunch of things without writing down what I did, trying to get things to work.
When the dust settled, when I tried to run VirtualBox from my user account, I got this error:
Running VirtualBox worked fine from my wife’s account though. I was baffled.
After another sleep or two though, I thought I’d try starting VirtualBox from the command line, since sometimes you get debug output to the console that way. Sure enough, when the error box popped up I also saw these two lines on the console:
Wrong owner (0) of '/tmp/.vbox-dmeyer-ipc'. Wrong owner (0) of '/tmp/.vbox-dmeyer-ipc'.
Ah! I probably ran VirtualBox as root a time or two. Looks like there’s some kind of a stale file owned by root out there.
Yep, all I had to do was
chown --recursive dmeyer /tmp/.vbox-dmeyer-ipc chgrp --recursive dmeyer /tmp/.vbox-dmeyer-ipc
so my dmeyer user owns that directory and its contents, and now I can get back into VirtualBox!