Mouse only usable within single application after mouse click on RHEL 7.6 as a VirtualBox guest

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Good morning folks,

I've found this thread at the VirtualBox forum. It discusses an issue that occours when you are running RHEL 7.6 as a VirtualBox guest on a Windows or Linux host system.

The issue is that you could use your mouse only within a single application window after you click in that window. The issue appears not when running RHEL 7.5 as a guest. It appears in RHEL 7.6 whether or not the VBox Guest Additions are installed. It happens with the gnome-shell and the classic gnome desktop.

Because it happens when the Guest Additions are not installed, too. I think this might be an issue with RHEL 7.6 and not entirely related to VirtualBox at all. But I do not know that for sure.

Does anyone of you encounter this issue, too? And does any one encounter this issue even on bare metal?

You could reproduce this issue in RHEL 7.6 as a VBox guest as follows:

  1. Start RHEL 7.6
  2. Open a terminal
  3. Click-drag-select text within window
  4. Try to move the terminal, click another application, or anything else outside the terminal...it doesn't work.

Would be nice if the two communities could work together on this, to solve it.

Best regards,
Joerg

Responses

Yes, I am seeing the same issue with RHEL 7.6 guests. The /var/log/messages file shows error lines similar to BZ 1594177. I have updated VirtualBox to 5.2.23_126798_el7 (test build) but this did not fix the problem.

Joerg,

I have a couple of notes about the mouse issue.

(1) As someone pointed out in this post in the thread you quoted, the kernel version makes the difference. I updated the kernel of a guest running EL7.5 using the 7.6 kernel (and no other packages updated). The guest now has the same mouse problem. Also, on a 7.6 system showing the issue, I test-installed ELRepo's kernel-ml (4.19.x) and kernel-lt (4.4.x). No problem with either kernel.

(2) On a guest exhibiting the issue, just log out and then log back in. The problem seems to go away.

In either case, the GuestAdditions are not involved.

Hi,

Thanks for sharing your information here. I will try your workaround and the workaround with killing the VBoxClient with drag and drop option as mentioned in this post.

I still hope somebody is able to find the reason that is causing the problem. Sticking with the workaround is somewhat annoying.

Regards, Joerg

Thanks for the workaround. In my case, I couldn't even reach the logout button, but thankfully I have a terminal that starts up at login. For those that find themselves in a similar situation, the command 'kill -9 -1' may be useful. I should know better than to upgrade VirtualBox when I need to get work done...

This exact same behavior also happened to Fedora 28/29 with the introduction of the 4.17.0 kernel, and mysteriously went away with the 4.17.4 kernel. A workaround for Fedora was to simply log out and log back in again, and this [for me] seems to be the case with RHEL 7.6 as well. This is probably a clue for those familiar with the inner workings of relevant packages.

https://www.virtualbox.org/ticket/17827 is the ticket filed against 4.17.0 which I believe is the same underlying issue, with the same workarounds.

Ian,

That is a great hint. By looking through the patches applied to kernel 4.17.4, I think I'm getting close to finding the one that actually fixed the issue. I will post more details, hopefully soon.

I picked up one patch (commit 03ae3a9caf4a59edd32b65c89c375a98ce3ea1ef) as the candidate and applied it to the centosplus kernel (kernel-plus). It is available for testing from:

https://people.centos.org/toracat/kernel/7/plus/bug15570/

It seems to fix the mouse problem according to my brief testing.

Bug reports filed:

CentOS bug 15570 and RHEL bug 1658669 (private)

Please test the patched kernel if you are able. Feedback welcome.

Hi, Could you give me some help on where to find the patched kernel for RHEL 7.6 and how to install and test it? Then there is a good change that I could take a look at it. But maybe after my vacation this weekend.

Best regards, Joerg

There is no RHEL 7.6 kernel with the patch. However, the centosplus kernel (kernel-plus) is binary compatible with the RHEL kernel. So, could you download kernel-plus-3.10.0-957.1.3.el7.centos.plus.ay1.x86_64.rpm and test-install it? It will not delete any of the existing kernels on the system.

@toracat Testing the patched kernel proved to be a few orders of magnitude more difficult than I thought it would be. I finally got there though. The good news is that kernel-plus-3.10.0-957.1.3.el7.centos.plus.ay1.x86_64.rpm did not have the mouse problem, so for me the patch fixes that problem.

The bad news is that despite managing to eventually get the kernel-plus-devel and kernel-plus-headers and all the rest installed, and reinstalling development tools that got shredded when I uninstalled previous versions, and despite it appearing that I could successfully compile the VirtualBox guest additions (from 5.2.23 test build), they don't work correctly, I am stuck with a tiny screen. What I don't understand is that copy/paste between the host and guest does work, so the guest additions are partly working.

Could the patch be interfering with screen resize events?

Interestingly, vboxsf driver is working as well, so I can share folders between my CentOS guest and Win7 host. So the only thing not working with the guest additions is the video side of things.

I'm glad to learn that the patch fixed the mouse problem in your testing.

Now, the window issue is something else. It is not due to the patch but rather is related to the kernel-plus itself. Installation of the GuestAdditions involves 3 kernel modules, vboxguest , vboxsf and vboxvideo. What I found so far is that the vboxvideo module does not build under the plus kernel. I am now investigating this.

At least we now know that the proposed patch fixes the mouse issue. When the distro kernel is patched, all should be back to normal.

I now have a new set of the centosplus kernel that does not have the vboxvideo build problem.

https://people.centos.org/toracat/kernel/7/plus/bug15570new/

Download the two rpm packages there and install them (yum localinstall ... ):

kernel-3.10.0-957.1.3.bug15570.plus.el7.x86_64.rpm
kernel-devel-3.10.0-957.1.3.bug15570.plus.el7.x86_64.rpm
(You don't need kernel-header)

Reboot to this kernel. And everything should work now.

Detailed explanation: In VirtuslBox's Makefile for vboxvideo, RHEL 7 kernels were picked up by looking for "el7.x86_64" in the name. The original plus kernel was named ".el7.centos.plus.xxx.x86_64" . As a result, this kernel was not regarded as a "RHEL 7.6 kernel". So in the new version I built the same kernel using "xxxx.plus.el7.x86_64" as the package name. Now Makefile sees this as a RHEL kernel and builds the vboxvideo module.

Thank you, the new kernel works for me, I have all VirtualBox drivers working, screen scaling is working, no mouse weirdness, it's all good.

Fingers crossed these changes can make it to the update channels as soon as possible.

Yes, the whole thing is to get the patch into the RHEL kernel. The plus kernel issue was just a "sideline".

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