After some exploring and googling I found some tricks to get rid of the nasty isapnp errors that prevented my Ubuntu from installing on Virtual PC.
One was solved by disabling the virtual sound card emulation that Virtual PC does by default on evert virtual machine. Uncheck, rerun, voilà.
The other one was not as easy. Googling for “isapnp ubuntu virtual pc” gave me lots of chaff but also some wheat, and I found an obscure forum where somebody reported how decreasing the amount of available RAM for the virtual machine would make the Ubuntu installer continue despite of the isapnp error. So, the error is still there, but the installation continues. So I decreased my virtual machine’s RAM from 1 GB to 512 MB, launch, install… and there it flies. Great. But… why does decreasing the RAM make an ISA PnP error be less important?
I had to fiddle a bit with the video settings for the installation, but after a couple of frustrating attempts, I got Ubuntu up and running on a Virtual PC machine. Running? Well, barely.
It does run. In fact, performance is quite nice as compared to Vista. But it is unusable. First of all, the system clock goes ballistic. I mean, I set it to the current time, and after a few seconds it has gone two or three minutes ahead. I can actually see the minutes running on the task bar. Yes, the minutes, not the seconds! Secondly, the keyboard repeat time is so low that pushing any key on my keyboard generates a sequence of 2 to 5 identical letters. I guessed that some setting could be adjusted to improve this, but first I had to log on! So I armed myself with patience and after 6 minutes (not kidding) I managed to type my user name and password at the prompt and be let in. You need to take into account that alphanumeric keys generated a sequence of characters, but the backspace key also generated a “sequence” of back spaces! Anyway. I logged on and found the setting. But even at its minimum, the repeat time is so low that most key strokes generate a couple of characters. Fortunately, there is another setting to disable key repeat altogether. Unfortunately, this also disables the very handy backspace repeat.
Finally, the mouse pointer jumps erratically to a random spot on screen every few seconds. No apparent pattern. It occurs at full screen and running on a window. Odd.
Ubuntu has installed, reluctantly. It is still unusable because of a crazy pointer, a runaway clock and a fastidious keyboard repeat setting. I will continue investigating in my spare time. And reporting. So far, my verdict is still: very substandard.