How to run Android in Virtualbox on Linux?

For days I try to get Android 5 or higher running inside Virtualbox on Linux (here: Mint 18.1), without success. At best, I get past the boot menu (Grub), the system switches to graphics mode, and I see the pulsating “Android”: After a few seconds, disk access ceases, and the VM hangs with 100% CPU load.

I’ve searched the web up and down, and tried all the tricks I could find: increasing RAM to 2G, video memory to 128M, CPU count to 2. Switching the VM from “Linux (other)” to “BSD”, trying 64bit and 32bit images (the 64bit images even get stuck at a black screen before the pulsating “Android” letters), the latter in 64bit and 32bit VMs, from the Android-x86 project via RemixOS to Phoenix, Android 5.1 to 7 – nothing gives.

Where’s the trick?

Please don’t point me to those numerous guides based on Virtualbox running on Windows. I’ve followed a bunch of them without luck. Nor do I want to use QEMU for that (draws in too many dependencies I don’t want to install), or Genymotion etc (where I’d have to register). I’m interested in help from those who’ve got it running fine in Virtualbox on Linux.

I’ve also seen similar questions here and followed the advice from their answers:

  • Android x86 Marshmallow not booting on Virtualbox and VMware Workstation
    adding vga=834 nomodeset xforcevesa to the kernel options just caused the hang happen even earlier. The other advices I already had followed. The .vdi taken from OSBoxes had the same issues.
  • other questions are either not for Virtualbox, or concerning pre-Lolliop. As the linked question above shows, the problem seems also to be present with VMWare.

How did you get it to run?


Note in between: I might soon be able to self-answer, but first need to verify and, if possible, improve: I meanwhile managed to fully boot an ISO with RemixOS, using “FreeBSD 64bit” for that 32bit image. The boot just took AGES to complete (about 15min before the pulsing “RemixOS” text got replaced by the welcome screen). It might be that’s the first boot only, and after installing it to “disk” and having that running once, the next boot is faster. As soon as I find time, I’ll dig deeper – and then will remove this paragraph and post an answer instead.