Virtual appliance from within virtual appliance

I'm just working on virtual appliance that should be able to output another fully configured virt app containing required packages and all.

Ideal approach IMHO would have been to be able to just mount .vmdk file within Linux(hosted in virt app) and copy all packages to it and then transfer this entire new virtual appliance to host machine via shared folders -- So, can we mount .vmdk files in Linux ?

Other approach considered is to just output a blank virt app from our virt app (I'll distribute a 'blank' virt machine -- empty hdisk with reqd config file -- with this virt app) configured to Network boot. Then ask user to start this blank virt machine and then let installation begin via PXE setup -- So, Is it OK to distribute a blank virt machine with our virt app? Also, is it acceptable to \_ask_ user to start this new virt app so that we can go ahead with install -- does virtual app need to be totally 'self contained' ?

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