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Old 07-08-2014, 06:16 PM   #1
Envite
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Virtual machine for running a desktop


Hi all

I want to use a virtual machine to run my Desktop, to avoid any package updates from KDE or Gnome to mess with system libraries.

So, the setup will be a physical machine amd64 with 12GiB of memory, running some servers like Apache, but no desktop system, and preferably no browser and no X, and a virtual machine, running the desktop.

Which virtual machine system allows me to use the Desktop like this?

Thanks

Last edited by Envite; 07-08-2014 at 06:18 PM.
 
Old 07-08-2014, 07:58 PM   #2
jefro
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Hummm.... At some point you have to display some gui. VM's can use many ways but not sure any can bypass the host that much. If you were on a remote system then a few ways would exist.

Dunno. May be proved wrong on this.
 
Old 07-08-2014, 11:31 PM   #3
TobiSGD
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The setup you describe
1. is AFAIK impossible
2. doesn't make much sense to me. If you run a stable/enterprise distro system libraries and DE packages are never updated. If you are running a (semi-)rolling release distro you will have to update the system libraries also, so that they correspond with the other (GUI) packages.

Possibly I misunderstand you, but how do you expect the GUI in the VM to start when being isolated from its dependencies?
 
Old 07-09-2014, 04:37 PM   #4
Envite
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Hi TobiSGD

I want to have two systems, one physical, with stable/enterprise distro and as small as possible (only kernel and virtualizer, and standard packages like ssh and a shell, and servers as per below), which does not break when e.g. KDE fires a new release, and a virtual machine, with a full featured Desktop environment, probably rolling or testing or plain inestable, which I can play with, and break, and deinstall and reinstall as I wish, while the physical machine still runs.

This is because in the physical machines there are some services I want to run even if the Desktop system is being reinstalled, like a DNS server, a mail server, and a web server.

Hi jefro

Which kind of GUI would be necessary on the physical? Plain X would do it? Can not the guest use the graphical card directly in order to have its own GUI display as another console of the host?

Thanks both
 
Old 07-09-2014, 04:42 PM   #5
TobiSGD
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Envite View Post
Hi TobiSGD

I want to have two systems, one physical, with stable/enterprise distro and as small as possible (only kernel and virtualizer, and standard packages like ssh and a shell, and servers as per below), which does not break when e.g. KDE fires a new release, and a virtual machine, with a full featured Desktop environment, probably rolling or testing or plain inestable, which I can play with, and break, and deinstall and reinstall as I wish, while the physical machine still runs.

This is because in the physical machines there are some services I want to run even if the Desktop system is being reinstalled, like a DNS server, a mail server, and a web server.
Ok, this makes sense. For that you can use any virtualization solution you want, just choose the one most adapted to your needs (for example, Qemu/KVM lacks 3D support which is needed for desktop effects and such, Gnome for example will only run in fallback mode without 3D support).
Quote:
Which kind of GUI would be necessary on the physical? Plain X would do it? Can not the guest use the graphical card directly in order to have its own GUI display as another console of the host?
The VM must be able to show its own window, plain X would be sufficient, a simple WM would be more convenient. PCI passthrough (passing for example the videocard to the VM) still is experimental and needs hardware and drivers that is capable of that. It may be possible, though, to use LXC containers to run a GUI on a CLI only host, but I haven't tried that.
 
Old 07-09-2014, 09:56 PM   #6
jefro
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I'm not sure any vm client can directly use a graphic card yet. It is in the works and may be in the market. VM's are virtual machines for most users. VM's use a virtual version of a graphic card and interact with the hosts gui.
Basically you access the host via a supported gui or by some remote desktop like vnc. A supported gui may be x but then you get into KMS and graphic driver issues.


Only now do some clients have more direct access to the host system. The very latest hardware supports more devices being shared. This is what was mentioned above with the pci passthrough.

I was kind of wondering if a vm would run like mplayer does with gtk+. Not sure about that.
 
Old 07-10-2014, 08:32 AM   #7
gradinaruvasile
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Why dont you do it the other way around - using a physical desktop and VMs for production server(s)? Its much easier to manage, gui-less servers run very well in VMs, much better than a desktop would. You can start the VMs independently from the X session for example via libvirt/virt-manager.

PS. PCI passthrough for video cards IS possible (there are a few confirmed cases on the net, most using newer AMD cards and KVM), but you need a IOMMU capable mobo, CPU and BIOS for it to work right. I too tried it, the guest OS saw the video card, installed the drivers, but wasnt able to actually output on it, might be because i used fglrx at that time, didnt have time to mess with it more.
 
Old 07-10-2014, 09:20 AM   #8
Envite
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Thanks all

Quote:
Originally Posted by gradinaruvasile View Post
Why dont you do it the other way around - using a physical desktop and VMs for production server(s)? Its much easier to manage, gui-less servers run very well in VMs, much better than a desktop would. You can start the VMs independently from the X session for example via libvirt/virt-manager.
Because in that case the system running unstable software (like experimental versions of Gnome or KDE) would be the host. I want to positively avoid that.
 
Old 07-10-2014, 09:21 AM   #9
TobiSGD
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gradinaruvasile View Post
PS. PCI passthrough for video cards IS possible (there are a few confirmed cases on the net, most using newer AMD cards and KVM), but you need a IOMMU capable mobo, CPU and BIOS for it to work right. I too tried it, the guest OS saw the video card, installed the drivers, but wasnt able to actually output on it, might be because i used fglrx at that time, didnt have time to mess with it more.
Do you have a second videocard? PCI passthrough currently only works when you have a dedicated card for the VM.
 
Old 07-10-2014, 09:33 AM   #10
gradinaruvasile
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TobiSGD View Post
Do you have a second videocard? PCI passthrough currently only works when you have a dedicated card for the VM.
Of course. I use my onboard IGP and i had one in the PCIex slot. Tried some older nvidia NVS 285 and an 1300 or so Ati, both failed the same way. The guest Windows could see them, could install drivers but couldnt "start". The thing is that the succesful tests i heard about all used 5000+ AMD cards and the open source driver (fglrx reportedly messes something up and prevents passthrough of non-used video devices). I will test sometimes again (now i use the radeon OSS driver).
 
Old 07-10-2014, 12:12 PM   #11
Envite
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Hi all

Since I would need a dedicated Video card (which I do not have, yet) I would need to go with minimal X system.

Which virtualization software would allow me to get exit to an bare X-Window system? I mean, avoiding a browser.

Thanks all, again
 
Old 07-11-2014, 01:22 AM   #12
gradinaruvasile
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Envite View Post
Which virtualization software would allow me to get exit to an bare X-Window system? I mean, avoiding a browser.
What do you mean?
 
Old 07-11-2014, 03:32 PM   #13
jefro
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The vm's targeted toward consumer or hobby such as vmplayer, virtualbox, qemu/kvm. There are a few others that I forget or don't know about like xen.
 
Old 07-17-2014, 06:13 PM   #14
Envite
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Hi all

I'm finally using KVM machines with libvirt and virt-manager. I hope I'll be able to work with them as I want.

Thanks all
 
Old 07-18-2014, 03:09 PM   #15
jefro
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That is a popular choice.

Let us know how it goes.
 
  


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