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Old 02-17-2005, 04:33 AM   #1
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Registered: Jan 2005
Location: Switzerland
Distribution: debain lenny, slackware 10.0, vectorlinux 4.3, kubuntu feisty
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VirtualMachine, some basic questions


I have used VMware before and understand the basic concept of Virtual Machines. So I always thought you need to install that VMsoftware first, and then make a special installation of the OS you want...

well I read some articles lately and am confused a bit now.

my question is basically, can you run two "old" or already installed Linux distros in parallel by adding some VM software. (like Xen for example)

or lets put it in another way,
I have a Debian Woody system which has been running for a long time. I got a new HD and installed Slackware 10.0 on it. so now I have the choice in lilo which one to boot.
Is there a possibility that I install Xen or something like it, on a new partition or whatever, and then run my Slackware on hda and my debian on hdb in parallel?

thanks for your help guys

Regards G
Old 02-24-2005, 09:39 PM   #2
Registered: May 2004
Location: Vienna, Austria
Distribution: Open SuSE 11, Mac OS X 10.5
Posts: 299

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Hello Gerard,

yes you can run two or more already installed distros with XEN. I have SuSE 9.2,
Debian (Sarge) and Fedora 3. Those were already installed. I did not want
to use VMware Workstation. Then I read about XEN and decided to
give it a try. I installed the XEN kernel in my SuSE Installation and made
the apropriate entry into GRUB menu. (XEN only supports GRUB so far)
Boot Loader so far. If I want to run other distros in virtual machines then
I boot SuSE with the XEN kernel if not then with the default one.
Once booted with the XEN kernel it's easy to start the other, already installed,
distros. However they will not be booted with their default kernels but
with the XEN kernel you have installed in your host partition (in my case SuSE).
For every virtual machine you want to run, you need to create a configuration file.
In that file you specify the location of the kernel which will be located in
the host partition (SuSE in my case) and then the root partition which is equal
to the root partition of your already installed distros => the kernel is separated
from the Guest OS.

In my case everything runs very well.

There are same things you need to know:
- Your Distros will not run with their kernel but with the XEN kernel.
- The only way I could get a graphical output from my guest partitions
is via VNC. But for me it's OK. I boot the guest OS in run level 3 and start
there the VNC serevr.
- You'll have to use GRUB
- You can give direct access to the Hardware and other partitions to your guest partitions
- AND: The Performance is excellent

Last edited by Vlad-A; 02-24-2005 at 09:46 PM.
Old 03-02-2005, 01:33 AM   #3
LQ Newbie
Registered: Jan 2005
Location: Switzerland
Distribution: debain lenny, slackware 10.0, vectorlinux 4.3, kubuntu feisty
Posts: 23

Original Poster
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Thank you Vlad-A,

sounds nice, though I am a bit undecided if I should try it or not as I dont really want to change to grub.

Well, thanks for the info anyway and I will be checking out Xen from time to time to see if lilo gets supported in the future... ;-)

Greets G
Old 07-22-2005, 04:15 AM   #4
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Registered: Jul 2005
Location: Asia
Distribution: OpenSuSE
Posts: 12

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About Xen

Dear Vlad-A:

I saw you poster by means of search the keyword "xen" and I have a question about Xen:
Is it possible for Xen in one machine to run other machines with different hardware via network connection?

Machine 1
Suse 9.3 (domain 0)
FC4 (domain 1)----------|NFS|--------Machine 2 (or only hard disk)
NetBSD (domain 2)----|NFS|--------Machine 3

Thank You

Eddy Lo


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