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    Using Virtual Machines - a discussion about which tools to use and why

    I use VMs (virtual machines) almost every day. I use them for work and for learning more about Linux. Also a great way to harmlessly experiment with an operating system.

    In the past I have used VMWare and more recently VirtualBox (Vbox), but this past year, I have begun using QEMU/KVM. There's a learning curve for sure, but I have managed to convert 6 VBox VMs of various operating systems to QEMU using Virtual Machine Manager.

    Part of the reason for the transition away from VBox is the performance isn't great and the dkms packages and other requirements a bit of a nuisance. QEMU seems more Linux integrated and performs WAY better. Also, one can configure hardware-pass through with QEMU but not with VBox (VMWare also allows this but it's not free in any sense of the word). I haven't yet needed or attempted hardware-pass through but I will someday figure that out.

    I recently - as in this month - found and have begun attempting to use AQEMU rather than virt-manager. The bulk of my VM building has been done with VBox. AQEMU has a more familiar graphical interface like VBox whereas virt-manager is more textual. I wanted to try both. I built my first two VMs using AQEMU last week but I haven't figured out all I need to know yet.

    For example, several of my work VMs require multiple monitors (displayed as separate windows). With VBox, you just select the number desired in the VM settings and launch. With virt-manager, you have to manually edit the XML file pertaining to the VM and then open the VM using "remote viewer" to see all the monitors. Kind of an annoying extra step. AQEMU has a GUI to enable multiple monitors but I haven't figured that out yet, so I;m not sure if it's easier or not.

    Editing the XML in virt-manager seems more powerful and direct than using a pretty GUI, but also more dangerous because nothing is checking your syntax. I've broken a few VMs already. With my limited experience so far I feel like virt-manager is for a power user and AQEMU more friendly for a casual user.

    The reason I most often use VMs other than for work is to test a new release or another OS or trouble shoot a problem. I used to test out a new software install or update, but now I use snapshots so I just go for it these days and roll back when it fails. It's really a good idea to have a VM of the same version of your current install so you can test a potential new PPA or system update or upgrade. It's really nice to be able to attempt something and just wipe the VM and start over when it fails.

    I'd like to hear about your opinion, experiences, how or why you use VMs if you do, and of course questions and comments welcome.
    6
    I use VMS often
    66.67%
    4
    I use VMs occasionally
    33.33%
    2
    I never have used a VM
    0%
    0
    Please Read Me
    Be not the first by whom the new are tried, Nor yet the last to lay the old aside. -
    Alexander Pope, An Essay on Criticism, 1711

    #2
    I use Oracle VirtualBox on my iMac, running kdeNeon, in which I run KMyMoney. My iMac is my primary PC.
    Using Kubuntu Linux since March 23, 2007
    "It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data." - Sherlock Holme

    Comment


      #3
      I prefer QEMU virt-manager. I find it easy to use and mostly reliable. I mainly use it for checking out other distros. I can't seem to get it to work with Haiku, however, but that may just be me.

      Comment


      • oshunluvr
        oshunluvr commented
        Editing a comment
        That sounds like challenge!

      #4
      Originally posted by oldgeek View Post
      I can't seem to get it to work with Haiku
      Odd, as it works great for me, using the 'anyboot' isos. Are you choosing the 'Haiku Nightly " option in the OS selection box in step 2 of the wizard? This is what I have been using.

      Comment


        #5
        I use virt-manager, as it is quicker, seems 'lighter' and is more performant overall for me, and has the features I use.
        The GUI isn't all that difficult to use, for most purposes, either.
        However, it does take extra work/research if you want to move the default location for machines to a different drive.

        Comment


          #6
          Originally posted by claydoh View Post
          Odd, as it works great for me, using the 'anyboot' isos. Are you choosing the 'Haiku Nightly " option in the OS selection box in step 2 of the wizard? This is what I have been using.
          Yeah, same here. Just tried it. Took less than a minute:
          Attached Files
          Please Read Me
          Be not the first by whom the new are tried, Nor yet the last to lay the old aside. -
          Alexander Pope, An Essay on Criticism, 1711

          Comment


            #7
            I
            Originally posted by oshunluvr View Post
            Yeah, same here. Just tried it. Took less than a minute:
            I always need a double check, since my beOS usage predates my Linux usage. , and I have been casually following haiku for some many years now.
            Not sure I am sold on their inclusion of a *gasp* Package Manager these days. I is probably sorta necessary in 2010, now. I mean 2023.

            Comment


              #8
              Originally posted by claydoh View Post
              I
              I always need a double check, since my beOS usage predates my Linux usage. , and I have been casually following haiku for some many years now.
              Not sure I am sold on their inclusion of a *gasp* Package Manager these days. I is probably sorta necessary in 2010, now. I mean 2023.
              I downloaded: haiku-r1beta4-x86_64-anyboot.iso

              I used virt-manager and it has haiku in the OS type selection list. Let everything defaults and it worked right away.
              Please Read Me
              Be not the first by whom the new are tried, Nor yet the last to lay the old aside. -
              Alexander Pope, An Essay on Criticism, 1711

              Comment


                #9
                Yup, some may not realize haiku would be in the drop-down list.
                Aaaaand there goes my aadhd, dag-nabbit Squirrel!!!!!!

                Comment


                  #10
                  Originally posted by oshunluvr View Post
                  […]
                  I'd like to hear about your opinion, experiences, how or why you use VMs if you do, and of course questions and comments welcome.
                  By now I use Oracle VirtualBox only again. I have been using it regularly since version 4 (about 1o years ago?). Before that I used other solutions (mostly on Macs).
                  I use VMs to test operating systems, programs, updates and settings of every kind (often before testing them again on bare metal before deployment).

                  I have tried QEMO/KVM (with virt-manager) as a replacement for about 1 year (I think a post of GreyGeek put me up to it) but I was not too satisfied with the performance, especially on older machines. With QEMU/KVM some virtual machines were slightly faster and some were a bit slower compared to VirtualBox. Mostly it did not make any difference (of course your mileage may vary).

                  As I copy some of my VMs between Linux, macOS and Windows regularly and sometimes prepare VMs for other people, VirtualBox also is the more uncomplicated solution for me.

                  I have not felt the need to try VMWare extensively yet, but I will certainly do so at some point in the future (as my better half has to use it at work…).
                  Last edited by Schwarzer Kater; Jan 23, 2023, 05:27 PM. Reason: typos
                  Desktop: Debian 11 KDE & LXQt • Kubuntu 22.04 & 20.04 • Win10 • Lenovo ThinkCentre M710s
                  Nvidia GT 1030 • Intel i5-7600 • 16 GB RAM • 256 GB Toshiba XG4 M.2 SSD • 1000 GB Crucial MX500 SSD
                  Laptop: Kubuntu 22.04 • macOS X 15 • Apple MacBook Pro (13-inch, Mid 2012)
                  Intel HD 4000 • Intel i7-3520M • 16 GB RAM • 1 TB Kingston KC600 SSD

                  Comment


                    #11
                    Another plus for virt-manager is if you do any emulation at all, for games or any other sort of cross-architecture work, you already have qemu et all installed.
                    de-bloat-ify!!!

                    Comment


                      #12
                      With respect to Haiku, my problem was with formatting the disk. It didn't occur to me at first to format the 20 GB virtual disk with the Be format, Once I did that, it installed very rapidly. Interesting OS to play around with, although I seriously doubt it will ever become my main OS.

                      Comment


                        #13
                        Originally posted by oldgeek View Post
                        I seriously doubt it will ever become my main OS.
                        I don't think this labor of love in recreating and preserving an OS from 23 years ago was ever intended for this

                        Back in 2000-2002, BeOS could have been used as a replacement for Windows 9x., At least as much as Linux of the era could, if not a bit more.

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