[CentOS] virtualization on the desktop a myth, or a reality?

Les Mikesell lesmikesell at gmail.com
Wed Mar 2 18:07:10 UTC 2011

On 3/2/2011 11:29 AM, Rudi Ahlers wrote:
> So, I installed CentOS + KDE, chose the Virtualization package and
> used Virtual Machine Manager to setup another CentOS VM inside CentOS
> (I only have a CentOS ISO on this SAN, since we don't use Debian /
> Slackware / FC / Ubuntu / etc). The installation was probably about
> the same speed as it would be on raw hardware. But, using the
> interface is painfully slow. I opened up Firefox and browsed the web a
> bit. The mouse cursor lagged a bit and whenever I loaded a slow /
> large website, it seemed asif the whole VM lagged behind.

X without hardware acceleration is pretty ugly - you end up making the 
CPU do block moves even for simple things like screen scroling.  Not 
sure how how the virtual interface works, but a better approach is 
either running X natively on your local hardware with the desktop/app 
remote (if you are on a low latency LAN) or freenx on the server and the 
NX client locally (works regardless of the connection speed).

> And, granted, when we install Virtual Machines on a XEN server, we
> don't ever use X since the servers we run as web / email / database /
> file servers, so there's no need for X.

Xen seems to be on its way out.

> BUT, I want(ed) to see if this is a reality for the average desktop
> user, or not really (yet?) seeing as most modern PC's have far more
> CPU&  RAM resources than what is actually needed by most. I'm not
> talking about developers / graphic designers / etc. I'm talking about
> Bob, who uses his PC for email, internet, document writing, etc and
> needs to boot into Windows if he feels like playing Warcraft III or
> StarCraft II, or use Pastel, etc.

If you have paid for a windows license and/or want to run games, why 
wouldn't you run Windows natively, with the NX client to access remote 
linux desktops, or VMware Player to run it locally.

> Wouldn't it be nice to run Windows, of for that matter Solaris /
> FreeBSD / MAC (graphics designer) / another flavor of Linux / etc
> inside your favorite Linux, and access it from the Desktop without too
> much trouble?

Yes, as a matter of fact, it is nice - but it doesn't really make much 
difference which is the host and which is the guest, or for most things 
whether you run locally or remotely.  For most things, I find floating a 
running Linux desktop around among NX clients to be extremely handy. 
And, if you want a local VM, it is possible to set a dual-boot system up 
so you also have a choice of running the currently-inactive partition 
under vmware player without rebooting.

   Les Mikesell
     lesmikesell at gmail.com

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