Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums


A very Happy Camper with DEBIAN WHEEZY and KVM

  1. #1


    Hafnarfjörður IS
    Posts : 4,376
    Linux Centos 7, W8.1, W7, W2K3 Server W10

    A very Happy Camper with DEBIAN WHEEZY and KVM


    Hi there
    After messing around I've finally given uo on OPENSUSE -- has a nice beautiful desktop but I don't like the new releases every so often and it isn't the most stable for getting a VM server to run.

    I after a lot of persuasion was persuaded to try DEBIAN - latest version with KDE --

    Well I wish I had used it earlier -- the package manager (software istaller) - absolute breeze with APT GET - whatever

    Installing the KVM hypervisor was fine and this must be the snappiest Linux system I've ever tried (apart from the specialized tiny distibutions).

    First VM (XP) running just fine --will be virtualising a W2003 server next and some other stuff.

    What I like with this HYPERVISOR is that you can control the VM's from the HOST if you want -- Esxi requires a separate WINDOWS machine.

    Debian perhaps isn't the best for beginners but it's so stable and installing software is SIMPLE. Well worth getting to grips with.

    (Multi-media - VLC and dragonplayer) work right out of the box too -- no messing around with untangling installed stuff (OPENSUSE) and replacing with PACMAN repository data).



    Cheers
    jimbo

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #2


    Posts : 2,130
    Windows 8.0 x64


    I haven't done the Linux thing in awhile. But the best thing was moving to Debian derived distros. I used Red Hat package tool and it seemed that there were different schools of thought where stuff should go depending where I got the package from. I switched to Mandrake 9.1. Everything on OneCD which booted and enabled the network card. After disk partitioning and all that you move to package selection. Tons of software development tools etc..

    When software package selection was complete, you hit the go button. All the packages that weren't on the CD downloaded and installed. You reboot and you're at a window manager login prompt. With apt-get the stuff just goes where it's supposed to and it works when you run it. It brought Linux up to what a Windows user expected, which is run the installer then you can use the software with virtually(pun intended) no configuration. Light years ahead with no ripping out of hair.

    Edit: and the same held true after install. If I got another package using apt-get a week or 6 months later... it was just plug and play.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #3


    Posts : 1,339
    Windows 8.1 Pro x64 bit


    Hi jimbo. Thanks for the info. Besides KDE, how many other desktops are available? The last one I used was GNOME, but that was quite a while ago.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4. #4


    Hafnarfjörður IS
    Posts : 4,376
    Linux Centos 7, W8.1, W7, W2K3 Server W10


    Hi there

    There's of course GNOME and you can install whatever you want -- just search around -- For Windows users KDE is probably the "Most Windows like".

    Note though these little hints on Wheezy. You can't login as root ( a good thing) but sudo and su commands work just fine.

    File manager as root is slightly more trickey but with a bit of experimentation and googling

    1) File manager in super user mode -- you need to press ALT F2 anywhere on screen or use the menu run command
    2) enter Dolphin
    3) on the tool icon at the right choose run as different user -- enter root and it's password

    now the dolphin icon (chest of drawers type of thing) will be on the bottom taskbar (like the windows taskbar) - click it and you are in Dolphin as root.

    Konqueror web browser doesn't have flash plugin so don't bother with it. Chrome installs fine straight out of the box and a "Debian version" of Mozilla is default browser -- It's OK actually.


    USB3 works as plug'n play -- insert a USB3 drive and you can handle it fine.

    You need to untangle any WINDOWS SPANNED drives though -- I haven't found a way of accessing this yet from Debian - but I'm sure someone has done it.
    I've seen some posts - install dmraid and by getting the actual blkzize start and end values it can work but I'll leave this.

    Once I'm running everything as Windows VM images I won't need any more spanning - the Linux system has a SENSIBLE directory structure where you don't need this so as I'll only be using Windows for Office / Photoshop type of stuff I won't need spanning anyway -- the Multi-media works just fine on Linux -- Networking of any sort is light YEARS ahead of Windows so streamer servers are just fine.

    I'm entering this now from a W8.1 Enterprise Virtual machine running from KVM -- performance seems just fine and haven't come across any issues yet --- I might try later messing around on a TOUCH screen laptop - but I'm not sure how well touch is implemented in Linux -- not that bothered actually.

    (When I'm confident with this actually as a server I won't bother with a full GUI at all -- the HYPERVISOR for managing the VM's will then be TINY !!

    This beats VMware ESXI by a UNIVERSE and saves the overhead of using a full OS for virtualising with things like VMware workstation -- and it's all TOTALLY FREE.

    Cheers
    jimbo
    Last edited by jimbo45; 13 Dec 2013 at 06:34.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5. #5


    Posts : 1,339
    Windows 8.1 Pro x64 bit


    Thank you very much for the additional info!
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  6. #6


    Hafnarfjörður IS
    Posts : 4,376
    Linux Centos 7, W8.1, W7, W2K3 Server W10


    Hi there

    Backup of the Debian linux system with Acronis 2014) (stand alone bootable version on USB) 8 Mins -- same to restore (main system is on a dedicated 120 GB SSD - the whole system itself is actually quite small (install a small system without 90% of bloat you don't need).

    Acronis backs up Linux partitions just fine.

    Am using a separate 500GB HDD for the Virtual machine(s) image data spaces while testing - but will move to SSD's later.

    The whole Mount system is far superior to having to muck about with entries in fstab - making Windows VM's with KVM is simplicity itself provided you've installed the correct packages.

    I can see myself now not using WINDOWS as a primary HOST system any more. -- Next test is to see if I can get a W7 virtual machine to boot from a USB3 external drive running Debian and KVM.

    This seems the best way of running portable OS'es so far -- the VM overhead doesn't seem to great at all. Quite fun and learning (again!!) something about Linux at the same time.

    Incidently the latest DEBIAN release is available in almost any language you want it in --even ICELANDIC !!!

    Still need to find out how to set screen snipper up !! but "getting there".

    Networking is a BREEZE compared with windows. The only problem I've encountered so far is printing (which I don't do a lot of anyway - however I use a windows VM to manage the printer (stupid HP doesn't seem to have my model available other than XP and W7).

    Screenshot enc of W7 install on KVM

    Good thing about this is you don't need a separate machine for controlling the VM's unlike Esxi

    Cheers
    jimbo
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails w7.png  
    Last edited by jimbo45; 13 Dec 2013 at 11:27.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  7. #7


    Quote Originally Posted by jimbo45 View Post

    This beats VMware ESXI by a UNIVERSE and saves the overhead of using a full OS for virtualising with things like VMware workstation -- and it's all TOTALLY FREE.

    Cheers
    jimbo
    I'm happy that running debian is working well for you. I don't really consider it a true bare metal hypervisor like esxi. That's why you need to manage esxi from another host. I don't see this as being an issue, as I feel that my hypervisor should be a dedicated machine, and I will obviously have at least one more physical machine on the network. Products like esxi excel with things like resource overalocation. In most virtualized environments this is far more of an enterprise need than managing the box locally. Esxi really isn't designed for home use, and isn't really intended for enthusiasts. It's an enterprise type product.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  8. #8


    Hafnarfjörður IS
    Posts : 4,376
    Linux Centos 7, W8.1, W7, W2K3 Server W10


    Hi there

    I have to agree with you - the system I have now is far better really for home use - It's strange though being able to boot the system from a USB stick which takes all of a few (very few) secs to start and then run full VM's !!!!

    The VM's are actually on a separate SSD drive plugged in to a USB3 port -- performance is just fine but use SDL rather than the slower VNC for the video if running from a machine without sensible graphic cards.

    Will now try the same thing with XEN -- think this might have even LESS overhead.

    I've also made a 32 GB USB3 system with a W8.1 VM on it under VMware workstation -- this works acceptably fine too and is excellent for a "Disaster recovery" type of scenario.

    Note to people who might want to try creating this (or similar) a Bootable Linux on external device able to run Windows or other VM's).

    You can replace VMWARE workstation with VMware player (free) or even VBOX (standard with the distribution) but I haven't much experience with VBOX -- VMware works just fine.


    1) if your laptop is UEFI enabled allow legacy boot too - EFI is still somewhat crazy in some Linux distros -- if the laptop doesn't boot the external device properly use the BOOT popup menu rather than set the Boot priority in the BIOS so it will force boot from the external device rather than use the BIOS'es built in CSM manager which handles legacy boot and can interfere with the normal boot process. Setting the boot device via the popup menu forces the system to read the boot manager from the external drive without using the CSM module.

    2) Wireless will usually have to be added on afterwards - use a LAN connection the first time and download the package firmwire-iwlwifi . Modprobe it after boot and then it works (Certainly for a whole slew of INTEL wireless adapters in things like Lenovo and HP laptops).

    3) add the ADOBE flash plugin if you want to use streamed video on the HOST

    4) to add VMWARE follow this link

    Tutorial for Linux | How-to Install VMware Workstation 10 on Debian Linux Easy Guide

    5) Install from the LIVE CD -- that way you keep a small system and easily managed and choose the EXTERNAL device as the destination for the install. I used the KDE DEBIAN WHEEZY Live CD (KDE is probably the easiest for Windows users to use - but you can choose other ones -- such as minimal GUI etc etc). Once I've got more practice I'll minimize the system even more by choosing a minimal GUI. Choose the Graphical installation if you are more comfortable with GUI's. The text base version is quicker but it's easy to miss something.

    6) at install GRUB install it to the EXTERNAL device (on a laptop it will probably be /dev/sdb - you will get a prompt at that stage - that way you don't hose up your laptop with boot prompts etc etc).


    Final note - especially if you are just starting out with Linux -- DEBIAN (IMO quite rightly too) has no LOGON as user -- you have to use SU or SUDO commands.

    However sometimes you might need the file manager (akin to Windows explorer) to run in super user mode -- quick and easy for edits and copying rather than using the CLI. Press ALT+F2 and enter dolphin in the box at the top of the screen Dolphin is KDE's file manager. Click on the tool icon on the dropdown and choose run as a different user. Enter root and root's password and you'll be in super user mode.

    I'll try and make a tutorial for installing the system on the external device, installing a Guest Windows system and start it up and run it but you should get the idea -- the performance is surprisingly good apart from in some instances getting the 3-D graphics to work -- could be hardware graphic cards - I've got an el-cheapo on board one on my desktop. The laptop has Intel HD graphics so there is a workaround but I still need to find it.

    Otherwise great fun, good learning experience and a really USEFUL and proper portable system !!! for ANY version of windows. !!

    No need for W8.1 enterprise and Windows to Go. !!!

    Cheers
    jimbo
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  9. #9


    Vmware workstation is a great product, but not necessary for nearly all home users. As you said, player does what is needed, it's free so it saves you money, or gives you no reason to steal it.

    I purchase workstation as I test on vms all day long at work. I use snapshots and I use the template feature extensively. Plus, it integrates with our vSphere environment and includes the converter features natively. I can work around all of these, but it's worth the $119 upgrade fee not too.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  10. #10


    Orbiting the Moon
    Posts : 2,975
    Windows 10 x64


    Good thread Jimbo!

    Looks promising,
    I'll give this a go too by the end of the week, since I never tried qemu/kvm so far.

    Cheers
    Hopachi
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

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A very Happy Camper with DEBIAN WHEEZY and KVM
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