[Haifux] QEMU/KVM vs. VMWare: The beauty and the beast

boazg boaz.gezer at gmail.com
Mon Jan 11 01:01:55 MSK 2010

have you tried virtualbox? it's GPL, and i've had some good experience with

On Sun, Jan 10, 2010 at 21:06, Eli Billauer <eli at billauer.co.il> wrote:

> Hello,
> I've been playing around with my new Fedora 12 computer (Intel i7 quad
> core) for a few days, mainly for the purpose of making educated
> decisions about how to virtualize two old computers, which I want to get
> rid of. They are running Windows 2000 and Redhat 7.3. I only tested the
> Windows part (Linux should be much easier). Fedora 12 is the host, of
> course.
> I've looked at QEMU/KVM vs. VMWare.  I want to share my experiences and
> insights with you, because I don't like the bottom line, which is the
> VMWare is better for almost all home purposes (I'm not talking about
> cloud servers and such). Which makes me wonder: Is VMWare a honey trap,
> or is it currently the preferred choice?
> In case you wondered, both tools can run simultaneously on the same
> computer, seemingly without disturbing each other. It looks like I'm
> going to take advantage of this.
> I ran VMPlayer (free as in beer version) with VMTools in the Windows
> guest machine. I take it that their licenses don't limit me in time nor
> the number of guests I can run simultaneously. Please do correct me if
> I'm wrong on this.
> The concept is to copy these machines' disks as image files, and then
> seamlessly go on working as if nothing happened. The most important
> issue for me is that after the transition I can go on doing everything I
> did before (including using electronic development hardware through USB).
> I should mention, that both tool's documented and encouraged flow is to
> install a new operating system from scratch on a blank (virtualized)
> disk, and not run a previously installed one. Indeed, a preinstalled XP
> image tends to give me the blue screen. The Windows 2000 image runs
> beautifully.
> * Free (as in freedom)
> * Allows incremental images (good for running possibly malicious software)
> * Can be run from the command line, and is generally script friendly.
> * Appears to be more secure (SELinux is all over)
> * Display on VNC allows remote access to guest
> QEMU/KVM Cons:
> * Doesn't currently have an EHCI driver (and hence guest sees only USB
> 1.1, not 2.0)
> * Didn't manage to attach a USB device I need for electronics
> development (Xilinx programming cable).
> * Has Windows paravirtualization drivers for network card only. Display
> is slow.
> * Using the mouse is annoying (poor tracking, clicks are sometimes missed).
> VMPlayer Pros:
> * VMTools offers a nice set of paravirtual drivers
> * Very good emulation of graphics card (through paravirtual driver).
> Feels like a real computer, it's possible to play movies. The guest's
> desktop size is dynamically adjusted to the virtual machine's window
> size, which is pretty convenient.
> * Very good handling of USB hotplugging. Needless to say, it handled my
> special piece of hardware seemlessly.
> * Easy to feel with mouse.
> VMPlayer Cons:
> * Feels like it was designed for Windows host. If you can't do it
> through GUI, you can't do it at all (?)
> * Everything about their website says "we'll give you this for free (if
> you manage to find it), but you really want our million dollar version"
> So this is my grim bottom line: I don't like the music I get from
> VMWare, but VMPlayer does the job, and QEMU is almost there. But almost
> is not enough when you want something to work. Remember that I'm the one
> who wants his computer working, first and foremost?
> Your information, comments and insights are mostly welcome.
>    Eli
> --
> Web: http://www.billauer.co.il
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