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

Eli Billauer eli at billauer.co.il
Mon Jan 11 15:04:05 MSK 2010

boazg wrote:

> have you tried virtualbox? it's GPL, and i've had some 
> good experience with it.
As a matter of fact, I didn't even consider it before you suggested it. 
So I gave it a try. I didn't let the company which is behind the project 
turn me down. Neither was I stopped by the fact that the package which 
is marked for Fedora 12 had failed dependencies, which weren't resolved 
even by "yum localinstall" (I grabbed the libraries manually, and 
learned something about installing libraries on a 64 bit machine [1]).

I also skipped the annoying registration form.

The thing is, that when I finally got the VirtualBox to run, and 
configured a trial machine to boot with Knoppix, I was told that the 
virtual machine failed to start, because it couldn't run in VMX root 
mode. It suggested to do pretty nasty things, such as to remove KVM from 
the kernel (recompile?) and REBOOT (they said the R-word). At this 
point, I marked a big X on Virtualbox. Despite all I said about its 
shortcomings, I like KVM. But I went on to check it, just for the heck 
of it.

It turned out that they were too dramatic. All that was really necessary 
was "rmmod kvm_intel kvm" and Virtualbox was ready to go.

Virtualbox didn't accept just a dd-copied image as a disk image, so I 
copied the image into /dev/hda (within a virtual Knoppix) through 
netcat. (Note to self: Getting used to write to /dev/hda is not a good 
idea...). Booting from this image, the Windows bootloader got stuck at 
an early stage, so I gave this up.

Instead, I went for installing XP from scratch on the virtual machine. I 
have to admit, that the installation went very fast (compared with 
QEMU/KVM). The system went up with no problems, and I managed to connect 
my Canon EOS camera, which clearly indicates that USB 2.0 works properly 
(even though I got the feeling something went quirky with the camera). 
As for my hardware programming cable, Virtualbox put it on the list of 
USB devices possible to attach, but greyed it out so I couldn't pick it. 
It was detected as an "unknown device" so maybe that's why. This way or 
another, no programming cable for me.

The graphical interface was pretty fast with no apparent paravirtual 
drivers installed and the mouse interface feels OK.

So it looks like VirtualBox is yet another clone, in the same company's 
family of wannabe projects, like Openoffice and Eclipse. The interface 
is good, it looks good, but somehow misses the crucial points. Sounds 
familiar, I have to say.

My bottom line for this tool: Almost did the job, doesn't allow me to 
run KVM in parallel. It's a no.

But thanks for suggesting it, Boaz.



Web: http://www.billauer.co.il

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