I haven’t had much time in recent months to follow up on what’s happening in the KVM or virtualization world. That much bigger was my surprise to find that things are moving on quickly. When I started out 6 years ago to virtualize Windows and run it on Xen using VGA passthrough, I thought I would be forever marked as a geek.
Today I’m looking at dozens if not hundreds of tutorials and websites dealing with VGA passthrough (VFIO), and an ever increasing number of followers. It seems to me this technology or concept is gaining momentum, at least among Linux users.
When I was a small kid I was fascinated by science and technology. I watched the landing on the moon live on TV and it captivated my little brain. It was obvious to me: with the rapid advances in science and technology we would have to work less and enjoy life more. Things would be automated, robots would assist not only at work, but at home too. Advances in medicine will let us grow older and feel younger.
Almost 50 years later, people still work 9 hours a day, 5-6 days a week. People today work as hard as people in a feudal system hundreds of years ago.
Obviously something went wrong – big time! How can it be that modern technology allows us to work faster and more efficiently, and yet we still work 40-50-60 hours a week? Where is this hugely increased production surplus going?
I already wrote about why I think Linux is the way to go, and why I consider Linux more secure than most commercial operating systems. But what if your favorite distribution gets hacked?
Exactly this happened a little more than a year ago, when the Linux Mint website – probably the most popular Linux distribution – got hacked. The hacker placed a backdoored version of the Linux Mint ISO onto the download page. The perpetrator was also successful in hacking into the forum and stealing all user data and passwords. The user data / passwords are still available for purchase on the dark net, anyone paying the requested amount can download it.
Today, a year later, the Linux Mint forum and community websites are down. In the meantime the site has come up – according to a admin note it was shutdown for maintenance.
Yesterday I wrote about Linux security and the need for monitoring hard drives for failure symptoms. As if this was an omen, today the following message popped up on my screen:
At any given time, my PC runs between 6 to 10 hard drives of varying size and make. In recent years I’ve replaced some old and small 1TB and 2TB drives for larger 3TB and 4TB drives, sometimes replacing two drives for one. I’m also adding more SSD to improve performance, but my main data storage still uses mechanical hard drives.
In my “Why Linux” post, I explained the advantages of Linux over commercial operating systems such as Microsoft Windows or Apple OS. In this post I like to point out some of the risks running Linux. The risks are by no means limited to Linux – you run the same or similar risks with all the other OS. So why bother reading this post?
Most computer users are familiar with Microsoft Windows, some with Apple OS X. But what about Linux?
Linux has become popular as a server OS, but couldn’t win any desktop battle, yet. One of the reasons for Linux’ failure in the desktop market is its fragmentation. There is no Linux operating system, but dozens of different (competing) distributions, as these different flavors of Linux are called. “You got lots of choices” would the Linux aficionado explain.
While the software landscape under Linux has greatly improved, Microsoft is still the king when it comes to commercial software. And the fact that the vast majority of desktops run Windows practically guarantees that hardware will be compatible with Windows, which is not always true for Linux.
So why on earth should a Microsoft Windows user bother with Linux?
In this post I present some of the challenges you might face with IOMMU and provide tools to identify and perhaps solve the issues. Your best friend is the pciutils package and the lspci command (see here for examples).
This tutorial explains how to install and run Windows 10 on Linux using GPU passthrough and VFIO drivers to achieve near-native performance – for gaming, photo or video editing, and other graphics and CPU intensive tasks. It also lists the common pitfalls and possible ways to further improve performance. Last not least it offers a comprehensive list of external resources and helpful links.
Latest update: November 25, 2023
Table of Contents
You want to use Linux as your main operating system, but still need Windows for certain applications unavailable under Linux. You need top notch (3D) graphics performance under Windows for computer games, photo or video editing, etc. And you do not want to dual-boot into Linux or Windows. In that case read on.
Many modern CPUs have built-in features that improve the performance of virtual machines (VM), up to the point where virtualised systems are indistinguishable from non-virtualised systems. This allows us to create virtual machines on a Linux host platform without compromising performance of the (Windows) guest system.
In an attempt to make the qemu -drive command line options more accessible, here is an extract from the qemu-system-x86_64 man page. You can get the complete man page by entering the following in a terminal window: man qemu-system-x86_64
The options below are valid for qemu-system-x86_64 version 2.5.0. Please refer to the qemu documentation at qemu.weilnetz.de – look for the version you got and select the corresponding sub-folder.