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January 16, 2010 @ 21:28

Fedora virtualization has rough edges

After seeing lots of buzz about Virtualization improvements in Fedora 11 and 12 it was time to give it a try. I have experience using desktop virtualization over 10 years; mainly VMWare in beginning and in last few years mostly VirtualBox, but also qemu with kqemu via command line. VirtualBox is the preferable one because of it’s ease of use for desktop virtualization.
After installing virt-manager in Fedora 12 I hit first speed bump on the road to native linux virtualization – it failed to install libvirt (bug reported). Without libvirt virt-manager GUI just sits dead in the water. How such an obvious thing got unnoticed so far? Is anybody actually using virt-manager after installing Fedora 12 from live cd?
It was a simple thing to install libvirt and start the service, but something that basic should be done automatically. After starting virt-manager I was pleased with it clean looking UI.
The idea was to install Ubuntu and see how it performed in this virtual environment, but virt-manager only offers root partition as storage location of virtual image. That is just not acceptable for various reasons.
On my system root is used only for Fedora, also usually reformated on every new Fedora release. Root partition on my system is 10GB – plenty of room for Fedora but not for additional virtual images. There is no reason why virt-manager shouldn’t have a choice where to save your virtual images, I guess that I’m not the only one who would like to save virtaulization storage images in /home partition (bug reported).
After consulting qemu wiki it was a simple step of issuing qemu-img create -f qcow2 .virt-manager/ubuntu.img 6000M and choose that image in virt-manager. Installation went flawless, resizing VM display to fit my window worked great.
One thing that is missing are tools similar to VirtualBox Guest Additions that enable mouse to be used in both VM and on Fedora without VM needing exclusive right to use the mouse, and then pressing CTRL+ALT keys to ungrab the mouse to make is available on Fedora desktop again. And also clipboard sharing.
Native linux virtualization for desktops looks closer and closer to being a really nice experience, I know that virt-manager guys will fix these issues so go ahead and try it out and share your experience with it.

Filed under english, fedora


  1. Posted by Alex Hudson

    January 16, 2010 @ 22:19

    virt-manager doesn’t need libvirt installed – you can easily administrate remote libvirt instances. I use it all the time, and I don’t have libvirt.

    Putting images on root – that’s also not necessary. virt-manager can manage storage pools, and you can put these anywhere – on some partition, directly on LVM, or some network drive.

  2. Posted by valent

    January 16, 2010 @ 22:35

    Hi Alex, could you then comment in the bug I reported? Why does the virt-manager then popup this image:

    How is it possible to create virtual image storage via virt-manager? I posted screenshots in second bug report to show that there is no way, only selecting previously created ones that can be on any partition.

  3. Posted by Alex Hudson

    January 16, 2010 @ 23:18

    valent – you only get that dialog if you try to connect to the localhost with no libvirt running. If you use virt-manager to connect to a *remote* host (e.g., over ssh) then you don’t need libvirt on the machine with virt-manager.

    To setup storage, connect to the libvirt host (localhost or a server), right-click and select Details. You can then access the network setup or the storage setup. New storage volumes can be pretty much anything.

  4. Posted by Gianluca Sforna

    January 17, 2010 @ 17:55

    For good measure, I’d always start by installing the whole Virtualization group with:
    yum groupinstall Virtualization

    PS. 6th attempt to understand how two captchas works in the same page…

  5. Posted by Paul W. Frields

    January 17, 2010 @ 18:06

    Not sure what you’re doing wrong, Valent, but using an image in /home works just fine. I just did it several times and the disk image ends up just where I want.

    Choose “Browse Local,” navigate to your home directory, type in a volume name, and the disk image gets created just where it should be.

  6. Posted by valent

    January 18, 2010 @ 16:39

    @Paul please view this video: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/184632/virt-manager.ogg or this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cqGOhZC_WXQ

    What am I doing wrong?

    Why after pressing NEW IMAGE button there is no choice where that new image should be located?!? Bad UI design if you ask me.

    Paul do you have SELinux disabled?

    Here is what Lubomir Rintel said:
    “Grow your /var. According to FHS it’s the correct place for variable runtime
    data and SELinux wouldn’t allow libvirtd access your home anyway.”

  7. Posted by Scott Dowdle

    January 18, 2010 @ 21:23

    virt-manager works fine for me… and yes I have all of my KVM disk images on a separate partition named /vm. I have SELinux turned on and i had to allow /vm to be used

    I think you need to browse local first and pick a storage pool… then you can create a new image less than available size.

    Yes, virt-manager’s UI is a little clunky but once you get used to it, it works quite well.

  8. Posted by valent

    January 20, 2010 @ 14:07

    What are your comments regarding Guest Additions so that mouse and keyboard don’t get “locked in” in virtual machine?

    After looking more deeply in virt-manager it UI indeed looks a bit clunky and assumes you are familiar with the way it works, not user friendly for new users.

    For new users of virt-manager it would be great if somehow more
    emphasized in UI is done on explaining that there are these things called “storage pools” and also that there are two storage pools by default; one in /var and other in /home directory.

    Fedora community has educated me to put any suggestions as constructive as possible and I did that in two RFEs and hope they are seeded in fertile soil and that developers see opportunity to improve usability of virt-manager

    Here are two RFEs, please comment on them:

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