Been tinkering all week (only get a little time each day). Tried KVM a little and decided to go with Xen. Perhaps mainly because I could find better documentation as well as better hopes getting VGA passthrough working. I found a number of suggestions to use a Red Hat based distro for KVM since they develop it and in theory would be better support. I've been wanting to check out Scientific Linux anyway so I gave it a go. Nothing wrong with the distro, but I am way too familiar with apt and debian based systems. My suggestion to anyone- stick with what you are comfortable with! (I will eventually have a Sci Linux guest so I can build my skills)
Tried straight Debian. Got a Win 7 guest installed with KVM using virt-manager. It ran. But that was a vanilla VNC and moving a window around was very laggy! Couldnt figure out VGA passthrough. And as a general comment I was not happy with vanilla Debian gnome desktop. I was missing all kinds of Mint tools Im so used to going to.
Was considering usingsomething small and lightweight for dom0 with Xen. Found a distro called Alpine- they evenhad an iso that was preconfigured for Xen. Looked promising but when booted my USB keyboard didnt work and I wasnt inclined to try and find a PS2 keyboard try that. Next!
Installed Mint Debian Edition. I love Mint! Install went fine and my printer was already detected and configured. I followed powerhouse's instructions on the forum
. Worked like a charm. Was happy to see that the vncviewer is actually TightVNC and I was very impressed with it's performance. Windows move around cleanly etc. Might be fine for regular light work but with no 3d graphics leaves a litle to be desired. Worked on VGA passthrough- havent gotten it to work yet.
I tried using an old (and I mean circ 1996) pci VGA card I had laying around- an S3 Turbo 64V+ to see if I could get Linux to use it and passthrough the Radeon to Win. No luck yet. I might actually have something too old for linux? Grabbed a second Radeon card (same one) before the sale/rebate ended. Had better luck but after installing drivers in Win7 the guest rebooted and the graphics were all messed up in VNC and nothing on the video card.
Tried to do a windows reinstall and Im not sure how I messed it up. May have messed up the Xen configuration so I decided to reinstall dom0. i reinstalled dom0 with LMDE, setup Xen, and tried to bring up the existing win7 guest with no luck. Tried to boot the install iso against the existing LVM to overright with no luck. Tried to creat a new LVM to install into with no luck. Kept getting errors related to the device model. i think I messed up the soft links for the Xen folders. Powerhouse gave instructioins for Mint 13 and 14, but looks like LMDE is a mix of the two- some things are the same as Mint 13 and others Mint 14. I couldn't get it right even though I had done it before.
Last night I reformated the entire drive and reinstalled with Mint 13. This weekends project will be to get Xen set up and get VGA passthrough working.
Thinking it through- Mint 13 LTS is supported to 2017 and may be more stable as a dom0 than the rolling release LMDE. I had not looked at LMDE since it first rolled out and Ive been running Cinamon 13 since it was released. After seeing it, I really like the LMDE. I may switch over my laptop and will definatly run an LMDE VM.