Virtualization Posts

Synergy Server on Arch Linux

Synergy on Arch Linux logo

Synergy is a mouse and keyboard sharing application. It uses the server-client model to allow virtual sharing of physical keyboard and mouse over the network. While it is not as reliable as a USB switch or KVM hardware. While it is not free a trial version can work indefinitely offering most features the paid version offers. It can work seamlessly across Windows, Linux and Mac which makes it an option to use with GPU Passthrough on Arch Linux.

GPU Passthrough with QEMU on Arch Linux

QEMU Arch Linux logo

GPU passthrough allows native graphics performance in the virtual machine which opens up new possibilities. One major use case is virtualized gaming as well as hardware acceleration for certain applications like Adobe Creative Suite. Steam In-Home Streaming opens up some odd but functional configurations by leveraging the VM to stream to clients on a local network. A major advantage of running Steam in a VM is that it does not prevent the use of the host system while streaming. In practice this could mean that two different users could simultaneously make use of the same system.

MusicBrainz VM Server under QEMU on Arch Linux

MusicBrainz Server logo

MusicBrainz database is used by many applications such as Headphones or MusizBrainz Picard. The one major issue with the database is that the official service is slow and often unavailable while mirrors are either paid or unreliable long term. The server can be installed from scratch locally but is quite tedious which is why it is easier to run the server as a virtual machine. It is not as efficient as the entire OS will have to run in the background but it much easier to setup. Virtual Box can be used to run the VM without any changes but there is no need to run multiple Virtual Machine Managers so in this case QEMU is used.

Install VFIO Kernel on Arch Linux

Arch Linux logo

VFIO kernel is used to easily apply kernel patches to workaround certain hardware limitations relating to virtualization and hardware passthrough suc as when setting up GPU Passthrough with QEMU. Among others VFIO kernel applies i915 VGA arbiter and ACS override patches. The patches al need to be enabled by adding parameters to the boot loader. The custom kernel comes in stable or LTS varieties.