Why run Windows on Linux?

I’ve written several tutorials on “how to make dual-boot obsolete using VGA passthrough“, yet one may ask why run Windows on Linux? Most PC or laptop come pre-installed with Windows, in fact its rare to see computers pre-installed with Linux. So why not just leave Windows and install Linux in a virtual machine (VM), for example using Oracle VirtualBox?

Installing Linux in a VirtualBox VM is definitely a lot easier than following my tutorials on VGA passthrough. Not only that, most computer users who want or need to use both Windows and Linux will find that this simple solution is all they need.

Continue reading “Why run Windows on Linux?”

Virtual Machines on UserBenchmark

For some years I have encouraged benchmarking of Windows virtual machines (VM), to help users fine-tune the configuration and to get a general idea of how efficient virtualisation with Xen or KVM actually is. My benchmarks – posted under the username “powerhouse” – and those of other users can be found on the Linux Mint forum under Post your Passmark results of your Windows VM and UserBenchmark – post your results. When reviewing some of my benchmarks on the UserBenchmark website, it occurred to me that the information on that website can be put to  practical use.

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Developments in Virtualization

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 virtualise 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, and an ever increasing number of followers. It seems to me this technology or concept is gaining momentum, at least among Linux users.

Continue reading “Developments in Virtualization”

Linux Security Part 2

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. Continue reading “Linux Security Part 2”

Monitoring Hard Drives Using Smartmontools

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:

smartmontools
Smartmontools notify: Hard Disk Health Warning

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Linux Security

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? Continue reading “Linux Security”

Why Linux

Most PC users will be 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? Continue reading “Why Linux”

IOMMU Groups – What You Need to Consider

Summary

In this post I present some of the challenges you might face with IOMMU and provide tools to identify and perhaps solve the issues.

What is IOMMU and why do I need it?

In my tutorial on how to run Windows 10 on Linux using KVM with VGA Passthrough the first and most important hardware requirement is the support for IOMMU – VT-d in Intel jargon, AMD-v or SVM in AMD talk. But what does IOMMU support mean? Continue reading “IOMMU Groups – What You Need to Consider”

Running Windows 10 on Linux using KVM with VGA Passthrough

The Need

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 that you can’t get from VirtualBox or similar virtualization solutions. 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 virtualized systems are indistinguishable from non-virtualized systems. This allows us to create virtual machines on a Linux host platform without compromising performance of the (Windows) guest system. Continue reading “Running Windows 10 on Linux using KVM with VGA Passthrough”