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Last post Author Topic: *NIX: Relatively Minimal Host OS for VirtualBox Use  (Read 24648 times)

40hz

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Re: *NIX: Relatively Minimal Host OS for VirtualBox Use
« Reply #50 on: May 25, 2014, 06:09:50 AM »
When was the last time you tried?  I think I originally tried Gentoo 7 or 8 years ago (remember stage 1 and 2?) with much less powerful hardware and this time around it definitely felt much easier.

According to my logbook I go back to the summer of 2003 with Gentoo when I did my first install of it. And I did do a stage-1 install apparently. And no, I don't remember it all that much - but I have about 75 pages worth of notes on it from when I did! ;D

I do recall it was really interesting. But from the number of times I wrote "bloody hell!" in my notes, I apparently didn't consider it "fun" in the usual sense of the word. I remember how annoying it was since I had been using Linux for quite a while before Gentoo came out. (My first Linux foray was Slackware, which I installed for the first time in late-93/early-94 - at which point I decided this Nix stuff was for me! Been hooked ever since.) Gentoo was like starting over.

Every so often I think about trying Gentoo again. But like the dog up above, my very next thought is "what for?" So many distros...so little time y'know? And my main areas of interest don't revolve around the standard desktop environment anyway.

Arch I do like and will continue to use because it's so easy to craft a custom environment owing to how very little it assumes - or does for you.

Gentoo is interesting, and I applaud them for doing something different. And I really like what they did with portage. Borrowing from ports was a smart move on their part. I only wish that had become the dominant installation method for Linux software. Arch apparently felt that way too when they designed pacman. Portage certainly would have save a huge amount of grief in the early days - although those installation hassles are almost completely a thing of the past with today's maintainers and repositories.

The apt/yum/RPM triad works well enough. I'm less happy with the app store and ppa approaches introduced by Ubuntu that some other distros are now starting to look at. But since I'm not about to do my own fork, I guess I can learn to live and work with it. Especially since I built a career on learning to live and work with whatever Microsoft doles out. When in Rome..."think toga" as the saying goes.

 :)
« Last Edit: May 25, 2014, 06:29:51 AM by 40hz »

ewemoa

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Re: *NIX: Relatively Minimal Host OS for VirtualBox Use
« Reply #51 on: May 25, 2014, 09:31:01 AM »
Every so often I think about trying Gentoo again. But like the dog up above, my very next thought is "what for?"

I thought so too the last time I considered Gentoo -- but the recent turn of events with systemd finally convinced me that I'd better try again.

I didn't know about their overlay system until this time around, and I'm finding it to my liking.  I much prefer it to AUR which feels more like its existence is "tolerated".

I didn't get the hang of USE flags before, but it's starting to make more sense.

Perhaps I'll have Funtoo to look forward to before long ;)  (On a side note, if only Nixos hadn't gone the systemd way...a shame.)

Quote
Especially since I built a career on learning to live and work with whatever Microsoft doles out. When in Rome..."think toga" as the saying goes.

You will survive I reckon :)

40hz

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Re: *NIX: Relatively Minimal Host OS for VirtualBox Use
« Reply #52 on: May 25, 2014, 02:11:54 PM »
I didn't know about their overlay system until this time around, and I'm finding it to my liking.

Wasn't aware of it either. Just looked it up and it appears to be a pretty smart way to do things. But Gentoo always was a little smarter about that sort of thing than most, wasn't it? Bloody! Now I'm getting the G-bug again. Why oh why did I have to read that? Why??? :-\

Quote
I didn't get the hang of USE flags before, but it's starting to make more sense.

USE. It's a lovely thing. But not all that essential to the average deployment. For desktops, it makes less sense since you'd need to check the dependencies of each app you'd want to install, either with emerge or run that package query utility (I forget what they tool use to do that) if you deviate from the default set of 'includes' as I tend to think of them. And since you'll be adding apps from time to time it's probably best to just accept the default USE statement which handles almost anything a desktop user would need to have available.

For crafting bespoke servers or appliances however, USE flags are the bees knees! :greenclp: Maybe even a little bit sexier(?) :mrgreen: a way to do it than building your server up from zero as you (mostly) would with Arch. Great for security - but without the challenges of using OpenBSD  :stars:- or the headaches of modding your kernal with Selinux. :wallbash:

At least that's how I see it.

P.S. I'm downloading the amd64-minimal ISO as we speak. I need this?  (Like I said earlier: Bloody! >:( )

goagain2.jpg
« Last Edit: May 25, 2014, 02:19:04 PM by 40hz »

ewemoa

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Re: *NIX: Relatively Minimal Host OS for VirtualBox Use
« Reply #53 on: May 25, 2014, 09:55:38 PM »
He he -- wishing you the best this time around :Thmbsup:



BTW, here are some handy things I picked up this time around (but perhaps they are already familiar...):

  • app-misc/pfl - Searchable online file/package database for gentoo -- provides e-file command -- can be helpful for determining which file a package is in (whether the package is installed or not)
  • app-portage/ufed - Gentoo Linux USE flags editor -- provides curses-based ufed command
  • app-portage/eix - Search and query ebuilds, portage incl. local settings, ext. overlays, version changes, and more -- specifically eix-sync may be of interest

40hz

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Re: *NIX: Relatively Minimal Host OS for VirtualBox Use
« Reply #54 on: May 26, 2014, 07:44:49 AM »
(but perhaps they are already familiar...):


Nothing is familiar because it's been so long  ;D - so thanks for that info.  :Thmbsup:

Oh yeah, that utility for dependency checking I was trying to remember earlier is called equery. It's part of gentoolkit.

Quote
user $ equery

Gentoo package query tool
Usage: equery [global-options] module-name [module-options]

modules (short name)
 (b)elongs               list what package FILES belong to
 (c)hanges               list changelog entries for ATOM
 chec(k)                 verify checksums and timestamps for PKG
 (d)epends               list all packages directly depending on ATOM
 dep(g)raph              display a tree of all dependencies for PKG
 (f)iles                 list all files installed by PKG
 h(a)s                   list all packages for matching ENVIRONMENT data stored in /var/db/pkg
 (h)asuse                list all packages that have USE flag
 ke(y)words              display keywords for specified PKG
 (l)ist                  list package matching PKG
 (m)eta                  display metadata about PKG
 (s)ize                  display total size of all files owned by PKG
 (u)ses                  display USE flags for PKG
 (w)hich                 print full path to ebuild for PKG

 8)

ewemoa

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Re: *NIX: Relatively Minimal Host OS for VirtualBox Use
« Reply #55 on: May 26, 2014, 08:03:31 AM »
Oh yeah, that utility for dependency checking I was trying to remember earlier is called equery. It's part of gentoolkit.

I've been using the list and files modules for equery but didn't know about the others.  Thanks!

40hz

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Re: *NIX: Relatively Minimal Host OS for VirtualBox Use
« Reply #56 on: May 26, 2014, 06:23:32 PM »
Chunking through Gentoo's 100-page handbook. My how this distro has matured since the last time I looked at it! Some really nice stuff going down in their camp - including OpenRC and not systemd. That's enough to make me perk up since I always like to hedge my bet with Linux.

This is good stuff...

gettinreligion.jpg

Yup! I definitely feel a stage-3 coming on... 8)

ewemoa

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Re: *NIX: Relatively Minimal Host OS for VirtualBox Use
« Reply #57 on: May 26, 2014, 07:41:46 PM »
including OpenRC and not systemd

:Thmbsup:

40hz

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Re: *NIX: Relatively Minimal Host OS for VirtualBox Use
« Reply #58 on: May 28, 2014, 12:01:11 PM »
@ewemoa - Ok...just spent a few days messing with Gentoo and not doing a bunch of other stuff I should have been doing... ;D

Couple of things:

On a new PC with a fast chip and plenty of RAM, it installs, sets up, and runs beautifully.

Docs are very well done. Anybody with some Linux experience should have no trouble following or understanding what's being said. In the event you don't understand something, just a few minutes playing with the feature or command in question is enough to get you over the hump.

However, after a short while, all the conclusions I formed (and forgot) years ago about why Gentoo isn't (and won't ever become) a mainstream approach to 'doing Linux' came flooding back to me. In a nutshell: It's a learning or 'science-faire' distro. Great for learning about how things actually work; great for examining some genuinely unique ideas for how to do a distro; great for producing a sleek one-off installation for personal use. But lousy for mass deployment, or in an institutional setting. Because its "compile as needed" design is too time consuming, and its rolling release model is a potential support quagmire once you go beyond your own personal machine. For multiple desktops, it would be a challenge. For production servers, it would be a nightmare - and likely a career threatening environment to be in as well.

So...I'm removing "Genny" from my main test machine and repurposing the drive it's currently installed on.

But...I have a spare 32-bit Compaq laptop with a 20Gb hard drive in it that's gathering dust in the closet. In the next day or two, it will become a newly fledged Gentoo bird. Why? Because Gentoo is so damn much fun to ditz around with! Maybe I still don't have any practical use for Gentoo. But I am having a huge amount of fun with it.

And that's more than I can say for most of what I'm using.

hallelujah.jpg

Reason enough to keep it, I'd say. :Thmbsup:


ewemoa

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Re: *NIX: Relatively Minimal Host OS for VirtualBox Use
« Reply #59 on: May 30, 2014, 06:21:21 AM »
Because its "compile as needed" design is too time consuming,

I felt this during the process of setting the machine up initially -- but not so much on a day-to-day basis now.

Quote
and its rolling release model is a potential support quagmire once you go beyond your own personal machine. For multiple desktops, it would be a challenge. For production servers, it would be a nightmare - and likely a career threatening environment to be in as well.

It certainly is more work to compile for each machine -- I don't know what Sabayon did, but IIUC they are based on Gentoo and have binary packages...may be they decided to choose some default USE flags?



BTW, I'm going to try using that nearly-bare-Debian-with-VirtualBox set up as my host OS and install Gentoo Prefix for additional software (perhaps I'll also try Nix and/or Guix).

ewemoa

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Re: *NIX: Relatively Minimal Host OS for VirtualBox Use
« Reply #60 on: May 31, 2014, 01:01:13 AM »
BTW, I'm going to try using that nearly-bare-Debian-with-VirtualBox set up as my host OS and install Gentoo Prefix for additional software (perhaps I'll also try Nix and/or Guix).

I was informed on the #gentoo-prefix channel that Debian is not currently supported :(  But rumor has it that this might start working at some point in the future...

In the mean time had some success installing the Nix package manager.  One benefit of having this on the somewhat minimal system is that packages for the purpose of running the underlying system (and providing VM support) can be kept separate from other things (such as web browsers, video players, etc.).

ewemoa

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Re: *NIX: Relatively Minimal Host OS for VirtualBox Use
« Reply #61 on: June 02, 2014, 03:59:45 AM »
On a related note, I had luck installing and running VirtualBox via the live media for Linux Mint 17 Cinammon -- now if they'd just bundle it or make remastering more practical again...
« Last Edit: June 02, 2014, 05:38:39 AM by ewemoa »

40hz

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Re: *NIX: Relatively Minimal Host OS for VirtualBox Use
« Reply #62 on: June 02, 2014, 09:13:53 AM »
or make remastering more practical again...

Last I heard mintconstructor still works. You can find copies too if you Google. Haven't tried it with 17 (or 16 if truth be told) so I don't know if it is still reliable, I wouldn't put it past them to change some tiny detail in Qiana so it didn't. Clement was pretty miffed to begin with. And the brat-slap he got back from the larger Mint community about yanking mintconstructor did little to dispel his mood.

ewemoa

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Re: *NIX: Relatively Minimal Host OS for VirtualBox Use
« Reply #63 on: June 02, 2014, 09:19:10 PM »
Thanks for the info about mintconstructor.

I'm currently trying to create a custom version of SystemRescueCD, but it's a fair bit more involved than what I'll want to do on an ongoing basis.  There appears to be support for a backingstore though:

  http://www.sysresccd.org/news/2008/06/29/creating-a-backing-store-to-keep-your-modifications-in-sysresccd/

Hmm...may be I should look for something like that for LM...I end up using USB memory of some sort anyway for speed reasons...

Looks like there is:

  http://tuxtweaks.com/2014/03/create-linux-mint-persistent-live-usb/

40hz

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Re: *NIX: Relatively Minimal Host OS for VirtualBox Use
« Reply #64 on: June 02, 2014, 09:32:52 PM »
I've heard from some that Ubu's remastering tool (UCK) works just fine with Mint.

Don't know how true that is - or how well it does if it does. Here's the most recent how-to I could find for Ubuntu remastering in case you want to take a look.

 8)

ewemoa

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Re: *NIX: Relatively Minimal Host OS for VirtualBox Use
« Reply #65 on: June 04, 2014, 01:19:21 AM »
I've heard from some that Ubu's remastering tool (UCK) works just fine with Mint.

Thanks!  I'll give the GUI (looks like uck-gui) a try -- may be if I run into problems the HOWTO you mentioned will come in handy.



The following helped to give an overall sense of the process involved in using UCK:

  http://www.linux.com/learn/tutorials/739139-roll-your-own-customized-ubuntu-with-uck
  http://www.geekyprojects.com/ubuntu/build-your-own-custom-ubuntu-livecd/

It looks like Ubuntu's version of tasksel has a "Virtual Machine Host" option -- I just compared the sources of Debian's (version 3.14.1) and Ubuntu's (2.73ubuntu26), and I don't see such an option in the former.  Anyone tried this?

I didn't try it, but rather:

  • chose "run console application" when prompted
  • used apt-get to install virtualbox (and virtualbox-dkms and other recommended packages)
  • added the mint user to the vboxusers and vboxsf groups (used vigr and vigr -s for this)
  • exited the terminal
  • continued with the rest of the outlined steps

I then worked on transferring the iso to an appropriate location.
« Last Edit: June 04, 2014, 04:11:34 AM by ewemoa »

ewemoa

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Re: *NIX: Relatively Minimal Host OS for VirtualBox Use
« Reply #66 on: June 04, 2014, 03:10:32 AM »
In the process of transferring the customized media to SDHC -- hope to boot from it soon.



On a side note, tried the persistence feature of LM (Ubuntu actually I guess) to add VirtualBox, but may be it was because of the USB set up I have...it worked but was intolerably slow...For reference, below are the instructions I adapted:

  http://tuxtweaks.com/2014/03/create-linux-mint-persistent-live-usb/



Booted customized "CD" (> 1 GB, USB media) ok, and had some success with running VirtualBox.  ATM, speed seems better than when using LM + persistence.

BTW, as part of the customization, I chose to delete some "Windows" related stuff -- the resulting iso is about 150 MB smaller than the original iso ;)  May be if I work at removing other things I can fit the result on a CD...
« Last Edit: June 04, 2014, 04:14:09 AM by ewemoa »

ewemoa

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Re: *NIX: Relatively Minimal Host OS for VirtualBox Use
« Reply #67 on: July 18, 2014, 07:26:24 PM »
Have since put together a "relatively minimal VirtualBox host" setup using NixOS.

The installation process goes something like:

  • Boot from live media
  • Log in as root
  • Partition disk
  • Mount the root partition
  • Create a file describing the desired system result (e.g. install VirtualBox, disable IPv6, etc.)
  • Run a command that builds a system based on the description from the previous step
  • Reboot

Except for the specifics of the description, details can be found at:

  http://nixos.org/nixos/manual/#sec-installation

NixOS still has some rough spots for sure, but it seems quite promising.



Attached should be a gzipped tarball of a sample description (the 2 files in the resulting directory should live under /mnt/etc/nixos when installing).  This is for a machine with a single storage device (sda) with 2 partitions, sda1 for root and sda2 for swap.  The setup includes XFCE and VirtualBox.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2014, 09:34:30 PM by ewemoa »

ewemoa

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Re: *NIX: Relatively Minimal Host OS for VirtualBox Use
« Reply #68 on: October 20, 2015, 08:00:33 AM »
Status update: have been using NixOS for over a year now, has been quite good, though took quite a while to get used to.

Also tried Guix -- a bit more to my liking (based on pieces of NixOS), but still has a ways to go.

Tried Manjaro again (thanks to phitsc) -- the brief experience I had with the Fluxbox 15.10 edition this time has been nice so far.

Wondering whether to try out Qubes -- this appears to be a focused effort to carry out an idea of isolating execution of programs (perhaps among other things).  Anyone else try this already?

MilesAhead

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Re: *NIX: Relatively Minimal Host OS for VirtualBox Use
« Reply #69 on: October 20, 2015, 10:43:30 AM »
Status update: have been using NixOS for over a year now, has been quite good, though took quite a while to get used to.

Also tried Guix -- a bit more to my liking (based on pieces of NixOS), but still has a ways to go.

Tried Manjaro again (thanks to phitsc) -- the brief experience I had with the Fluxbox 15.10 edition this time has been nice so far.

Wondering whether to try out Qubes -- this appears to be a focused effort to carry out an idea of isolating execution of programs (perhaps among other things).  Anyone else try this already?

I have noticed Qemu pop up here and there over the years.  Do you have any experience with it?

ewemoa

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Re: *NIX: Relatively Minimal Host OS for VirtualBox Use
« Reply #70 on: October 20, 2015, 07:49:57 PM »
I do, but not with Qemu running under Windows.

Deozaan

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Re: *NIX: Relatively Minimal Host OS for VirtualBox Use
« Reply #71 on: October 20, 2015, 09:20:41 PM »
I want to set up Xen (or similar hypervisor) and run Windows and Linux under it. How crazy am I?

Is it feasible for someone like me who needs relatively high performance for (Windows) games? Or is that not really feasible since (IIUC) Windows doesn't work with paravirtualization (PV) and needs to be installed as Full Virtualization, aka Hardware-assisted virtualization (HVM), which slows things down due to emulation?


ewemoa

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Re: *NIX: Relatively Minimal Host OS for VirtualBox Use
« Reply #72 on: October 20, 2015, 11:53:19 PM »
I've wanted to try Xen as well for some time, but some how things never quite worked out.

I don't really have good answers to your questions, but perhaps you might find Qubes to be of interest.

Deozaan

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Re: *NIX: Relatively Minimal Host OS for VirtualBox Use
« Reply #73 on: October 21, 2015, 12:35:21 AM »
This Qubes?


ewemoa

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Re: *NIX: Relatively Minimal Host OS for VirtualBox Use
« Reply #74 on: October 21, 2015, 01:14:45 AM »
Yes :)