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Re: [Qemu-devel] What can qemu do that vmware/virtual pc can't...article

From: Oliver Gerlich
Subject: Re: [Qemu-devel] What can qemu do that vmware/virtual pc can't...article idea
Date: Fri, 28 Jul 2006 16:49:46 +0200
User-agent: Mozilla Thunderbird 1.0.6-1.4.1 (X11/20051026)

Udo 'Robos' Puetz wrote:
Hi List.
I'm in contact with one of the writers for the german (large) computer
magazine c't (computer and technology) defending qemu (he neglected some
features qemu has in one of his articles). Now he asks me for an article
about what the "average user" would benefit from when he would use qemu instead
of virtual pc/vmware (their "free" products, like player, ESX ...). The
examples I named up to now where
qemu -nographic -hda linux.img -kernel linux-
-append "console=ttyS0
root=/dev/hda ide2=noprobe ide3=noprobe ide4=noprobe ide5=noprobe" -hdb
doing a little linux kernel driver development learning this way. (Good free pdf over at oreilly)
Also, when testing OCFS2 (Oracle cluster fs 2) and not having a SAN/iSCSI
system at hand I tried this:
qemu -hda breezy.img -hdb ocsf2.img
mounting that image once
qemu -hda breezy.img -hdb ocsf2.img
and now mounting it again in a second instance of qemu with slightly
different network setup. That works with qemu, vmware desktop wouldn't take the image a second time.
Also, a demonstration LiveCD could be made to boot on a system but also to
be played with qemu/qvm86 under win and linux (kqemu can't be re-distributed).
There would be statically built qemu's on the CD with bat/bash skripts to
start them (automatically).
Also, qemu can run happily on the server awaiting connects via vnc. But some
of the free products can do that too.

Soo, do you have any more ideas what qemu can what the (free) alternatives
from M$/VMWare can't?
Virtual PC can't handle USB _at_all_, what's the status of USB2.0 with qemu
( I think VMWare is still stuck on USB 1.1 )?
VMWare Desktop (not free) has "unlimited" snapshots IIRC, ESX just recently
got one snapshot functionality.

I can't say if I would do the article or the writer for the magazine but at
least it would make qemu more visible to (more technical inclined) people ->
good in my eyes.
Thanks for your suggestions

Maybe qemu is not of so much use for the desktop user, but has its strength more in the direction of a generic "computer emulator" platform where other projects can build upon (see Argos or Free Live OS Zoo). I'm not sure if Qemu really can compete with VMWare for a desktop virtualization software.

In my opinion the big advantage of Qemu is that it's open source. That makes it possible to use it as a basis for other projects; that also makes it possible to build the Live CD you mentioned. Another point is that an open source software is more likely to be shipped with Linux distros (OTOH VMPlayer is already available in some Ubuntu package repository, so this depends more on the distro maintainers). And if one wants to have a reliable platform to run legacy applications, an open source software has the advantage that you're not dependent on some company that might not exist in twenty years. Another point is the support of many host and guest platforms. But I think all this doesn't really help the desktop user.

What I think is quite nice is the USB tablet emulation. At least VMware requires that the VMWare tools are installed for mouse switching between host and guest. It's quite astounding that in Qemu this works (at least with Windows guest) without installing additional software.

So, IMHO you shouldn't try to praise Qemu as an end-user desktop virtualization software; presenting it to more technical users seems like a better idea.


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