Shallow Thoughts : : linux

Akkana's Musings on Open Source Computing and Technology, Science, and Nature.

Mon, 25 Apr 2022

Virt-Manager Beginner Tips

A couple of small tips on QEMU/KVM/VirtManager that I picked up while migrating my Windows 10 virtual machine from VirtualBox, for use once you get virt-manager running and migrate your VirtualBox VMs to virt-manager/QEMU:

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[ 14:33 Apr 25, 2022    More linux | permalink to this entry | ]

Sat, 16 Apr 2022

Migrating a VirtualBox Windows Virtual Machine to QEMU/KVM/virt-manager

A month ago I wrote about Getting virt-manager Running on Debian. The ultimate goal of this was to migrate my Windows 10 install from VirtualBox to QEMU, because VirtualBox is becoming increasingly difficult to install on Linux, especially on Debian, which has removed VirtualBox from Bookworm (testing) and there are indications that it might be removed from Sid (unstable) as well. I gather there's something unsavory about the license now that Oracle owns it, but I haven't been following the details.

Anyway, after getting virt-manager running, I'd been putting off the rest of the migration out of a suspicion that there lay dragons. I was right: it took several days of struggling, but I now have Windows 10 working under virt-manager and qemu/kvm. Here's how.

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[ 18:20 Apr 16, 2022    More linux | permalink to this entry | ]

Sun, 20 Mar 2022

Activate the Microphone on a Lenovo Carbon X1 Running Debian

When I bought my Carbon X1 laptop a few years ago, the sound card was new and not yet well supported by Linux. (I knew that before I bought, and decided it was a good gamble that support would improve soon.)

Early on, there was a long thread on Lenovo's forum discussing, in particular, how to get the microphone working. The key, apparently, was the SOF (Sound Open Firmware) support, which was standard in the 5.3 Linux kernel that came with Ubuntu 10.10, but needed an elaborate script to get working in earlier kernels.

It worked fine on Ubuntu. But under Debian, the built-in mic didn't work.

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[ 11:15 Mar 20, 2022    More linux/laptop | permalink to this entry | ]

Thu, 17 Feb 2022

Getting virt-manager Running on Debian

A conversation that happens every so often on a Linux chat channel:
newbie: Which is easier for virtualization, KVM/qemu or virtualbox?
enthusiast: KVM/qemu is really easy if you use virt-manager.
me: If you're running a full Gnome desktop, maybe. I've tried to use virt-manager several times, with virt-manager enthusiasts on this channel helping, and never got it going.

That happened again a few weeks ago, and one of the virt-manager enthusiasts on the channel wanted to help me track down the problems. Since I didn't have anything much going on, I agreed, and kept at it instead of giving up after the first few iterations.

It took about 45 minutes of fiddling, installing more packages, web searching on the error messages and discussing them on IRC, then fiddling some more, getting a little further with each package I installed. In the end, I did get virt-manager running.

Here's the list of packages I had to install, as well as adding myself to the groups kvm, libvirt and libvirt-qemu:

apt install virt-manager libvirt-daemon qemu qemu-kvm libvirt0 libvirt-bin virt-manager bridge-utils libvirt-daemon-system qemu-system-x86 qemu-utils dnsmasq gir1.2-spiceclientgtk-3.0

Part of the problem, apparently, is that Debian's virt-manager package isn't set up to require on all the other packages it needs to run. They might be there in the "depends" and "suggests", but I don't install those by default, since they tend to pull in all sorts of silly bloatware I'll never want. With most packages, the "requires" are all that's needed to use a package in its basic form, and "depends" and "suggests" are for optional extra features. But if you install just virt-manager without at least some of the suggested and/or recommended packages, it won't run at all.

I haven't run any real virtual machines yet under virt-manager, but I think it's working now. At least I'm to the point where I can boot from a Debian installer ISO and see the initial screen.

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[ 00:00 Feb 17, 2022    More linux | permalink to this entry | ]

Fri, 11 Feb 2022

Using a Driverless Printer on Debian (Without Avahi)

It's nice to be back on a relatively minimal Debian install, instead of Ubuntu-with-everything. But one thing that I have to admit I appreciated about Ubuntu: printing "just worked". Turn on a printer, call up the print menu in any app, and the printer I turned on would be there in the menu, without any need of struggling with CUPS configurations.

Ubuntu was using Avahi, the Linux version of Apple's Zeroconf/Bonjour framework, to discover printers. I knew that I'd probably need to install Avahi if I wanted easy printer configuration on Debian. But as it turned out, getting printing working was both harder, and easier.

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[ 18:14 Feb 11, 2022    More linux | permalink to this entry | ]

Mon, 17 Jan 2022

Setting a grub2 Boot Splash Image

For many years, I used extlinux as my boot loader to avoid having to deal with the annoying and difficult grub2. But that was on MBR machines. I never got the sense that extlinux was terribly well supported in the newer UEFI/Secure Boot world. So when I bought my current machine a few years ago, I bit the bullet and let Ubuntu's installer put grub2 on the hard drive.

One of the things I lost in that transition was a boot splash image.

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[ 19:29 Jan 17, 2022    More linux | permalink to this entry | ]

Tue, 28 Dec 2021

Grub2 on a Multi-Boot EFI System

When I bought my new laptop several years ago, I chose Ubuntu as its first distro even though I usually run Debian. For one thing, Ubuntu has an excellent installer. Second, they seem to do more testing on cutting-edge hardware, so I thought the chances were better that hardware on a brand-new laptop would be supported.

Ubuntu has been working fine for a couple of years, but with 21.10 ("Impish Indri") it took a precipitous downturn.

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[ 19:53 Dec 28, 2021    More linux | permalink to this entry | ]

Fri, 26 Nov 2021

Insert HTML Tags in Emacs

Emacs has various options for editing HTML, none of them especially good. I gave up on html-mode a while back because it had so many evil tendencies, like not ever letting you type a double dash without reformatting several lines around the current line as an HTML comment. I'm using web-mode now, which is better.

But there was one nice thing that html-mode had: quick key bindings for inserting tags. For instance, C-c i would insert the tag for italics, <i></i>, and if you had something selected it would make that italic: <i>whatever you had selected</i>.

It's a nice idea, but it was too smart (for some value of "smart" that means "dumb and annoying") for its own good. For instance, it loves to randomly insert things like newlines in places where they don't make any sense.

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[ 19:07 Nov 26, 2021    More linux/editors | permalink to this entry | ]