Every day we read of new Linux distributions (GNU/Linux to be correct), and sometimes happen to want to try them “on the road”, even those who do not have a live version. The first program that comes to mind, I think, is precisely Qemu. But I also think that there is also an attempt to find a more friendly alternative. The second choice I think is VirtualBox, a Qemu-based solution that gives to you at once and without effort everything you need. But is it really necessary to use a program that adds to our Linux machine other useless processes ? For me no. Of course, to switch from Virtualbox to Qemu I think, all of these tasks should be accomplished by a graphical interface “mouse-proof” and the terminal should not be used.
You don’t believe that it’s possible ?
Programs you need:
- qemu, the main program on the command line;
- qemu-launcher, graphic interface of qemu;
- qemu-control, add-on of qemu-launcher.
(Image 1 – Qemu-launcher just started.)
In Image 2 for our purposes we note the option “Provide a control panel” must be checked and that in “Additional arguments” we need to add the qemu options, “-enable-kvm -usb”: the second options “-usb” allows us to use the USB ports, so any USB stick, while the first option “-enable-kvm” allow qemu to use the virtualization capabilities of our processor, if present. With virtualization enabled Qemu will use the resources of our PC in a near-native mode and indeed the execution speed is much faster than using a plain Qemu. It necessary, however, that this function is supported by your processor, and that is enabled in the BIOS of the motherboard and its drivers, whose names should start with “kvm”, are loaded. As last thing, check that in the tab “Launcher settings” in “Path to ‘qemuctl’” is indicated where is the add-on and that it actually exists there.
Start from the main window, which should be titled QEMU, there the operating system you are virtualizing is booting wait for the end of the start up. Insert a USB stick and select Qemu-control Connect —> USB —> renew (that is under “connect”) to recognize the existing USB devices.(Image 4)
I showed only the use of a mass storage device but the qemu-control program can do many other interesting things. It’s thanks to the existence of this add-on that I left Virtualbox because it requires in order to use USB devices a change in a file system in Linux, that when the change results in an error message unimportant but that depends on the presence of such software and not Linux.
Francesco Di Leo