Wednesday, November 9, 2011

qemu-kvm: spice

Since i'm playing around with virtualization there was always the problem of accessing my virtual machines. Usually the guests always running on my server, means i have to access the screen over a remote control protocol. Actually there are a few techniques out there.
  • vnc - very popular and stable, but sadly quite slow
  • rdp - very fast and most importantly it has copy/paste support, but limited to windows
  • xdmcp - limited to X and needs lots of bandwith
And there is this new and shiny spice. Well, actually it's not shiny. Since it's quite new, there is not even a good client. They are lot's of other pros and cons about the few above, but actually i want to talk about spice.
So, what's really good about spice? Well it's fast and it supports copy/paste (well, it should, i couldn't get it to work so far).

Another good thing is that they are also drivers for windows, means it should work on windows too. I didn't try it out on windows and won't do that for quite some time since the rdp clients are pretty stable on linux.

Anyway, on linux it was worth trying it out. It's really fast and it's also very stable even though the client is really basic. I just hope i get copy/paste working in the near future. Technically spice has much more pros. Its written from scratch and should be the future technique for interacting with virtualized systems especially based on qemu.

While i played around with spice i also decided to update my gentoo init scirpt a bit. Now it has "basic" spice support (you can enable/disable it) and i also fixed some bugs and improved the default configuration.
Just comment out VM_HAVE_SPICE="false", but be warned: vnc will be automatically turned off.
Also, to have spice support in qemu, you have to add the "spice" USE-Flag for qemu-kvm.
As client i suggest net-misc/spice-gtk. Well it's the only one i found.

Here is the download link for the scirpt: Link
And here is the link to my previous post about the script with a small howto: Link