OpenBSD and virtualization - BSD

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Long time nixers

I see quite a few OpenBSD users on this forum. So here's a question for you guys. :)

I read that OpenBSD is a pretty bad choice as a virtualization host. Theo has made himself pretty clear on that topic [1]. So, something like KVM on Linux does not exist on OpenBSD and probably never will.

How do you deal with that? What do you do if you absolutely must, say, run a Windows program? Am I missing something here or do you simply not use any virtualization?



PS.: Sure, I could just install OpenBSD and try it myself. Problem is, my time and resources are somewhat limited these days. :(
Long time nixers
I've never really seen anyone using OpenBSD here who ever needed to run a Windows program. The only closest thing you can do similar to virtualization is using compat_linux(8) to run Linux programs, however it's only for i386.
~Seraphim R.P.
the artistnixer formerly known as vypr formerly known as sticky
Long time nixers
QEMU is in the package repository and that is what I use for all my virtualization needs. However those needs are rather small. Running windows as a guest is going to be extremely difficult task, but is probably possible. I myself just virtualize Plan 9 and now 9front using QEMU. That alone is pretty difficult.

So yeah, your best bet is QEMU, which isn't the nicest option. It's the only one though.
Long time nixers
Thanks! That's, kind of, what I was afraid of.

Can you give me a little more background information on why it'd be difficult to run Windows using QEMU on OpenBSD? I'm asking because it's a no-brainer on Linux (but I somewhat guess that this is not relevant here). It's not particularly fast without KVM, but it's usable.
Long time nixers
QEMU is a very extensible and flexible hypervisor that has tons of configuration options. You can re route TCP/IP ports on your virtual NIC, customize and optimize your virtual GPU, and allow passthrough to many host hardware devices.

As a result, it may be difficult to find the proper QEMU configuration to accommodate the Windows operating system. Again, I'm not saying its impossible, I'm sure it is possible. You just might have a hefty number of flags set when you launch qemu from your terminal :).

I myself have a couple scripts I just execute for each of my VMs so that I don't need to type all the "-net user -device nic type=virtio,redir 55505::5035 blah blah blah" whenever I want to launch a machine.

In general, QEMU is more difficult in comparison to other solutions such as Virtualbox or VMWare in that, you cant just make a VDI, put an ISO on it, and expect everything to work. You need to specify devices and options. The QEMU documentation is your best bet. It is very extensive and explains EVERYTHING, but it'll probably be your answer.
Long time nixers
Ah, I see. I'm familiar with QEMU usage, so that shouldn't be a problem.

I was afraid that running a Windows VM would be similar to running MacOS on QEMU: -- I've never went through with that, but it sure sounds like a bit of work.

Well, okay then. So QEMU is indeed an option. Nice. I'll give it a try as soon as possible. :)

Thanks again!
hypervisor was recently announced by Theo!!