View Full Version : Anyone had luck with spice and linux guests?

12th November 2011, 04:37 PM
Hi folks. I just had a look around and it seems not many people are using spice.

I've got spice set up on 5 virtual machines in Virt-manager so far, on Ubuntu 11.10 x64.

I used packages from here:

Using windows XP and Win7 everything is fine and dandy with the latest windows QXL driver. I could definately make more use of it if it had directdraw capability though as some of the Apps I use like XBMC don't play nice without it.

On my linux VM's; Ubuntu 64, Fedora x64, and Sabayon, I've had a heck of a time with the QXL/xorg driver. There are currently no packages anywhere on the net for installing xf86-video-qxl-0.0.16, so it's necessary to compile from source, which is something that is just beyond me at this point. I keep getting messages while trying to configure the source that have me completely bamboozled.:C

I found however that Sabayon linux (based off of Gentoo) compiles source packages all by it's clever little self, which worked wonderfully. None the less the driver is useless and performance has not improved at all since installing xf86-video-qxl-0.0.16 and the spice agent... :(

There isn't any support section by the looks of things on the spice space website, so I'm left to wonder : To spice, or not to spice? That is the question.
Looks to me like spice is not ready, and perhaps not intended for use by us cretins.:confused: Or maybe there's just something simple I'm missing...

Anybody had any joy with spice on linux guests? I'd love to hear how you did it.

12th November 2011, 08:37 PM
Yes. Using F16. Haven't had to do anything at all unusual, just create and use VMs as usual. Spice gets used, with no problems.

12th November 2011, 08:37 PM
I haven't run any non-Fedora guests, note. But F14, F15, F16 all work fine.

12th November 2011, 10:44 PM
Check to see that you configured your guest properly to use spice.

You may have to configure the guest, in virt-manager or virsh or however you use KVM, to use the spice video driver.

Other then that, I find spice works well, I have problems getting the vdagent working outside of Fedora.

15th November 2011, 11:26 AM
Hmm well so far not too badly with Fedora 16 host and geust. I've been running XBMC over and over and it runs a lot faster than it did when hosted on my Kubuntu 11.10 host. Possibly that would be due to my using unofficial packages to get spice going on ubuntu. As the versions of KVM in ubuntu have no spice support.

Kubuntu 11.10 and Sabayon guests aren't faring so well. I still have no sign of qxl accelleration on Sabayon with the latest qxl driver installed. I haven't installed the spice agent on there yet though so I might see if I can do that too.

The Kubuntu guest on the other hand is doing the same thing it did before. It reaches the logon screen and when you enter your password and hit login it goes into a loop of loading the session and stops short of actually logging in. I have the issue a ctrl+alt+F2 & ctrl;+alt+del to get it to reboot.
I tried the 'safe login' option and that exhibits the same behavior, but when I log in with XBMC, it loads properly, but performance is quite slow when compared with Fedora 16.

Neither Fedora 16 or Ubuntu provide what I need from XBMC for my media center though. On fedora the virtual machine fequently crashes while playing back video in XBMC and also there is quite horrid visual tearing, as well as occasional banding that sticks on the screen until I quit the spice client and reconnect. Changing certain settings such as interlacing seem to trigger crashes also. Responsiveness is not great compared to regular desktop usage, but is usable.
On Ubuntu, it's way to slow to be usable. But on the plus side, there's no visual tearing.

I'm currently installing Gnome on ubuntu to see if things are any better there. There's a lot of updates for fedora too, so there's a chance maybe that will re-jig something and make it work better. Probably not though.

Is anyone else experiencing frequent crashes on Fedora guests? Is it triggered by video playback? Any visual choppiness? I still find it ironic that it's been this hard getting spice to work with linux, as on windows it was dead easy only there's no way to run XBMC due to the lack of directdraw/directx.

16th November 2011, 01:12 AM
Have you tried reporting the crashes using abrt to see what happens?

My guests don't crash, no. virt-manager itself is somewhat fragile lately, though. Don't have visual choppiness either, but it doesn't exactly surprise me if you have issues trying to play presumably highish-def videos with XBMC in a VM - that doesn't sound like the kind of thing the devs would have really tried. Probably worth reporting a bug or two to see if you can get it improved.

22nd November 2011, 04:18 AM
Thanks Adam, I will try reporting a bug.
As far as crashes go there's certain things that will trip spice up. In XBMC if you fiddle with the interlacing settings it's a guaranteed crash.

Testing video playback on linux guests so far, it seems the problem is that video playback over spice is inefficient compared to playback on windows guests.
When I play back a 720p video on linux at 800x600 full screen playback is fine. If I jack the resolution up to 1600x900 playback starts to faulter because the network throughput has jumped from about 1MB/s to 7-8MB/s and is pushing my crappy network card.
On windows geusts however I can get 1MB/s at 800x600 and 2MB/s at 1600x900...
There also seems to be idiosyncratic glitchyness with playback on both windows and linux. For example playback in windows media player doesn't seem to work as well in general as in VLC, however in windows VLC often exibits a strange hatching patern over the video. On linux I didn't get the same problem with VLC.
XBMC also works ok at low resolution, but there's still visual tearing while playing video, which makes it unwatchable compared to playing video in dragon player, or vlc.

It also seems that KDE doesn't play nice with SPICE... You can't use KDE at all in Ubuntu 11.10 guests and it doesn't work as well as Gnome 3 on Fedora.
So basically it seems there's just a lot of kinks that need to be worked out before I can use spice for playing back videos reliably. None the less it's pleasing to see an open source solution to network virtualisation. It's just disappointing for me that I don't have a practical application for it that doesn't rely on video playback :(

On the plus side for Fedora, I just noticed that window dragging is slightly more network efficient than it is on windows, by about 10-20KB/s... not sure why.