Desktop Virtualization using SPICE

date: 2023-01-10

Progressing with Proxmox

I learned quite a bit more today. Primarliy through a video on the subject by DJ Ware. I archived the video on our peertube server:

Video: Desktop Virtualization using SPICE on Linux

DJ Ware gives a great overview and I was using the SPICE virt-viewer minutes after watching his video. I have more to do to optimize, but it was easy to get started.

The features I need, with performance

The SPICE client is better than the browser-based noVNC viewer. For one, all the key strokes apply to the VM being viewed, not the machine you are viewing it from. When using noVNC with the browser, when I pressed the super key it opened my local start menu, not the start menu of the VM. With the SPICE viewer, it works properly.

This will be important when testing window managers that are primarily controlled with keyboard hotkeys.

The performance is also noticably snappier with the SPICE virt-viewer than with noVNC to view the same virtual machine. The performance was decend even viewing from my fairly weak Acer corebootbook (formerly a Chromebook) laptop over wifi. I plan to mostly use it on my desktop workstation, though.

Install the viewer

To install on Devuan, Debian or Ubuntu, it's just two packages (with a whole lot of dependencies that come with them):

apt install qemu-kvm virt-viewer

To view, just click on the "Console" drop down menu in Proxmox for a VM and choose "SPICE". It will download a file that defines the connection, which you then open with virt-viewer. It is amazingly fast, almost instantly connecting the visual output of the vm from my Proxmox server to whatever computer I am viewing it from.

If I set up port forwarding so Proxmox is available outside my network, I should be able to do the same thing from anywhere I have an internet connection. Haven't tested that yet, though.

More info on SPICE:

Already planning videos

I am already thinking of ways to use this to make more tech videos. I can envision how this can increase my rate of learning, as I can have dozens (or even hundreds) of different Linux and Unix virtualized computers ready for me to use at a moment's notice from whatever computer I am currently using.

I have over 2TB of SSD storage on the proxmox server, so it'll be a while before I have to remove anything to free up space.

This is going to be fun!

tags: #virtualization #proxmox #spice