Linux challenge: Completed and Thoughts

Coming up on my 2nd year of running Linux on my daily driver, I guess like a lot of people who took the challenge I was looking for a way to move off of Windows, but like a lot of people I still needed Windows for gaming and Adobe software.

Several years ago on the old site @Zoltan made a post about the ability to run Windows on top of Linux in a VM with hardware pass through, this post really inspired me and provided the original motivation to move to Linux, not only did this type of setup seem to provide everything I wanted but was to me a cutting edge concept that was not only functional, stable, and a robust environment but also offered the ability to run Windows in a container that the user could control which in the Win 7 days was helpful but with the advent of Win X seemed like it was going to be a necessity.

(I'm adding the link to Zoltan's original post...thanks @Grim_Reaper for reminding me of the name)

I was warned a couple times by people I trust that work in the IT industry to steer clear of Win X, this was before the free OS was offered, while the OS was a beta, this information along with Zoltan's post provided all the motivation I needed to take on the 1 year challenge.

Like most people I had very little experience with Linux, I messed around with a couple Red Hat spins back in the day, tried out KDE to check out the "cube" desktop and other eye-candy and was duly impressed...but there wasn't really much software back then, at least nothing close to today where in a lot of cases you have a 1:1 replacement for Windows software. (in most cases)

Anyway like most folks with little to no experience I started on Ubuntu, I had been running a Ubuntu server for a few months so was familiar with apt, I used a old rig I had installing Ubuntu on it and started playing with the CLI and Virtual Box, just about everything I tried worked even running Windows 7 in Virtual Box but as we all know that won't work with gaming or any software that needs direct hardware access but I had gotten my feet wet with Linux and a small dose of virtualization...time to move on.

So I started distro hoping, tried Mint, OpenSuse, Fedora, and a few others looking for a distro that had a up-to-date kernel, that wasn't a rolling release, that was suitable to run QEMU/KVM, I needed a distro that was dedicated to virtualization and finally settled on Fedora 22 which was the current Fedora version at the time.

I started to plan out the hardware I would need to build a PC that was capable of running both systems, a lot of the hardware I used I already had like the 8370 CPU and a couple R9 270 GPUs, the MB I originally planned to use turned out to be a no-go (you can read the linked post below for all the details) but the Asrock MB I bought has turned out to be a very good choice, I knew I need lots of RAM along with CPU cores and a good PSU to keep everything humming. (you can read my hardware list below)

As a stroke of luck at this same time a couple years ago another forum member created the post linked below, it is in this post that I got tons of help from members of this community to actually get a working pass through running Win 7 in a KVM, it was a impressive thing to accomplish at least in my mind, just to think about running a OS on top of another OS and that guest system not only be stable but be as usable as a bare metal was some kind of magic! lol

Today...... I'm still on Fedora (25), still doing the pass through thing but with Win X enterprise instead of Win 7 in the KVM, yeah I hated to switch to Win X, but it has become almost impossible for me to run some of the programs and games I need to use on Win 7, although none of this is related to Linux or hardware pass through, it is directly being caused by MS and software publishers moving away from Win 7 support, I'm not to happy about it but really not many options that I can see if you need a Windows environment to work or play in.

Also I am in the planning stage of my next rig which will again be built to do hardware pass through, it will either be Ryzen based or Xeon based hardware depending solely on the pricing at the time I decide to start ordering parts (end of summer), this will allow me to hand down my current rig to my wife so she can get her feet wet with Linux and virtualization of a Windows environment.

There are a lot of things coming to Fedora and Linux in general in the next 6 months to a year that are suppose to make hardware pass through much easier (almost point n' click) that I'm excited about, there is a lot of interest in this community in doing virtualization of a Windows environment and anything that makes it easier and more forgiving for the user will be welcomed by all of us.

In closing I'd like to thank this community, I could single out members that have helped me (and you all know who you are) but it's more fitting to just say Thank You! to everyone here, this is the best tech community on the net, but I will personally thank @wendell for holding on to us and providing a place we can all share ideas helping each other.

For those of you that might be interested in my hardware setup it's this....

Asrock Fatality 990FX Killer MB
AMD 8370 CPU
32g of DDR3
2 - R9 270 GPU's in crossfire for the guest system
1 - R9 270x GPU for the host system
CPU is cooled with a Corsair h100 AIO, GPU's are on air
The host system resides on a 256g SSD while the guest system resides on a 2tb WD conventional HD, there are other drives for additional storage that are conventional HDs.
The PSU is a Seasonic 1050w unit and the hardware is housed in a Thermaltake Level 10 case. (of course there is a optical drive in the mix also)

My current separation of hardware is divided like this Host system gets 2 CPU cores, 8g of RAM, the 270x, and the entire 256g of the SSD, Guest system gets 6 CPU cores, 24g of RAM, 2-270's in crossfire, and it's own 2TB HD.

I've tried several different configurations and this one seems to offer the best solution for gaming on the guest.

Yeah.....yeah, sorry it's so long and no tl;dr lol



But great read!


Great post! I've been mostly virtualizing Linux, but I've been on the edge of having a dedicated computer to Linux because I'm doing more and more development. Also, the Windows spying and bloat is really encouraging me to move on as well.
I like Windows mostly because it's familiar.


We are all in the same boat one way or another when it comes to Windows, I've use Windows since Win 3.1/DOS days so to say I'm familiar is a understatement, it is in a lot of ways a member of the family, but.....Win X has made me do the things I've done either for ease of use or personal security, if I had not been given a copy of Win X enterprise I'm not really sure I would have installed any of the home versions, I looked at Win 8.1 but if I was going that route I might as well just move on to 10.

I'm really optimistic about the up-coming changes to Fedora that Wendell alluded to in one of their videos a week or so ago, if what he is saying happens many more people will be able to switch to a host/guest system without jumping through all the hoops we currently have to jump through, not that it is that difficult to do because it really isn't hard to do a hardware pass through if you have the right hardware and enough of it to share, the actual passing through is a lot easier than it would seem if you have everything you need to do it, and it just flat out works.


I really wish i could migrate over to Linux and just run a Windows VM when i want to play those exclusives, but unfortunately there's no native support for my HTC Vive on linux and i'm not entirely sure how well a Vive will cooperate with virtualized Windows, it barely cooperates on bare metal.

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The original post made by Zoltan is called "What if I want Everything"

but ...Fedora is rolling release. Which is the reason why I'm not planning to use it on my desktop because I don't want to re-install every 6 months.

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It's not rolling release.. But why would you need to reinstall every 6 months? Just upgrade when you need to. (its two commands, or one button push)


Let's be honest here... what nerd doesn't reinstall their OS a couple times a month anyway?

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Like @Eden said it's not a rolling release "rawhide" is the Fedora rolling release, actually I update weekly at the moment because so many things are in a update process right now like QEMU, I also have a issue with Firefox crashing that I'm hoping will be fixed in a up-coming update.

But updating is so easy today compared to just a year or so ago, I still have a box running Fedora 23 that is on 24-7 that I just don't see the need to update given it's role on the network, the only thing about not updating is that if you go too long you will find you will have to in some cases do a clean install because everything is so out of date or behind.

Ok, I thought it was rolling release because of how frequently updates were released. Also don't they stop the support for version 1 when new version is released? Which is every 6 months.

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A release is kinda the opposite definition of rolling. They do have rawhide (it actually is rolling) but its not really meant for day to day use as it can break.

They support a release usually for a year and a bit (effectively through 2 releases), since the last release or so upgrading is effectively painless, and since 25 proper, upgrading can be done through the software centre as well.

I heard the upgrade process always breaks something. Although the guy who told me this was using Mint.

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In theory....and in my experience Windows based programs run just as they would on a bare metal install of Windows, to be honest the guest OS really has little to no clue it's not on bare metal so software running on top of that guest OS really doesn't know or care, of course there are cases where drivers like Nvidia's look for virtualization but I've never had a game, program, or device that has refused to work in a guest OS (except Nvidia GPU drivers which can be fixed or fooled into working)

Old news. You usually find that when you add unsupported repos to your distro (its true for most). Stick to the main ones, wait a week if they arent all upgraded then upgrade.

Well, and that's the thing. Jumping through the hoops is what scares me. However, your post has shown me that Linux has come a long way.
I think I need to grab a computer and just make the leap. I don't see any other way that I'll be able to learn.

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Yup.....and remember there are a lot of us here on the forum that will help you all you have to do is ask.

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