Feeds

Rebuilding my home PC for Linux and Windows: What works best?

This commentard needs your input

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Readers' corner We return from our regular trawl of El Reg Forums with this nugget from Bronek Kozicki, who is rebuilding his home PC "for serious use". He wants your advice on which combo of Linux distro and virtual machine would work best.

The time is slowly approaching for me to rebuild my home PC, Bronek writes. Since I've been using Linux at work for the past few years (ssh only, and happy with it), I want my new machine to be running Linux as a host system, and Windows on top of it. Not full migration because I've invested good money into software which is Windows only, also want to play games (which aren't ported to Linux yet). Also I find Windows GUI more ... attractive than Linux windows managers.

Pretty standard so far. What's different:

  • I want to use PCI passthrough for AMD GPU; possibly also for LSI MegaRAID (unsure about this)
  • I want to be able to give exclusive access to selected USB ports to Windows (to use devices I do not need Linux to know about)
  • I want Windows to start automatically "as if" it was regular Windows-only machine, with the host OS not much different (for layman - i.e. family) from BIOS. In particular: no manual interaction needed to start Windows full screen with access to all the hardware I've given it.
  • I will be using Linux from Windows guest over virtual network almost exclusively, i.e. ssh and possibly X sessions (X-server being Cygwin)
  • I'm fine to put good money into hardware, 32GB RAM and 2x Xeon are not out of question. Also happy to split resources in half - Windows does not need to have all the goodies.
  • I will be using Linux for some performance sensitive stuff, although nothing critical. Almost always related to programming in C++ (I wrote some patch for gcc in the past, want to do more of this, and gcc build takes lots of resources).
  • I'd like to be able to buy support for my Linux installation, so distros such as RHEL or OpenSUSE are in
  • I'd like to be able to use btrfs with confidence (strong point for OpenSUSE but I can wait few months for official support in official release of RHEL7). Specifically, I want self healing on RAID with checksums.
  • I'd like to share filesystems between Linux host and Windows guest - if there are options better than SAMBA4 I will be happy to learn.
  • I do not want to run Linux full screen GUI. I dislike windows managers in general, and also prefer tools like ssh/tmux/vim for work; on the other hand running Linux full screen in text mode is just waste of space and I do not need it. Putty ssh is best tool for me, for actual physical screen I can put Linux in picture-in-picture, second input on main monitor (as long as its text only).
  • I do not want second keyboard, no space on desk for it, but how will switching of focus work? My keyboard has no special functions whatsever (but I love it because it's mechanical)

This is not for playing with or learning VMs: this is for serious use where VM is supposed just to stay in background and let me do my work. I have some experience with VMware (and old license I could upgrade - but they do not support PCI passthrough last time I checked).

So, which combination of distro and virtual machine would work best for Bronek? This way to the forums!

®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
NSA SOURCE CODE LEAK: Information slurp tools to appear online
Now you can run your own intelligence agency
Azure TITSUP caused by INFINITE LOOP
Fat fingered geo-block kept Aussies in the dark
Yahoo! blames! MONSTER! email! OUTAGE! on! CUT! CABLE! bungle!
Weekend woe for BT as telco struggles to restore service
Cloud unicorns are extinct so DiData cloud mess was YOUR fault
Applications need to be built to handle TITSUP incidents
BOFH: WHERE did this 'fax-enabled' printer UPGRADE come from?
Don't worry about that cable, it's part of the config
Stop the IoT revolution! We need to figure out packet sizes first
Researchers test 802.15.4 and find we know nuh-think! about large scale sensor network ops
SanDisk vows: We'll have a 16TB SSD WHOPPER by 2016
Flash WORM has a serious use for archived photos and videos
Astro-boffins start opening universe simulation data
Got a supercomputer? Want to simulate a universe? Here you go
Microsoft adds video offering to Office 365. Oh NOES, you'll need Adobe Flash
Lovely presentations... but not on your Flash-hating mobe
prev story

Whitepapers

Driving business with continuous operational intelligence
Introducing an innovative approach offered by ExtraHop for producing continuous operational intelligence.
Why CIOs should rethink endpoint data protection in the age of mobility
Assessing trends in data protection, specifically with respect to mobile devices, BYOD, and remote employees.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management
How using vulnerability assessments to identify exploitable weaknesses and take corrective action can reduce the risk of hackers finding your site and attacking it.