Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Gentoo, Xgl, Xen and Windows

So I got my new Dell E1705 (again). And this time everything was perfect. As usual instinctively I decided to install Gentoo after wiping all the partitions. However I did not purchase the windows backup cd from dell, which hindered my intense desire to wipe out everything. I carefully repartitioned around winXP partition and was able to cut out 25 GB for my Gentoo. After going through the normal process of compiling everything with CFLAGS="-march=nocona -O2 -pipe", I decided to install Xgl. A very good tutorial to follow is available at http://www.gentoo-wiki.com/HOWTO_XGL. I already used it on my old laptop, so getting Xgl to work is not all that exciting. Xgl brings all the super cool effects to Linux. My Gentoo looks better than Mac OS X! With the Beryl window manager, I can get the cool looking transparent window frames or a frame that looks like Windows Vista theme. Here are some screen shots







Next I installed Xen following the HowTo from http://gentoo-wiki.com/HOWTO_Xen_and_Gentoo. It works really well! I was able to run windows from with in Gentoo. No problems at all. I could not get internet and audio to work in the windows environment when using Xen, but that is for another day. I used the following configuration file to run win XP as a guest OS.

kernel = "/usr/lib/xen/boot/hvmloader"
builder = 'hvm'
memory = 128
name = "winxp"
sdl = 1

vcpus = 1
vif = [ 'type=ioemu, bridge=xenbr0' ]
disk = [ 'file:/root/winxp.img,ioemu:hda,w' ]
#, 'phy:/dev/sdb,ioemu:hdb,w' ]
device_model = '/usr/lib/xen/bin/qemu-dm'
#cdrom='/dev/sr0'
ne2000=0
boot='c'
audio=1


I was even able to run Xgl in my Domain 0 OS after modifying the Xen kernel sources and applying a patch to NVidia drivers (see http://www.nvnews.net/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=68648).

Anyway I did a quick benchmark on the laptop and the results are very interesting. More to come soon...
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