Clear Linux as Virtualization Host: Best options?

I’m looking at possible options for virtualization on my Clear Linux workstations (Work, Home, etc.) and I was hoping I could get some opinions on the best options? I’ve been considering a few, but they all come with their own pitfalls or showstoppers:

  1. KVM with virt-manager: It’s the virtualization I’m using right now on a Fedora box, but I know that virt-manager is supposed to be deprecated in the near future. It’s also very touchy in terms of getting things working and often fails first time out of the box. Ex: Having to set several tweaks in order to get Clear Linux to install as a Guest; I still haven’t figured out how to get Ubuntu 19.10 to install as a guest yet without crashing midway through.

  2. KVM with Gnome Boxes and virsh: I thought about using Gnome Boxes as my front-end, as it’s impressed me with getting an OS running right out of the box, and using virsh to make the backend tweaks that Boxes doesn’t offer in GUI (I’m not afraid of a little CLI.) However, Boxes doesn’t seem to be working correctly in Clear Linux right now. See:

Gnome Boxes fails to start any VMs (and the underlying bug reports)

  1. KVM with Cockpit: This is Fedora’s offered replacement option for virt-manager, and while I like some of the ideas behind it, it’s kinda like (in fact a LOT like) interacting with VMs through VMware vCenter. Great for a server cluster, but I’m less certain about it for a workstation. Feels like overkill.

  2. VirtualBox and VMware Player: My two concerns here are with compiling kernel modules and licensing. A: Will the kernel modules always be compatible and up-to-date with the current Clear Linux kernel via DKMS or a similar mechanism? I’ve had trouble compiling VMware kernel modules for the latest kernels in the past and would rather not repeat that adventure. B: Will VMware or Oracle come and complain about using their free products? We’ve already had that happen, at least in regards to very limited use on campus workstations, where Oracle just came along and said “We understand you’re using VirtualBox in your organization. You realize you could owe us money for that, right?”


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Hm, I personally didn’t know this so thanks for mentioning it.

As long as the virt-manager code is maintained and receives security updates I don’t see a reason why it won’t remain in Clear Linux.

These are legitimate concerns with compatibility of the modules trailing the latest kernel version historically. For this reason, I recommend using the LTS kernel with these out-of-tree modules. As far as licensing, I don’t think anyone else can answer that on behalf of your organization.

Here’s the info on virt-manager’s deprecation and Fedora’s proposed replacement Cockpit, whose article told me about the deprecation in the first place.