Running a Linux VM on older desktop, is it even worth trying?

Linux for blind general discussion blinux-list at
Tue Apr 26 22:00:43 UTC 2022


My machine is 4GB ram, so I am surprised when you say 4GB is unheard of
these days. I am running an Arch Linux distro on a 500GB hard drive, 4GB
Ram and a 64-bit processor.

Linux for blind general discussion <blinux-list at> writes:

> Okay, so I want to give some Linux distros other than the one I'm
> running a try, but I don't have a spare machine in working order to
> use, don't have a spare hard drive to swap out in my main machine, and
> don't want to risk my running system to try out a different distro I
> might not like... The obvious solution would be to fire up a virtual
> machine, but I've got a few concerns.
> 1. Most importantly, this machine is a decade old and I'm worried
> it'll choke on a virtual machine even if it's Linux-on-Linux,
> especially since I already run into circumstances were Firefox+Orca
> slow to a crawl(usually on websites that Abuse JavaScript, HTML5, and
> other rich web content).
> My Specs are:
> Vintage 2011 Intel i7. Exact model unknown, but I believe its from the
> 2600 series... I understand even old i7s have aged fairly well, so
> this is my least concern.
> 4 GB RAM... I understand having this little RAM is practically unheard
> of these days so this is probably my biggest concern.
> All of my hard drives are platter based. I've got a swap partition of
> unknown size, but since my understanding is that accessing swap and
> the system partition at the same time would slow things down, I'm
> guessing it would be better to store the virtual drives for my virtual
> machines on one of my data drives instead of the system drive(my tower
> has three harddrives, a smaller drive used for the system and two
> larger drives used for data storage).
> No idea if I have integrated graphics or a proper graphics card, but
> I'm assuming this is mostly a non-issue since I'm not running any 3-d
> modeling software or games using polygonal graphics.
> 2. My system isn't setup to allow me to run a full desktop, and the
> script I use to launch Firefox+orca in a kiosk-like fashion only works
> for a few, specific applications. I've attempted to write a script to
> let me launch arbitrary GUI apps with Orca to no avail... As a result,
> I need a Virtual machine that can be setup and run from a tty without
> X, ideally one that can run a GUI within the VM even if it can't
> render the view to the host(I don't have a monitor anyways, the only
> output I need from the VM is audio).
> 3. I'm running a 32-bit kernel. I know my processor is 64-bit as I've
> gotten the distro I'm using to boot from Live media with a 64-bit
> kernel, but haven't been able to get an installed system working with
> anything other than a 32-bit Kernel... Does the Host OS being 32-bit
> restrict the guest OS to 32-bit as well?
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