[fedora-virt] F-11 experience installing a CentOS guest

Jerry James loganjerry at gmail.com
Mon Jun 22 16:14:34 UTC 2009

I just upgraded to F-11 and have been trying out the new virt-manager.
 I have had a few "Huh?" moments that I'd like to share in case they
help anyone else out.

The release notes say that F-11 guests now get higher screen
resolutions and absolute mouse coordinates via a USB tablet, out of
the box.  I need to make a CentOS 5.3 guest, and decided to see if I
could get those same benefits.  I knew the higher screen resolution
was possible, because I have been running a CentOS 5.3 guest in F-10
using explicit invocation of qemu-kvm with the -std-vga switch.  I
hoped that the absolute mouse coordinates would also be possible, as
the lack of them was probably the most annoying part of using that
guest machine in F-10.

My first attempt was to lie to virt-manager about what kind of guest I
was installing.  I told it that I was installing an F-11 guest, in
hopes that things would Just Work.  They didn't.  Still, I was able to
mostly patch things together as described below.

When I created the virtual machine, I took a look at the hardware
list.  Even though I had specified an F-11 guest, there was no USB
tablet on the hardware list.  I thought I was supposed to get that
automatically, just by specifying the F-11 guest.  No matter; I added
it manually.  Now I don't need the PS/2 mouse, so let's get rid of it.
 I can't.  The "Remove" button is grayed out.  What's up with that?

So I installed CentOS 5.3 in the guest.  For the record, if you have
SELinux on in your host machine, the CD images have to have type
virt_content_t.  Something (virt-manager?) apparently set the type
correctly for me for CD #1, but I got an AVC denial and no CD visible
to the guest when I tried to change to CD #2.  So I changed all the CD
image types to virt_content_t by hand and everything went okay after

Installation finished.  I rebooted the machine and got an 800x600
resolution screen.  Darn.  I looked through Xorg.0.log and found that
virt-manager gave me the Cirrus video card.  I thought specifying an
F-11 guest was supposed to give me a generic VESA card.  By adding a
Monitor section to my xorg.conf and playing with HorizSync and
VertRefresh, I can manage to get a 1280x800 window, but I really want
1280x1024.  It doesn't appear to be possible to achieve that, though,
as the emulated Cirrus card is reporting a dot clock that can't manage
that resolution.  How do I get virt-manager to give me the VESA card?
It doesn't appear to be possible to get that through the interface it
provides.  Why not?

The absolute mouse coordinates did NOT work when I first installed the
machine.  Once I added the Monitor section, they started working.  I
don't know why, though, as Xorg.0.log says that it is using the
ExplorerPS/2 protocol, which suggests that X is using the PS/2 mouse
that virt-manager won't let me remove instead of the USB tablet that I
added manually.

Thanks for all the work that has gone into improving the F-11
virtualization technology.
Jerry James

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