[Libvir] Opening KVM guest in xterm rather than vnc

Daniel P. Berrange berrange at redhat.com
Fri Oct 19 04:59:19 UTC 2007

On Thu, Oct 18, 2007 at 03:52:59PM -0700, David Mueller wrote:
> I'm trying to setup my virtual machines to display in an xterm window
> rather than a VNC window.  The guests and host are Fedora 7; the guest
> only needs to run in a console mode (no X11).  I see a bit on
> http://libvirt.org/format.html about using a console tag instead of
> graphics in my XML, but I can't figure out how to connect to that.
> With our older Xen on Fedora Core 5 setup, we used the following
> command to create a guest and it worked great; I'm trying to
> approximate something similar with libvirt/KVM on Fedora 7:
> xterm -e "/usr/sbin/xm create -c guest.xen"

First off  Xen != KVM.   Xen by provides a text based console for access 
to the paravirt guests only. 

KVM though is fully virtualized and (as with Xen fullvirt) does not provide
a text based console. It merely emulates a Cirrus Logic graphics card as
its default output. This is connected to either a X window, or a VNC server.

> A notable advantage of using an xterm over VNC is that we can resize
> the window; with VNC as far as I've been able to see, we've been stuck
> with the default 80x24 window.  We also can't copy and paste text from
> the VNC window to other applications.

The VNC server runs in whatever resolution you configure the guest display
in. The Cirrus graphics card can do any resolution upto 1024x768. If you
want something other than a 80x24 text mode them you need to tell the guest
OS to run the text console in framebuffer mode.

> Any suggestions would be appreciated.  I am currently using
> libvirt-0.3.2-1.fc7; if this is something that we'll have to wait for
> a newer version that will be in Fedora 8, that's okay.

The closeest you'll get to a Xen paravirt style text console is to configure
the serial console as your primary display. This requires configuring grub,
the kernel, and inittab so won't work by default like a Xen console would

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