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RE: [Xen-users] X11 on PV

To: "'George Lenzer'" <george.lenzer@xxxxxxx>
Subject: RE: [Xen-users] X11 on PV
From: "Dustin Henning" <Dustin.Henning@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 10 Feb 2009 16:05:44 -0500
Cc: 'xen-users' <xen-users@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
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        Wow, sounds too simple.  Thanks for the tip.  Looks like I don't even 
need virtualization and might be better off without it.  I guess I should have 
asked at LinuxQuestions or something first.

From: George Lenzer [mailto:george.lenzer@xxxxxxx] 
Sent: Tuesday, February 10, 2009 15:49
To: Dustin Henning
Cc: xen-users
Subject: Re: [Xen-users] X11 on PV

You can definitely do this with PV.  The key is to realize that the Xvnc server 
(part of the VNC 4.x package) is pretty much a drop in replacement for X with a 
few limitations.  The first is that there is no 3D acceleration or any kind of 
overlay support, it's just a plain old 2D X server.  The second is that the 
options are extended to suit some of the VNC specific needs.

Just as an example... what I used to do in the past was modify the Gnome GDM 
login manager's default config file to launch Xvnc instead of X.  In fact I had 
it launch four Xvnc instances, with each being able to log into a different 
account.  This allowed me to have an application server that would retain 
whatever I was working on even if I wasn't connected to it.

Just for testing purposes, you can load up whatever distro you want to try as a 
PV domain, then make sure you have VNC 4.x installed.  Run this command (ONLY 

Xvnc -ac -geometry 240x320 -SecurityTypes=None :10

Then you should be able to point to that PV domain's IP address with a VNC 
client like this (assuming the IP is


If you're using a Windows client, just enter in the dialog box 
and you should see a raw X server with the typical herringbone pattern.  
Hopefully that will give you some idea of what is possible.  Currently I've 
moved away from VNC and use the NX protocol instead for the same PV app server. 
 I used to use VNC when the app server was physical.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Dustin Henning" <Dustin.Henning@xxxxxxxxxxx>
To: "xen-users" <xen-users@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Tuesday, February 10, 2009 3:17:14 PM (GMT-0500) America/New_York
Subject: [Xen-users] X11 on PV

        I am considering setting up an old machine with a few PV VMs one it.
I am thinking I will go with the latest CentOS.  I would like to run X11
with a custom resolution of 240x320 (or maybe even a little shorter) and
some minimal full-screen web browser on these VMs.  I would like connect
with them through VNC, or maybe even RDP if that's possible (VNC could run
on dom0 or the domUs, if RDP could be used, presumably that would have to be
on the domUs).  This machine is way too old to have VT, so HVM isn't an
option.  Moreover, I need to be minimal in memory usage, so I'm open to
suggestions on any smaller distro that works in PV.  Unfortunately, I just
don't have much time to tinker and test.  However, my main question is as
follows:  Can X11 be run on PV with no video card passed through, and if so,
does anyone have any suggestions or pointers regarding such a setup?  Once I
clear that hurdle, I will be more interested in things like automatic login
and a minimal web browser capable of full screen browsing.  For those who
are curious, this setup is intended to allow me to remote to a full-fledged
(albeit minimal) web browser via some old Windows-based Pocket PCs whose web
browsers aren't meeting my needs.  Any thoughts or suggestions appreciated.

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