On Wednesday, September 21, 2016 at 9:03:30 PM UTC-4, Andrew David Wong wrote:
> Since your question is about the functional or behavior differences
> between TemplateVMs and HVMs, I take it that what you're really
> interested in is the practical difference between using TemplateVMs and
> StandaloneVMs as VMs which do not depend on any other VM for their root
> filesystems.
> The only significant difference I'm aware of is that using a TemplateVM
> allows you to retain the option of creating TemplateBasedVMs based on
> this TemplateVM in the future, whereas a StandaloneVM does not. If you
> one day decide that you'd like to have a TemplateBasedVMs based on your
> StandaloneVM, you'll have to re-create it as a TemplateVM. There's no
> (easy) way to turn a StandaloneVM into a TemplateVM.

Your interpretation is correct, I am mainly interested in the practical 
differences between running either a TemplateVM or a StandaloneHVM as a 
self-contained VM that doesn't depend on another VM's root filesystem.

As in my example, if I want a self-contained, non-dependent Debian VM it's far 
easier to just clone a Debian TemplateVM and use it independently as such, and 
thus get the single mouse-pointer desired, as opposed to creating an HVM and 
installing Debian there, and getting dual mouse pointers instead. If the two 
solutions are functionally the same, the first is more optimal.

However one reason I ask is that I seem to have in fact noticed some behavioral 
differences I wouldn't have expected, based on the descriptions above. The 
example case is unfortunately too unique to be likely duplicable by others for 
testing, but here it is nonetheless.

I purchased a Linux game that needs no installation, you just download it from 
the vendor website, unpack the tar.gz archive and run it from shell. At first 
run it asks you to input the license code received at the time of purchase, 
which is easy to do. After that, all future launches don't ask you to input the 
code again, as it's already saved and stored by the game.

On normal standalone Linux systems (whether an HVM within Qubes or a truly 
separate bare-metal installation on another computer/drive) this works as 
expected. Enter the code once, game works smoothly forevermore.

But on a TemplateVM, the code works for that session, but doesn't seem to 
"stick" or get saved next time around, and it has to be entered again each time 
the game is launched. While I'd understand and perhaps expect this if running 
from a TemplateBasedAppVM, since maybe the location where the game records the 
registration is on the rootFS and isn't remembered next time, I'm perplexed to 
see it occurring on a TemplateVM, which shouldn't have this issue saving data 
to rootFS if necessary - which isn't of course even the logical place for game 
data to be stored, as it should use a local directory like Home I would think.

I've even made sure to run the game's launch command as sudo in case elevated 
permissions are needed to write the registration data permanently, but without 
any luck.

As I said, this specific game issue is outside the scope of Qubes or its dev 
team to attempt to solve, but it does illustrate at least one behavioral 
difference between the two VM types. On a StandaloneHVM, the game registration 
is saved successfully as expected. On a TemplateVM, the registration is 
forgotten each time. To make things even more confusing, the registration is 
forgotten each and every time even within the *same session* of the TemplateVM 
being run. Shutdown and restart isn't necessary to trigger the problem. Launch 
game, enter code, proceed with game. Exit game, launch it again, and code is 
requested again, even though TemplateVM is still running continuously without 
interruption or restart. Thus, anything saved during session should still be 
preserved, and yet isn't.

Again, not asking for a solution here, just describing the scenario that 
precipitated the issue. Could just be some odd quirk of the game itself. Who 

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