Hash: SHA512

On 2016-09-22 07:45, Otto Kratik wrote:
> 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 
> knows.

There are certainly Qubes-specific customizations that will cause a Debian
TemplateVM (or StandaloneVM created from the Qubes Debian TemplateVM) to
be different from a Debian HVM. (Some differences are beneficial, like
fixing the double-cursor issue.) You may want to try running the game in a
StandaloneVM rather than a TemplateVM, just to see if there's any
difference. I afraid I don't know the solution to your issue, but it
sounds like it might be some kind of file permission issue.

- -- 
Andrew David Wong (Axon)
Community Manager, Qubes OS


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