Well, I have a definite need to have virtual machine support for 64bit guests so imagine how pleased I was when vmware indicated that the new version of workstation (5.5.0) would have support for 64bit guests. Fantastic! Then, reading the fine print, discovered that I would need to buy a new CPU (won’t work with older AMD64 CPUs) and then a new motherboard to go with it, and the extras… new RAM and probably a new video card. Unimpressed, I’m looking at an alternative called QEMU.

QEMU virtualizes a lot more than just a 32bit PC; it can also emulate x86_64, sparc, ppc, and a few others I think. My only real interest is in virtualizing x86_64.

Well, nice as that sounds in theory (and most of the people I’ve talked to use it to virtualize a 32bit OS… something I’m not interested in because vmware does that quite nicely). Well, trying to load Mandriva 2006/x86_64 in QEMU is a bit of a bummer… not only does lilo and grub both segfault, but I can’t get past the bloody bootloader during install! So three times I’ve tried now and three times I’ve been unable to complete the installation. Not happy in the slightest. I remember older Mandrake releases would let you skip past stuff, but apparently not anymore (bad idea, in my opinion… we need a “skip” button on some stuff like crashing bootloaders).

Trying with LE2005 now… if I can get most of the supported distros running in QEMU, that just means one less distro to chroot for security testing.

Does seem like pretty cool software tho.

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