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Re: [Qemu-discuss] Using qemu to run a physical machine in parallel

From: wferi
Subject: Re: [Qemu-discuss] Using qemu to run a physical machine in parallel
Date: Sun, 04 Aug 2019 22:03:27 +0200
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/24.5 (gnu/linux)

Yassine Chaouche <address@hidden> writes:

> I have installed Linux Mint on my machine on /dev/sda5. Later, I
> installed MX Linux on /dev/sda9, but the installation of MX eventually
> didn't work well as I tried to do things. I need to fix MX linux, but
> each I change something I need to reboot the machine to see if it
> fixed it, and this is cumbersome/tiresome/awkward. What I would like
> to do is boot on /dev/sda5 (Linux Mint) and run MX Linux (/dev/sda9)
> in parallel. Can I achieve this with qemu ? I don't want to reinstall
> MX as a virtual machine, I would like to run and fix the already
> installed one.

It's perfectly possible, if MX Linux uses a generic initramfs like
Debian.  Minor tweaks may be needed to include all the necessary drivers
in the initramfs.  However, you have to be *very* careful to avoid
booting Linux Mint in QEMU, which is (probably) the default if you pass
the whole /dev/sda to QEMU and boot from that.  This would lead to
serious data loss because your host system uses the same partitions
concurrently.  Consider employing direct kernel boot (via -kernel,
-initrd and -append), unless you want to fix the bootloader
configuration of MX Linux.  For this you have to copy out the kernel and
the initrd files to the host system, because passing in mounted
partitions is asking for trouble (see above).

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