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Which memory configuration for a linux VM in gnome boxes?

asked 2014-03-11 18:55:04 -0500

mightyflea gravatar image

updated 2014-09-29 19:36:42 -0500

mether gravatar image

Hi all, I am looking at setting up a virtual linux machine (or two) in gnome boxes to play around with settings and testing the installation of packages and such.

I am wondering: What are the recommended settings for this? The host (my main laptop) is a Core i5 machine with 4 GB of RAM. Not much for virtualisation IIRC but I hope it will be enough for playing around a bit.

How much memory should I let gnome boxes allocate for a virtual machine? I do only ever intend to have a single VM running at a given time. Also, is there any point in setting up swap space inside the virtual machine?

And lastly a question about installing Fedora in such a VM: Does it make sense to go with LVM inside the virtual machine, or should I just use a plain partition?

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answered 2014-03-12 05:09:05 -0500

joshuar gravatar image

The amount of memory you should allocate will largely depend on what you want to do with the VM. You can use the minimum requirements given by the distribution as a guide though. For example, the release notes for Fedora 20 state a recommended 1GB of RAM:

However as noted, you can have less RAM, but you may not get adequate performance out of a default install in such a case. Unless you are only going to run a text console, I'd recommend allocating at least 512MB RAM. You may prefer to use a Fedora spin with a graphical interface that can be lighter on RAM usage like Xfce or LXDE, see the spins page here:

Regarding the file system layout, it largely won't matter whether you use LVM or plain partitions if you are just playing around a bit. I'd recommend you stick with the default distro partition layout. You can of course experiment with different install options later.

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Thank you! One more question: Can you advise me whether or not it makes sense to put a swap partition in the VM (say, 1 GB of RAM plus 1 GB of swap) or just a larger amount of RAM (to stay in the example, 2 GB of RAM and let the host machine deal with the swapping when needed)? I looked int the Fedora documentation virtualisation guides too but did not find anything there.

mightyflea gravatar imagemightyflea ( 2014-03-12 16:47:08 -0500 )edit

Again, I'd suggest you stick with the default amount of swap that the installation calculates for you. If you start running out of RAM in your VM and using lots of swap, just increase the amount of RAM given to your VM, that is one of the great features of virtualisation, the ability to instantly provision hardware upgrades ;)

You can also use create swap file on the filesystem if you need more swap later, see the instructions here:

Those instructions are still applicable in all modern Linux distributions.

joshuar gravatar imagejoshuar ( 2014-03-13 03:12:55 -0500 )edit

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Asked: 2014-03-11 18:55:04 -0500

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Last updated: Mar 12 '14