Monday, September 23, 2013

Windows 8?

My first brush win WinPE turned out to be rather successful but recently our Windows team upgraded the SCCM server. Now when I attempt to install Windows 7 in KVM on CentOS-6, I get a windows 8 logo and then the dreaded error 0x0000005D.

The cause for this is, as always, long and complex. The new SCCM release now uses WinPE version 4 which is bases on Windows 8. Windows 8 requires a minimum level of CPU features to run. If you don't meet the minimum you get a well worded error message (well, at least it is easier to search for than a BSOD report).

I can't do much about SCCM, WinPE or Windows 8 so the next part of the problem is why does my KVM virtual machine not meet the Windows 8 requirements?

You guessed it. Bugs! It seems (more or less) that the 'sep' cpu feature was forgotten by libvirt and there is no fix coming soon.

What is needed then is a well implemented work around. KVM does support the required flag (-cpu +sep) but libvirt has no method to pass the flag to kvm. I already have a wrapper around kvm so it seemed logical to extend that script to add the missing flag.

Below is my solution which adds the +sep flag to the existing CPU configuration as well as set the serial number, as per the original script. Installation is the same as shown in my other blog post, edit the guest and set the <emulator> path to /usr/local/libexec/qemu-kvm (either using virsh edit or your favourite XML editor).

# This is a wrapper around qemu which will supply
# DMI information
# and correct a bug with the CPU type required for winpe4 (Windows 8)

for i in $(seq 1 $max) ; do
   if [ "$p" = "-cpu" ] ; then
      (( index = $i + 1 ))

if [ $index -gt 0 ] ; then

(( ibefore = $index - 1 ))
(( iafter = $index + 1 ))
set -- "${@:1:$ibefore}" $cpu "${@:$iafter}"

if [ "$1" = "-name" ] ; then
    SERIAL=$(/usr/bin/hal-get-property --udi /org/freedesktop/Hal/devices/computer --key system.hardware.serial)
    exec /usr/libexec/qemu-kvm "$@" -smbios type=1,serial="KVM-$SERIAL"
    exec /usr/libexec/qemu-kvm "$@"

Monday, September 9, 2013

Using xorg without a mouse

I always like it when I learn something new. Particularly when I read something one the web which turn out to work.

I wanted to find a way to move the mouse cursor without a mouse. I can actually do this with my lirc based remote but I have a new wireless keyboard for my linux 'TV' and I wanted to have a way to use that too.

A google search turned up an interesting page which suggested the has this functionality built in and to my surprise it worked. It even had instructions for keyboards without a numeric keypad (like mine). Apparently "MouseKeys" and "PlotMode" has always been a feature in and XFree86.

I must be in PlotMode at the moment which is quite slow. I will have to practice enabling Accelerated mode <Fn><Alt><Shift><Num Lock> should be the key I need.