Enable experimental nested virtualization in Citrix XenServer 6.5 (SP1)

Simply put: Nested virtualization allows a virtual machine (VM) to be a host for further VMs. If you wanted to run VMware inside a VM, you would need this feature. But you would also do well to consider it if you were developing Android apps inside a VM and wanted to use the Android Emulator with hardware acceleration (= virtualization). Continue reading

Enable passthrough of main/primary GPU in XenServer 6.5SP1

In its default config XenServer 6.5 will not permit you to use your host server’s primary GPU in a VM as a passthrough device. That’s reasonable in most cases, as reusing this GPU leaves the dom0 without output. However, passing through the device works nonetheless in many cases – your mileage may vary.

To convince XenServer to let you freely assign the GPU to VMs add this line to the file /etc/udev/rules.d/05-udev-early.rules:

KERNEL=="vga_arbiter", OPTIONS="ignore_device"

Reboot the server, that’s it.

No sound on Ubuntu Linux: “cannot open mixer: No such file or directory” (solved)

I had trouble getting audio to work on a Ubuntu 15.04 system with Intel chipset audio (Intel Corporation 9 Series Chipset Family HD Audio Controller). Trying to run the ALSA mixer would look like this:

$ alsamixer
cannot open mixer: No such file or directory

The fix was to edit /etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base.conf at the very end of the file (changes bold):

# Keep snd-usb-audio from beeing loaded as first soundcard
options snd-usb-audio index=0
options snd-hda-intel index=-2

I modified the index value for the snd-usb-audio module to zero and added a line for the snd-hda-intel module. Afterwards the mixer would start as expected.