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Running a Fedora Server 28 hypervisor (QEMU/KVM with libvirt tools) with Windows- and Fedora-based guest VMs. Normally, the hypervisor runs headless with minimal packages installed, and guest VMs are accessed remotely.

Occasionally, local access to guest VMs from the hypervisor is desired via VNC or SPICE (SPICE preferred), but I don't want to install a window manager (gnome/kde/xfce) on the hypervisor. Ideally, would not have X running either, but I believe it is needed as a dependency for virtualization tools.

Would like to identify a standalone SPICE client (or VNC client) whose GUI is bound to a tty of the hypervisor (or something comparable that runs as thinly as possible). Even better would be to use libvirt tools solely, but I believe the GUI parts of those tools require a window manager (would be great if I'm wrong on that point).

While I've seen questions asked regarding running VNC without X, would strongly prefer a solution that does not rely upon projects not actively maintained.

Thank you in advance.

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    Why aren't you just using virt-manager? It can access your hypervisor remotely over an ssh tunnel which it creates itself. – Michael Hampton Sep 29 '18 at 15:43
  • Normally, that I how I access the hypervisor. However, my question is how to access the guests locally (not remotely). Thanks – user489879 Sep 29 '18 at 15:53
  • It's headless, you can't do that! – Michael Hampton Sep 29 '18 at 17:11
  • To elaborate on the “headless” (air quoted) — I have a USB monitor to attach for GUI access (otherwise would obviously not have access to the desired tty mentioned as a graphical interface). To reiterate the ask, how can I access the guest VM on a hypervisor without a display manager using VNC or SPICE, if at all? Thanks. – user489879 Sep 29 '18 at 22:32
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    You install the GUI, of course. – Michael Hampton Sep 30 '18 at 2:55
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You have three options:

  • install virt-manager on your workstation and use a SSH tunnel to connect it to the remote hypervisor;

  • install virt-manager on the server, connect from your workstation to it via ssh -X and launch virt-manager (note: this will be usable on LAN or very low latency links only);

  • install x2go and virt-manager on the server, accessing it via an x2go client installed on your local workstation.

  • Thanks! Goal is to access locally, so the third option is the path soughg. x2go looks promising (while still a window manager, seems to have a very light footprint). I; – user489879 Oct 1 '18 at 14:05
  • I'll try x2go out. If it works well and there are no solutions that do not require a window manager, will mark this as answer. Appreciate the thoughtful response! – user489879 Oct 1 '18 at 14:07
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virt-manager is about the best GUI you will find for libvirt. It is a GTK application, install it with yum to see its dependencies. You will need a window manager or forward X remotely such as over ssh.

An alternative would be to have a separate management workstation or VM running Fedora desktop. Then you could connect virt-manager via SSH or TLS transports.

  • Thanks! The current setup uses a remote management workstation that runs virt-manager in XFCE, so good to know that is one of the better ways to access the hypervisor/ guests. I'm trying to take the remote machine out of the loop and access the hypervisor/ guests locally (but without a heavyweight window manager), but the current setup may be the only viable option. Many thanks for he response! – user489879 Oct 1 '18 at 14:03

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