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 PostPost subject: Really weird GPU server idea        Posted: Wed Nov 14, 2018 10:28 am 
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To give you all a head start, what I'm about to describe is basically the exact opposite of VDI.

Some of you may have heard of Windows Multipoint server, and even fewer have been lucky enough to see it in action much less get it working for yourself. There's a reason M$ created the Multipoint systems, but I never did understand what they did to make certain features work, as all they did was import and modify other server platforms. (Same thing they do with Windows; how do you think they make the server OSes, am I right?!) This leaves me to question the possibility of backporting these new, unusual features, and the availability of 3rd party software capable of enabling such creative functions.

Before I explain my scenario and the purpose of this post, let's get some background on the advantages I seek, and the quizzical array of problems with the MultiPoint OS.

According to M$, Wiki, and various windows forums, "Multiple stations can be added to a WMS host computer by connecting a single monitor, USB 2.0 hub, keyboard and mouse for each station. Hardware requirements for MultiPoint stations are non-proprietary, and virtually any multi-monitor video card, mouse, keyboard and monitor that is supported on Windows Server 2008 R2 can be used to build a station."

In an ideal application, a "station" is composed of the 3 common components (keyboard, screen, and mouse) all directly connected to a single system with the necessary hardware, having the WMS OS installed to manage and partition resources to each "station". The approach taken by Microsoft and the few companies that followed WMS for the brief time period that it was a promoted solution involves the use of dedicated station devices that operate in a similar fashion to VDI thin clients, but are converged to a USB port rather than ethernet. This approach makes the entire basis of Multipoint pointless, thus being part of the reason for the system's very limited popularity in a growing market of VDI solutions with dedicated graphics technology. From what I've read, there were a few such devices that took advantage of physical graphics ports directly and converged VGA and USB to be delivered to a station across a single line, but other than poorly built proprietary KVM modules there is very little information on these devices-- and in any case their technology was flawed from the start and seem to have quickly become obsolete.

As it stands, the #1 reason NOT TO USE MultiPoint Server is the RAM limitation of 32GB, which is a direct result of the system being lazily constructed as a variant of the SBS and WHS platforms. Seriously, 32GB in 2010/2011 ON A SERVER?!? That's just shallow, even for a company whose only real concern is LICENSING profit among other things.
Let's see, any OS based on W7 takes 2-4GB of RAM just to start, especially with as many as 20 users (as per the maximum "allowed") you may as well say the base takes 6GB RAM to start and maintain BASIC operation. Next, consider the fact that the primary target was SCHOOL USE! Emphasis on "SCHOOL USE" because, well, think about it; on average students are most likely to have open a web browser with several tabs, and maybe a couple documents at the same time; For the sake of argument, let's say each student uses 2GB of RAM (aside from the base OS requirement) to have the aforementioned windows open... now multiply that number by 20 people (the max. user load) and account for system overhead and resource utilization fluctuations, you would need anywhere from 48-64GB of RAM to maintain BASIC OPERATIONS, requiring the use of multiple WMS machines SPECIALLY BUILT WITHIN LIMITS and capable of handling multiple humans and a fair amount of I/O resource partitioning, not to mention the even greater problem of people who need all the resources they can get for video or photo editing (okay, maybe they'd have a dedicated system for that, but this is a thought experiment, so just go with it) and there's simply not enough power left for others to log on without potentially crashing the system-- all of which contributed to the predictable demise of WMS, rendering it completely pointless as an operating system. Seriously, THIS IS WHY WE HAVE LINUX!!! (too bad everything meaningful only runs on Windows.) And no, virtual machines in my case ARE NOT A SOLUTION! (at least not until VMware Workstation comes standard with DX11 and better GPU integration)

The next problem is really a questionable annoyance more than anything, but the fact that M$ had to create WMS 2011 to offset the difference of forking Server 2K8R2 RTM (WMS 2010 base) and 2K8R2 SP1 (WMS 2011 base) does not inspire confidence in the "effort" put forth to create WMS in the first place.

What they did in the 2012 version may as well have put the entire idea of WMS through the shredder...
Not only did they base WMS 2012 on the extremely flawed Server 2012 (Windows 8 fork) OS and ignore the need to upgrade to account for the difference of what was fixed in 2012 R2 (Win 8.1) probably for the same reason as the lousy export of Server 2K8R2, but as far as I know (and please correct me if I'm wrong) they FAILED to remove the 32GB RAM limitation!

Last but not least we observe a downright pathetic attempt to revive the MultiPoint platform as a role service in Server 2016. I'm not even gonna bother trying this one simply because 1. I hate Windows 8/10 and anything of the like, 2. I have no real use for the odd amenities offered by systems newer than W7, and 3. the entire archetype of the server I'm building calls for Server 2K8R2 SP1, and has plenty of room to upgrade IF AND ONLY IF, it becomes necessary.

Offtopic Comment
To answer some questions you might be thinking right now, I originally hate Windows 7 and everything newer, but I do appreciate it's 2008 R2 server variant which expands on the familiar design of Server 2003 by offering more dynamic features for management and overall operation. I am a die hard user of the now cult classic Windows XP system, and THE ONLY REASON I even bother with windows 7 is because it offers an enormous advantage for GPU acceleration of common video and image processing, and especially advanced graphical design software. Server 2008 R2 was more or less windfall in my case-- an incidental find that demonstrated the same feature set of Windows 7 with an expanded console of the XP-based Server 2003 OS. I started to like the ease of use of server 2003 that came with advanced features only a server would have, and when I came to understand the 2008 R2 had the same graphics capabilities of Windows 7, I started to experiment with various possible uses of the system. From this, I began to learn what I actually had, and decided to make use of such... decent software... in a more realistic application to determine the direction of my systems research.



Why am I explaining all this, you ask? Because, my scenario is the need for a hybrid workstation server configuration to have at least 2 people (myself and an associate) able to access and operate in the system locally. For this setup, USB is no problem at all, and I can add a second GPU if necessary, but I don't understand the software aspect of multiple local physical logons. I've heard rumors that it can technically be done with any 2008 or newer server system, but there's almost no information outside of MulltiPoint installations as to how this is possible, and very few people have even tried it. There may have been at least 1 report of a successful mod of this sort, but that was forever ago... GPU integration is paramount in my system, and not even the best hypervisor software is remotely capable (no pun intended) of delivering the grade of experience I need without expensive hardware from 1 of the 2 GPU giants... worst of all, NVidia GRID requires some lousy BS license to function, and AMD is just plain weird.

So tell me people, strictly from a software standpoint, how can I get the multi-"station" feature from WMS to work in a regular 2K8R2 machine? I understand USB splitting, but GPU resource partitioning to have 2 or more different workspaces for more than 1 physical local logon is beyond me. Is it even possible to backport (or in this case sideport) this feature to get it working the way I need? Does anyone know of other software companies that have developed their own program to solve this problem?


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 PostPost subject: Re: Really weird GPU server idea        Posted: Wed Nov 14, 2018 11:48 am 
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Krytus wrote:
Last but not least we observe a downright pathetic attempt to revive the MultiPoint platform as a role service in Server 2016. I'm not even gonna bother trying this one simply because 1. I hate Windows 8/10 and anything of the like, 2. I have no real use for the odd amenities offered by systems newer than W7, and 3. the entire archetype of the server I'm building calls for Server 2K8R2 SP1, and has plenty of room to upgrade IF AND ONLY IF, it becomes necessary.


So you're racking down on the limitations of Server 2012, but yet refuse to use Server 16 (where those limitations are lifted) because of personal preferences? Isn't it better to work towards a solution that actually work instead of forcing a solution on old tech that wasn't designed for it? You would be asking for more problems if you ask me...

What I don't really understand is, what are you really trying to accomplish? To have multiple users logged on at the same time and all having their own dedicated resources without any virtualization or device sharing? I am sorry for asking, but why not use virtualisation? You can accomplish the same thing and even share hardware exclusively to a VM, and yet have the flexibility to adjust everything as you want. I am just trying to really understand the usage scenario here, what are you trying to accomplish and what advantages would it have over a virtualized solution with a centralized virtualisation host and VMs allocated to each user? And with a virtualized environment you can choose the OS you want for each client, regardless if it's Win7, Win10, Linux or BSD etc.

There are also other solutions but are more complex to setup. Linus Sebastian on Linus Tech Tips experimented with such solution as well, on a much larger scale than you but still, should be a lot easier if you're using fewer clients. But he didn't use Windows Server as a base so it might not be of interest to you then.

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 PostPost subject: Re: Really weird GPU server idea        Posted: Wed Nov 14, 2018 9:29 pm 
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mrpijey wrote:
What I don't really understand is, what are you really trying to accomplish? To have multiple users logged on at the same time and all having their own dedicated resources without any virtualization or device sharing? I am sorry for asking, but why not use virtualisation? You can accomplish the same thing and even share hardware exclusively to a VM, and yet have the flexibility to adjust everything as you want. I am just trying to really understand the usage scenario here, what are you trying to accomplish and what advantages would it have over a virtualized solution with a centralized virtualisation host and VMs allocated to each user? And with a virtualized environment you can choose the OS you want for each client, regardless if it's Win7, Win10, Linux or BSD etc.



Sure enough I get you of all people to ask... nevertheless, I was partly hoping for a question like this so I could clarify exactly this confusion up front.

In case you haven't noticed, virtualization software offers a LIMITED amount of GPU integration AT BEST. VMware has the "vmware graphics adapter" or something, and Microsoft similarly has "Microsoft virtual additions driver" (okay, I don't remember the exact device names, but you get the idea). The point is, I need GPU integration much closer to the metal, and the only way to do that without using ESXi and some proprietary GPU that may require some prickly LICENSE, is to do all GPU-intense work locally on my system, hence why I refer to it as either a machine or a workstation/server hybrid.

To answer the question that's really burning inside your mind, YES, I CAN RUN AUTOCAD, SOLIDWORKS, ETC. in a virtual machine, BUT the performance will be degraded due to the lack of a PROPER GPU. And, like I said, VMware Workstation won't have DX11 for several more years, and even then they probably won't fix the driver integration issue (I need to pass through a GPU directly to the VM, and I can add hardware to make that work, IF THIS WAS POSSIBLE) because they have ESXi for that. The entire reason I didn't use ESXi as my base OS is that I need the very specific talent, for lack of a better word, of a proper bare metal server (in addition to the GPU thing).
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you read my post about my distributed PC server idea, you know what I'm talking about-- except the portions of that idea I dropped in favor of a small number of resource intense users.


For my... unique (to say the least) operating scenario, it is clear to me that graphics intense virtual machines are a lost cause.

And no, I didn't dump the 2016 model just because of personal preference. If you read through my initial post at all, you'd know that I simply have no reason to use such a version of the Server OS. Besides, not only do Windows systems take SEVERAL YEARS TO MATURE (especially servers), but even if the MultiPoint role did work the way it advertises, based on history, M$ might have rendered it impossible to use by oversimplifying (or over-complicating, take your pick) the entire control console AND put even more BS LICENSING requirements on top of it, for which I do not have the time or the patience to deal with.
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You know my preference on this subject better than anyone, I HATE LICENSING!!! But of course that's not the point.
Don't forget how the real WMS works-- the last thing I need is to suddenly find that the "stations" feature implies the required use of strange zero-client devices, which are not only impossible to find the right model of, but they completely destroy the entire purpose of WMS in the first place! Again, correct me if I'm wrong since I've only effectively tested WMS 2011 and 2012, but my research indicates that for the most part I'm spot on here.

At the end of the day, all that matters is the bottom line. Get ready to have your mind blown, because I've actually successfully done something very similar to what I'm describing without modifying the OS. We all know how teamviewer works, but on a server it's very different as it uses the TS function to support multiple logons on a server. I bring this up because TeamViewer mocks RDP by practically masquerading as an entire physical user, allowing full remote use of GPU resources! Proof in the pudding, when you remotely connect from... let's say W10 to W7, you may not be able to play your favorite video game due to the occasional lag in a remote link, but you have full access to all GPU resources, allowing the use of video and still image editing software IN FULL CAPACITY! I have even personally tested this capability with Autocad on the target host, and successfully took advantage of GPU resources through a remote connection. There are some minor drawbacks using TeamViewer, which is why I've decided to take it a step further and scale up my capabilities to transcend those of WMS. It's a simple concept, really; if I could do this with teamviewer, and WMS introduced the "stations" feature on a server 2K8R2 base, why now do it with a regular 2K8R2 server? Historically, all Microsoft ever did to accomplish these things is add a few components. I just need to know how to use what I already have.

On the side, I did discover 1 program that might help, SoftXpand, but I haven't been able to test it yet. I still like what WMS did, so M$ first, and 3rd party as last resort...


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 PostPost subject: Re: Really weird GPU server idea        Posted: Wed Nov 14, 2018 10:05 pm 
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Please drop the attitude as I was asking a serious question, I wanted to understand what you really wanted to accomplish and why you would dismiss a more developed OS. This is also an area that interests me and I have some experience with this kind of stuff as I am running my own server with two GPUs, both exclusively allocated to two VMs running vendor drivers (no virtualized GPU nonsense), with full speed on the GPUs. But with the exception that I remote in to the system instead of running it "local". But your attitude towards me really puts me off as you clearly don't value my input and not interested in a serious discussion with me without the personal nonsense, so fine. Search for GPU passthrough and you should find plenty of info on how to give a VM direct access to a GPU (or any other device) without the need for virtual devices. And if this is still not what you're looking for then good luck and I hope you find a solution for your needs.

As for Windows servers 2016 and now 2019 they are quite mature, but you can of course pick any other OS you wish. And Server 2016/2019 sure are much more mature than Server 2008... But what you ask for (a multi console GPU workstation) is rarely used in real business without specialized hardware as it's much simpler and cheaper to either have dedicated workstations or at least virtualize the software layers with hardware passthrough (as I've done it). I don't have any special experience with TeamViewer except for basic remoting, and I hate it as it's not very stable or efficient (compared to RDP which unfortunately is unsecure in return, so I use VPN with that).

Good luck with your project.

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 PostPost subject: Re: Really weird GPU server idea        Posted: Wed Nov 14, 2018 11:00 pm 
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TL;DR please?

From the little snippets i've read you'd be better off grabbint vmware esxi, some expensive quadro card and properly virtualising graphics with harware acceleration/pass-through (just like what i do on my homelab)

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 PostPost subject: Re: Really weird GPU server idea        Posted: Thu Nov 15, 2018 9:28 pm 
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Krytus wrote:
virtualization software offers a LIMITED amount of GPU integration AT BEST. VMware has the "vmware graphics adapter" or something, and Microsoft similarly has "Microsoft virtual additions driver" (okay, I don't remember the exact device names, but you get the idea).


This is wrong, you can pass PCIe cards through to VMs. That makes your whole idea interesting but ultimately useless.

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 PostPost subject: Re: Really weird GPU server idea        Posted: Thu Nov 15, 2018 10:54 pm 
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Darkstar wrote:
Krytus wrote:
virtualization software offers a LIMITED amount of GPU integration AT BEST. VMware has the "vmware graphics adapter" or something, and Microsoft similarly has "Microsoft virtual additions driver" (okay, I don't remember the exact device names, but you get the idea).


This is wrong, you can pass PCIe cards through to VMs. That makes your whole idea interesting but ultimately useless.


Type-1 hypervisor you're right and I clearly pointed out that I already knew that but type-1 is not an option for me.
Type-2, you're wrong, and you know exactly what I'm talking about.

Can we please focus on the bottom line here and stay on track to figure out how to import/acquire the functionality I'm looking for, and NOT drive me so harshly to and entirely different platform I don't need and can't use?

Seriously people, how hard is it to answer a question? I'm not looking for a full branch solution, I just need A FIX.
I've had this communication issue for years with HP, Dell, Microsoft, and a few others, but the community?!? this is getting ridiculous. Admins don't think for a second that I'm being rude, I'm trying very hard to clarify PRECISELY what I NEED and that if I desire a virtualization solution, I will ask for one.

Would someone please, FOR THE LOVE OF G0D, share any experience they might have regarding MultiPoint Server and the component dependencies for the "stations" feature!?!


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 PostPost subject: Re: Really weird GPU server idea        Posted: Thu Nov 15, 2018 11:48 pm 
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Krytus wrote:
Darkstar wrote:
Krytus wrote:
virtualization software offers a LIMITED amount of GPU integration AT BEST. VMware has the "vmware graphics adapter" or something, and Microsoft similarly has "Microsoft virtual additions driver" (okay, I don't remember the exact device names, but you get the idea).


This is wrong, you can pass PCIe cards through to VMs. That makes your whole idea interesting but ultimately useless.


Type-1 hypervisor you're right and I clearly pointed out that I already knew that but type-1 is not an option for me.
Type-2, you're wrong, and you know exactly what I'm talking about.

Can we please focus on the bottom line here and stay on track to figure out how to import/acquire the functionality I'm looking for, and NOT drive me so harshly to and entirely different platform I don't need and can't use?

Seriously people, how hard is it to answer a question? I'm not looking for a full branch solution, I just need A FIX.
I've had this communication issue for years with HP, Dell, Microsoft, and a few others, but the community?!? this is getting ridiculous. Admins don't think for a second that I'm being rude, I'm trying very hard to clarify PRECISELY what I NEED and that if I desire a virtualization solution, I will ask for one.

Would someone please, FOR THE LOVE OF G0D, share any experience they might have regarding MultiPoint Server and the component dependencies for the "stations" feature!?!

Then go to a forums specialised in what you require. This is BetaArchive, we speacialise in betas.

End of discussion, topic locked.

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 PostPost subject: Re: Really weird GPU server idea        Posted: Fri Nov 16, 2018 12:22 am 
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Hardlocking topics like these are not necessary, but Gnome does have a point. You will have an easier time to find your answers in a more tech/server-oriented community than here which is more beta/abandonware oriented. And there's no need to be angry at us if we're simply trying to understand your purpose and giving you our point of views and suggestions on how to approach your goals. If that is not to your liking then you will either have to wait for someone else give an answer that is more in line of what you're trying to accomplish, or continue looking elsewhere for answers.

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 PostPost subject: Re: Really weird GPU server idea        Posted: Fri Nov 16, 2018 2:17 am 
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mrpijey wrote:
Hardlocking topics like these are not necessary, but Gnome does have a point. You will have an easier time to find your answers in a more tech/server-oriented community than here which is more beta/abandonware oriented. And there's no need to be angry at us if we're simply trying to understand your purpose and giving you our point of views and suggestions on how to approach your goals. If that is not to your liking then you will either have to wait for someone else give an answer that is more in line of what you're trying to accomplish, or continue looking elsewhere for answers.


I'm already looking into other places I might find answers, but I appreciate you keeping the line open in case someone more experienced does come along later on. At the very least, someone might find my description of current distributed workstation technology more useful than what they'd usually find.


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 PostPost subject: Re: Really weird GPU server idea        Posted: Fri Nov 16, 2018 2:49 am 
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So more or less you are talking about.

NComputing X550 Desktop Virtualization Kit.
https://www.trademe.co.nz/computers/com ... 412e64ae15

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 PostPost subject: Re: Really weird GPU server idea        Posted: Fri Nov 16, 2018 5:41 am 
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sagem wrote:
So more or less you are talking about.

NComputing X550 Desktop Virtualization Kit.
https://www.trademe.co.nz/computers/com ... 412e64ae15


Correct me if I'm wrong but it seems to be nothing more than a hardware RDP or RemoteFX device. I do find it fairly impressive though that someone would bother creating this. I need pure GPU integration, a direct physical line to the board itself. Networked keyboard and mouse sound like a great idea, but the problem I'm trying to solve is to put another user on the physical system with an additional screen, connected to a second GPU or an open port on a large GPU model.

Please don't ask why, I don't know how to explain this any other way anymore, I just need a solution.


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 PostPost subject: Re: Really weird GPU server idea        Posted: Sat Nov 17, 2018 1:15 pm 
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You can do it with QEmu (a type-2 hypervisor) on Linux: https://blog.zerosector.io/2018/07/28/k ... ssthrough/

So theoretically it should be possible on Windows as well. Maybe at some point with haxm+virtualbox...?

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 PostPost subject: Re: Really weird GPU server idea        Posted: Wed Nov 21, 2018 7:48 am 
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Darkstar wrote:
You can do it with QEmu (a type-2 hypervisor) on Linux: https://blog.zerosector.io/2018/07/28/k ... ssthrough/

So theoretically it should be possible on Windows as well. Maybe at some point with haxm+virtualbox...?


*sighs*... I absolutely dream of using Linux on my server, but all of my programs only run on Windows, especially everything graphics intense...


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 PostPost subject: Re: Really weird GPU server idea        Posted: Thu Nov 22, 2018 12:50 am 
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Krytus wrote:
Darkstar wrote:
You can do it with QEmu (a type-2 hypervisor) on Linux: https://blog.zerosector.io/2018/07/28/k ... ssthrough/

So theoretically it should be possible on Windows as well. Maybe at some point with haxm+virtualbox...?


*sighs*... I absolutely dream of using Linux on my server, but all of my programs only run on Windows, especially everything graphics intense...

you can virtualise windows on QEmu iirc. i run windows VM's on proxmox that uses KVM/LXC

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 PostPost subject: Re: Really weird GPU server idea        Posted: Thu Nov 22, 2018 1:38 am 
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Gnome wrote:
Krytus wrote:
Darkstar wrote:
You can do it with QEmu (a type-2 hypervisor) on Linux: https://blog.zerosector.io/2018/07/28/k ... ssthrough/

So theoretically it should be possible on Windows as well. Maybe at some point with haxm+virtualbox...?


*sighs*... I absolutely dream of using Linux on my server, but all of my programs only run on Windows, especially everything graphics intense...

you can virtualise windows on QEmu iirc. i run windows VM's on proxmox that uses KVM/LXC


Quite frankly I don't care to virtualize Windows. Rather, I seek benefit from the extremely experimental realm of "app virtualization" that would potentially allow me to run windows software on a Linux OS, and take full advantage of GPU resources. If integrated cross-platform virtualization for individual programs was more practical and mature in the industry, I'd have switched to Linux 9 years ago.


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