Normally we cover news focused on KVM and sometimes Xen, but something very special has happened with their younger cousin in the BSD world, Bhyve.
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For those that don’t know, Bhyve (pronounced bee-hive) is the native hypervisor in FreeBSD. It has many powerful features, but one that’s been a pain point for some years now is VGA passthrough. Consumer GPUs have not been useable until very recently despite limited success with enterprise cards.
However, Twitter user Michael Yuji found a workaround that enables passing through a consumer card to any *nix system configured to use X11:
GPU passthru on #FreeBSD #bhyve!!! As long as your guest is not Windows but *nix. GPU passthru actually works!! I think I’ll try games on StreamOS when I have time. pic.twitter.com/Hr2ZhENjZ1
— michael-yuji (@michael_yuji) May 11, 2019
All you have to do is add a line pointing the X server to the Bus ID of the passed card and the VM will boot, with acceleration and everything. He theorizes that this may not be possible on windows because of the way it looks for display devices, but it’s a solid start.
As soon as development surrounding VGA passthrough matures on Bhyve, it will become a very attractive alternative to more common tools like Hyper-V and Qemu, because it makes many powerful features available in the host system like jails, boot environments, BSD networking, and tight ZFS integration. For example, you could potentially run your Router, NAS, preferred workstation OS and any number of other things in one box, and only have to spin up a single VM because of the flexibility afforded by jails over Linux-based containers.
The user who found this workaround also announced they’d be writing it up at some point, so stay tuned for details on the process.
It’s been slow going on Bhyve passthrough development for a while, but this new revelation is encouraging. We’ll be closely monitoring the situation and report on any other happenings.
Discovery Credit: Michael Yuji, Images via Pixabay
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