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Red Hat Software Linux

Red Hat Open Sources SPICE Desktop Virtualization 79

laxl writes "Linux vendor Red Hat has open sourced the Simple Protocol for Independent Computing Environment (SPICE) virtual desktop protocol it acquired last year with Qumranet, which used SPICE for its own commercial desktop-virtualization product, called SolidIce. SPICE can be used to deploy virtual desktops from a server out to remote computers, such as desktop PCs and thin-client devices. It is similar to other rendering protocols used for remote desktop management such as Microsoft's Remote Desktop Protocol or Citrix's Independent Computing Architecture. SPICE supports rendering virtual instances of Windows XP and Windows 7, as well as Red Hat Enterprise Linux. According to Red Hat, SPICE has advantages over other protocols in that it can dynamically customize desktop instances to fit specific operating environments. According to the article, most of the SPICE code is available under the GNU GPLv2, though parts are also licensed under LGPL- and BSD-styled licenses."
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Red Hat Open Sources SPICE Desktop Virtualization

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  • Dune (Score:5, Funny)

    by ckulpa ( 611178 ) <> on Friday December 11, 2009 @10:38AM (#30401500) Journal
    I wonder what the CHOAM will think about this?
  • by Octorian ( 14086 ) on Friday December 11, 2009 @10:41AM (#30401544) Homepage

    Seriously, SPICE stands for "Simulation Program with Integrated Circuit Emphasis" and is a circuit simulator.

    (If this was a couple years ago, I'd rant that UML stands for "Unified Modeling Language" (not User-Mode-Linux), or that X stands for "X Window System" (Not MacOS 10))

    • by sakdoctor ( 1087155 ) on Friday December 11, 2009 @10:52AM (#30401690) Homepage

      He who controls the SPICE controls the universe. (Unless it's been open sourced)

    • When I saw this story, I thought, "When did Red Hat enter the engineering design market?!"
      • My thoughts, in order: (I get /. feeds via my Google home page.)

        "Holy shit, SPICE is open source now?"

        "When did Red Hat buy SPICE?"

        "Why would Red Hat buy SPICE?"

        "Hopefully there's some documentation."

        "Oh, they mean SPICE, not SPICE."

        "Maybe I can post something like 'as an EE, fuck you for getting my hopes up'."

        "Aw, Octorian's posted about SPICE."

        "Fucking Slashdot."

        • Calm down. Did you forget about the several open source and public domain SPICE implementations, including the original SPICE? It's actually kind of bizarre.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      So, would this be a bad time to introduce my newly designed thin-client PC called the "Generic Network Unit" (GNU) and my new programming language for thin client computer graphics, the "GNU Graphics Programming Language" (GNU GPL)?

    • by MobyDisk ( 75490 )

      This was the first thing I thought of too.

    • by bperkins ( 12056 )

      I agree that it's annoying, though in my experience people never refer to SPICE without prefacing it with "Berkeley". SPICE all by itself is used as a generic term.

      TFA could also use some more references. It sounds intriguing, but I've been around long enough to be distrustful of what's in press releases.

    • by Speare ( 84249 ) on Friday December 11, 2009 @11:42AM (#30402364) Homepage Journal
      Yeah, and while we're at it, NASA: "Orion" means exploding nukes under a blast plate, not providing a cushy crew cabin. :)
      • by Ded Bob ( 67043 )

        To MIB, "Orion" is a cat.

        Two for the price of one joke. :)

      • Yeah, and while we're at it, NASA: "Orion" means exploding nukes under a blast plate, not providing a cushy crew cabin. :)

        I enjoy when the names they pick have myths that somewhat match the goals of the project.

        So for the original 'Orion' would Hephaestus have been more appropriate? What's a good myth for 'Lighting a fire under your ass'?

        Project 'Wan Hu'?

    • Tru dat. This forces me to boycott Red Hat from now on.
    • no, SPICE is someone's idea of a clever attempt at manufacturing a cool-sounding acronym based on an extremely short and common word (the only one that's shorter and more common might be ICE, which this is derived from).
      No one can claim ownership on such a stupid, short, generic acronym. There are at least 20,000 meanings of "ICE", and adding "SP" on the front does not make you special or original. They're both lame, get over it.

      This is not nearly as bad as Microsoft calling its product "Windows", or Google

      • the only one that's shorter and more common might be ICE, which this is derived from

        Really? I thought it was derived from aromatic herbs.

    • I have yet to see worse than overloading IP to mean both "Internet Protocol" and "Intellectual Property". Now that's confusing.

            --- Mr. DOS

    • Pedantic, I know, but it's a pet peeve with me.

      Although SPICE could be a legitimate acronym, neither UML nor X would be acronyms, they would be abbreviations.

      Examples of acronyms; radar - RAdio Detecting And Ranging, sonar - SOunt NAvagation Ranging Examples of abbreviations; IBM, XML
    • by Creepy ( 93888 )

      exactly my first thought... you'd think there would be some originality with FLAs* that you can't really get with TLAs*@...

      * Five Letter Acronyms
      *@ Three Letter Acronyms

  • How many thinclients/hosts support the protocol to connect to it?
    Isn't this different from RDP or ICA which are pretty much supported everywhere?
  • VDI here we come (Score:2, Insightful)

    by gedw99 ( 1597337 )
    This really solves the last remaining hurdle for VDI thin client vertical engineering domain. Going to grab the git source tonight and test it out. Would be cool if an in browser NSAPI based plugin architecture was built on this. Run your thin clients on Google OS ( or something else), and then you can run all your legacy fat clients on your virtual servers and your uses just access them through a browser. I noticed that people have even worked on Javascript level RDP and No-machine client implementation
  • Why would they take the name of an existing well-known software program?

  • Very cool I think. (Score:3, Informative)

    by erktrek ( 473476 ) on Friday December 11, 2009 @11:04AM (#30401848)

    I currently use NXClient w/Neatx for that kind of remote access/management. It works well with both Linux and Windows backends.

    I guess the difference is accessing various os's with a single protocol rather than using NX & RDP (like the NXclient does) + also possibly getting around some of the builtin limitations (available only on certain flavors of Windows, limited # accesses by default etc) of RDP.

    Sounds interesting if the performance is decent.

  • I've seen a dozen blog posts in my reader about this, and I have been unable to far to figure out WTF that thing is supposed to do. Is it a remote display protocol? If so, how does it differ from RDP or NX?

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by diegocg ( 1680514 )

      If so, how does it differ from RDP or NX?

      It seems to be better []

      Graphic commands - processes and transmits 2D graphic commands
      Video streaming - heuristically identifies video streams and transmits M-JPEG video streams
      Image compression - offers verios compression algorithm that were built specifically for Spice, including QUIC (based on SFALIC), LZ, GLZ (history-based global dictionary), and auto (heuristic compression choice per image)
      Hardware cursor - processes and transmits cursor-specific commands
      Image, pa

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by AlXtreme ( 223728 )

      Is it a remote display protocol? If so, how does it differ from RDP or NX?

      It's more Citrix than RDP or NX. You have a Linux server with multiple qemu/kvm instances, each of which are accessed from a client (Linux/Windows).

      The advantage is that you can have multiple clients on a single server, push CPU/GPU-intensive display operations to the client and have access to client-side hardware from within the virtualized server instance.

      Normally I'd add a RTFA-sneer, but I read through the site and am only moderat

    • by gedw99 ( 1597337 )
      The difference is HUGE. They are able to export the opengl command to the client or not to the client. so its not just compressed jpegs like all the others. google virtualGL as this did it too. G
  • are there any remote-desktoppy protocols/systems out there that do the Right Thing(TM) with a two-screen client machine? I'd like to move to Terminal Services (or NoMachine/SPICE/Whatever) for performance reasons, but giving up on my niche 2 screens (one for IDE, one for the software i'm developing/testing to run on) would be kinda a step back.
  • where they demoed this and other VM technologies. I think that RH has some really interesting VM Management stuff in the pipeline. The nice thing about SPICE is your browser is the client.

  • by cerberusss ( 660701 ) on Friday December 11, 2009 @11:57AM (#30402540) Homepage Journal

    From the summary:

    Simple Protocol for Independent Computing Environment (SPICE) supports rendering virtual instances of Windows XP and Windows 7, as well as Red Hat Enterprise Linux

    (Emphasis mine). Aha, so it's platform independent? And they support... Two! *badum-ching* operating systems: Windows and Linux. Compare that to VNC, of which it is hard to find an OS that doesn't support it.

    • If its Open source then what is to stop you from taking said source and compiling it for your chosen platform?

      Nowt methinks.

    • by caseih ( 160668 )

      VNC is definitely not in the same league as SPICE. SPICE more directly compares with and competes with Citrix and MS Terminal Server. It not only ports the display, it can port individual apps, connects drives and printers, and is capable of doing fancy graphical things like movie playback in a way that's much more optimal and efficient than VNC can do. SPICE might compare in some measure to NX, but NX is really about optimizing an X11 command stream, which is only an X11 thing, so it's of more limited u

  • by mcrbids ( 148650 ) on Friday December 11, 2009 @01:45PM (#30404314) Journal

    This is yet another example of too many to name, of Red Hat being an all-around bunch of warm and fuzzy penguins, guys! And this is so typical of them: buy a proprietary product, and as soon as they decide to do something with it, they open source it first!

    RedHat has NEVER deviated from their policy of releasing SRPMS for all their stuff. You can very literally roll your own distro simply by taking their SRPM and compiling them! And a number of groups have done just that: White Box Linux [], CentOS [] and Scientific Linux [].

    Red Hat employs some of the most prolific contributors to the Linux Kernel and is a vital force in making Linux what it is today. Go Red Hat!

    PS: No, I don't work for them, just a very happy customer!

  • SPICE? (Score:3, Funny)

    by EQ ( 28372 ) on Friday December 11, 2009 @01:58PM (#30404474) Homepage Journal
    If the plural of mouse is mice, shouldn't the plural of spouse be spice? /pinky
  • by Natales ( 182136 ) on Friday December 11, 2009 @02:10PM (#30404638)

    This is not a bad thing. For years, the only alternatives for virtual desktops were either proprietary (ICA comes to mind) or OS-dependent (Sun ALP, MSFT RDP, X, NX), leaving VNC as the only OS-independent option. VNC was (and still is) great, but let's face it, it was never intended to be used for real massive VDI-type deployments, even over the WAN. SPICE is supposed to have a good LAN performance, but still doesn't quite cut it for long latencies over the WAN. May be with this move, SPICE can be improved to also address those use cases.

    For now, the most advanced thing I've seen is Teradici's PCoIP protocol that works really well in any environment, and they licensed it to VMware to be used in the new View 4 product line as a pure software implementation (as a disclaimer, I work for VMware, but PCoIP blew my mind way before we did anything with them).

    In any case, 2010 is shaping to be the year of the virtual desktop, and competition is a good thing!

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by h4rr4r ( 612664 )

      Too bad vmware decided not to compete for my business. No management from a linux box means I am not buying it.

      Any idea if they will ever fix that little oversight?

      • by Natales ( 182136 )

        h4rr4r, I would love to comment on this, but I'm under NDA rules... in any case, I can say a lot of very interesting thing are coming from VMware in 2010 that will show there is still a lot of room for innovation in this field.

        I encourage you to reach out to your VMware Systems Engineer and ask for an NDA Roadmap for the Management products. You'll leave that meeting with a smile, and the same warm and cozy feeling you get after having some nice pasta... ;-)

    • by Macka ( 9388 )

      SPICE is supposed to have a good LAN performance, but still doesn't quite cut it for long latencies over the WAN

      Can you back up that statement with something solid, or are you just being a nice VMware employee and FUDing the competition before it gets chance to eat your lunch?

  • I'd rather they fixed Windows guest support. I've tried it (in Ubuntu Karmic), and it's horrible if you want to run Windows in it (both XP and Win7). Very slow, timer lags behind, network and disk throughput are super slow even with virtio guest drivers. Linux runs fine as a guest on the same box.

    I guess it's unfair to _demand_ anything if something cost you zero dollars (gifted horse thing and all), but VMWare ESX and HyperV Server also cost zero dollars these days, and they both run Windows just fine.

    • by h4rr4r ( 612664 )

      I am running several Windows machines in kvm, what kind of hardware were you using?

      Server 2008 seems to running very fast and the clock is just fine. None of those no-cost options offer live migrate or many other features.

  • Saw Brian Madden's video's recently with the results of their testing/comparison of ICA, RDP, SPICE see: [] It was very clear that SPICE far outperformed either ICA or RDP.

panic: kernel trap (ignored)