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  • Running a Virtual Win on a Linux Machine

    First, a quick example of a comment from another thread:

    Originally posted by Pete View Post
    Microsoft SAPI text to speech fonts can be run on your computer at home with no dependencies on the Internet...

    <snip>

    Running a Linux Oracle virtual box of Windows lets me run Windows only plugins remotely speaking to the mothership HS3 running in Linux.
    In addition to a few different discussions of the superiority of MS based voice recognition compared to HS3's own, there is the fact that the HSTouch Design software only works on Windows. Throw into this that there are a few games that I haven't been able to get playing well under Wine and I'm seeing more and more a need to have some native Windows option. The thing is though, I have no interest in using it outside these couple specific use cases.

    I'm leaning more and more to having a virtual server running somewhere with probably Win7. I use, literally, hundreds of VMs at work spread across multiple data centers. There are very few physical machines in the IT world any more. I'd say 90% are Linux based but we have a scattering of Win servers in there due to various vendors having Windows-only solutions. So the concept is not new to me.

    But I've never setup and run a virtual machine on my own before. I know a few people here do it and I'd REALLY appreciate some direction.

    For example, right now I see key/download options of Win7 for under $25. This is reasonable IMO. But there are Win7 Pro, Win7 Ultimate SP1, and Win7 Home Premium. Is there really any difference as long as I ensure it's a 64bit option? Is there a preference?

    Next, what extra headroom should I assume for my physical computer if it's going to have a Win7 VM running 24/7? It would need near-cosntant availability for the MS SAPI calls that would come from a HS-SEL Linux device.

    I was going to pick up a basic desktop for my office with maybe 16G of RAM. I do some (very) light gaming, basic video and audio editing, hobby programming, and would probably be running a Kodi instance to talk back to the main HTPC running Emby (Plex-like media server). Nothing too taxing. I am hoping that I can just boost my RAM by an extra couple G and have a VM running there on the side for the SAPI, and launch into it graphically from Linux when I need one of the Win-only tasks.

    Another alternative, I suppose, would be to get a micro-form PC but looking around the web this looks to be a minimum of about $150 for anything decent + the Windows license. And it adds yet another piece of hardware.

    Anyone here that runs a Windows VM on a Linux machine that would not mind sharing some info, personal experience, and maybe a little Q&A time would be greatly appreciated.

    advTHANKSance!

  • #2
    Originally posted by Beowulf View Post
    ...

    For example, right now I see key/download options of Win7 for under $25. This is reasonable IMO. But there are Win7 Pro, Win7 Ultimate SP1, and Win7 Home Premium. Is there really any difference as long as I ensure it's a 64bit option? Is there a preference?
    I run VMs under Hyper-v so I can't help you with other hosts. All flavors of Windows 7 except Home Premium support RDP. If you use Windows Home you will have to use another method for desktop access like VNC, Teamviewer, etc. I prefer to use RDP, so I run Pro versions on my VMs. Between Pro and Ultimate there is little difference, except that Ultimate has more language support.
    Randy Prade
    Aurora, CO
    Prades.net

    PHLocation - Pushover - EasyTrigger - UltraECM3 - Ultra1Wire3 - Arduino

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    • #3
      I did keep one Windows server on line which is utilized today for HSTouch design, UPB design and diagnostics and the HAI OP2 PC Access software. (using serial and UPB ports to hardware) I access it only via RDP. The VB running for SAPI on the linux mothership also can be accessed via RDP.

      Dedicated PFSense (BSD), MythTV, NAS (BSD), Zoneminder boxes here. Zoneminder is a left over from the days that I was using a dedicated 8 port CCTV card and Axis server - even though now it is all IP.

      Office computer (one of two home offices) is single purpose with 2-3 desktop monitors and one connection to a 36" LCD mounted on a wall not really utilized much but with HD antenna (in house TV) and an autonomous Intel / Ubuntu 16.04 KODI box (which is my preference for KODI over Android or Windows). I also have a dedicated test Windows 10 box, multitouch LCD and Kinect device on the desk for testing remote Kinect and Alexa and HSTouch plugins on Windows 10. One office is still using a tower case (with new motherboard) under the desk so I can kick it if I want to. The test HSTouch computer is a micro computer tacked to the back of the multitouch monitor. 2nd office is a micro computer, larger single LCD and smaller desk.

      Old Homeseer 2 boxes were running on a thin build of Windows server. Early Homeseer 3 boxes also ran on a thin build of Windows server then migrated these to Linux. Irrigation today still runs mcsSprinklers on a Seagate Dockstar Debian POE connected and inside of the old Rainbird irrigation box (many years now).

      So yeah here while I state that Homeseer is running on Linux and it is I still do have dependences on Windows servers (real or VMs).

      Work was totally different. IE: I had to make an old SCO box work with a new Cisco switch once a few years back. This box ran for some 20 plus years; never failed. It was a learning experience. Son is an IT manager currently moving a majority of his stuff to AWS these days while concurrently increasing his staff or resources (which he really will not need soon).
      Last edited by Pete; May 7th, 2017, 03:29 PM.
      - Pete

      Auto mator
      Homeseer 3 Pro - 3.0.0.534 (Linux) - Ubuntu 18.04/W7e 64 bit Intel Haswell CPU - Mono 6.4X
      Homeseer Zee2 (Lite) - 3.0.0.534 (Linux) - Ubuntu 18.04/W7e - CherryTrail x5-Z8350 BeeLink 4Gb BT3 Pro - Mono 6.4X

      X10, UPB, Zigbee, ZWave and Wifi MQTT automation.

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      • #4
        Thanks to you both. Some good details I was not aware of and some new things to think about.

        Pete: It sounds like you're running a Win VM to provide SAPI right on the same server that you run HS3 under Linux. I'm not familiar with SAPI at all yet. Does it work best if it's localized on the same server or can it be on a different physical device? I'm still leaning to a SEL appliance for HS3 if practical. My home will be fully hardwired for all HA so I'm not worried about network time.

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        • #5
          I'm running virtual machines using vmware esxi, a bare metal hypervisor. It's free and running on an hp ml350 I inherited for free with 24 cores and 48 gig of memory. The only time it ever reboots is when my house looses power for an extended period. It's rock solid. I've been playing with Linux voices for awhile now, but they really are terrible. Also Homeseer has some issues when speaking on Linux that nobody including Homeseer tech seems to care about so I'll probably spin up a version of widoze in a vm as well.
          If it ain't broke, don't fix it!

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          • #6
            Originally posted by happnatious1 View Post
            ...running on an hp ml350 I inherited for free with 24 cores and 48 gig of memory...
            Every time I hear one of those stories I keep thinking I need to make different friends.

            Seriously though, thanks for all the replies so far. I definitely see myself going with a virtual Win install to support my needs. Just a matter of mapping out what I want to share vs run independent and what would be needed to support that.

            For example I was going to have a basic machine with 2x hot-swap bays in RAID-1 (to support simple off-site archive by rotating disks in) to serve as my primary Emby (Plex-like) media server. Since this will be near my theater I was going to probably run Kodi right on it and have it double-duty as my HTPC for the theater room. It's only going to get used a few hours/week in this regard so didn't see much risk here.

            Then the HS3 SEL appliance.

            And a desktop in my office (~50+ foot cable run distant) that I will probably build out heavy enough to host a VM running Win7 Pro in addition to my normal Linux load.

            OR

            I get lucky and find a server-class device like mentioned above at a reasonable cost. It appears some refurbished rack-mounts can be pretty cheap (anyone here have one you don't want ). Setup a VM for Win7 for my HSTouch Designer, another VM for HS3, another for Emby, and maybe a smallish VM for "extra" server duty ( Minecraft, anyone? ). I just don't know if it would be safe having HS3 and a home media server running on the same device. May still need to isolate HS rather than an all-in-one hosting.

            Ugh! I wish some times there weren't so many options available.

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            • #7
              It sounds like you're running a Win VM to provide SAPI right on the same server that you run HS3 under Linux.

              Yes - running 4 instances of speaker dot exe on the Windows VB.

              I'm not familiar with SAPI at all yet.

              Does it work best if it's localized on the same server or can it be on a different physical device?


              Speaker dot exe / MS SAPI can be run on a different wintel physical device and works the same either way. (WinCE, XP, XPe, W7, W7e, W8e and W10)

              I run it on all of my HSTouch embedded wintel consoles (16-20). HSTouch client has buttons to turn on and off the sound. I run different voice fonts on the HSTouch consoles.
              You cannot do that using the audio from the HSTouch client.
              - Pete

              Auto mator
              Homeseer 3 Pro - 3.0.0.534 (Linux) - Ubuntu 18.04/W7e 64 bit Intel Haswell CPU - Mono 6.4X
              Homeseer Zee2 (Lite) - 3.0.0.534 (Linux) - Ubuntu 18.04/W7e - CherryTrail x5-Z8350 BeeLink 4Gb BT3 Pro - Mono 6.4X

              X10, UPB, Zigbee, ZWave and Wifi MQTT automation.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Pete View Post
                Speaker dot exe / MS SAPI can be run on a different wintel physical device and works the same either way. (WinCE, XP, XPe, W7, W7e, W8e and W10)

                I run it on all of my HSTouch embedded wintel consoles (16-20). HSTouch client has buttons to turn on and off the sound. I run different voice fonts on the HSTouch consoles.
                You cannot do that using the audio from the HSTouch client.
                Ah! At first I was thinking this is along the lines of using Amazon's TTS API where SAPI was providing a middleware-style resource. Instead it's a client-side functinoality, correct?

                So for someone running HSTouch on Android based tablets ( Kindle, etc. ) you couldn't make use of this. But if you had a Windows based HSTouch device then you can?

                (like I said...not yet familiar)

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                • #9
                  you guys got me thinking now. If I just need some version of windows running on a VM for SAPI which version has the smallest foot print and requires the least amount of resources? I'm sure I have just about every version lying around somewhere!
                  If it ain't broke, don't fix it!

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                  • #10
                    Instead it's a client-side functionality, correct?

                    On the test Windows 10 also tested Kinect and Alex (Spud's) plugin with the multitouch touchscreen. (and Cortana)

                    Well and the test Windows 10 HSTouch box runs W10, Android and Ubuntu. Easiest to remote control with the mothership is Windows. (same as XPe)

                    which version has the smallest foot print and requires the least amount of resources?

                    XP Lite or XPe or W7e. First XPe Homeseer touch tablets were around 4Gb and ran fine with 500Mb on a dual threaded Atom.
                    Last edited by Pete; May 8th, 2017, 06:29 PM.
                    - Pete

                    Auto mator
                    Homeseer 3 Pro - 3.0.0.534 (Linux) - Ubuntu 18.04/W7e 64 bit Intel Haswell CPU - Mono 6.4X
                    Homeseer Zee2 (Lite) - 3.0.0.534 (Linux) - Ubuntu 18.04/W7e - CherryTrail x5-Z8350 BeeLink 4Gb BT3 Pro - Mono 6.4X

                    X10, UPB, Zigbee, ZWave and Wifi MQTT automation.

                    Comment

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