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Muhammad Tajy

An Open Letter to Linus Tech Tips from The Passthrough Post

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We would’ve been happy to assist the Linus Tech Tips team had they notified us beforehand that they were using our guide to produce content. We want more visibility for VFIO as much as anyone else does. An email, tweet or discord message would have sufficed to gain our assistance in ironing out their methodology. They neglected to reach out to us, however, and as a result, put a lot of strain on the VFIO community with the inrush of new questions based on innacurate information and inexperience.

 

Setting up an OS X passthrough VM is a complicated undertaking, and misrepresenting the work involved was irresponsible. It’s loaded down the small population capable of doing support with problems that could have been addressed by ensuring the accuracy of the original video.

oof ._.

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Please format your post better.


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= Thread moved to General Discussion =

Your post does not meet the requirements for the Tech News forum so has been moved.
Additionally, please add some of your own input and thoughts to the original post.


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4 minutes ago, LukeLinusFanFic said:

Really? It didn't feel mispresented to me. It looked godawful difficult and not something that I, a techie would ever do without a damn good reason 

difficulty, maybe, but their point was that they take issue with a few technical aspects and the way to go about installing it

 

(which i'm not qualified to remotely guess. a few in the official thread already has weighed in and would be in a better position to comment)

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1 hour ago, VegetableStu said:

difficulty, maybe, but their point was that they take issue with a few technical aspects and the way to go about installing it

 

(which i'm not qualified to remotely guess. a few in the official thread already has weighed in and would be in a better position to comment)

Probably more than a few angles to look at this. I can understand the VFIO  community wishing that they were consulted but it's typically not as easy as that. Sure it's a nice idea but there's some practical issues like who actually are the people that run the VFIO community, how well can they be trusted and relied on etc along with the problem that once you have to interact with an external entity it adds on logistical complications for the LMG staff that could impact resourcing and scheduling.

 

Linus as far as I know very rarely reaches out for advice from the LTT community, in the way VFIO wants. Personally Linus has asked me once and I know that is because he didn't have an alternative person who he's got an existing working relationship with like Wendell. It's not enough that he knows I'm knowledgeable (IT professional) in the areas he's doing a video on, there needs to be a better reason than that to bring in external advice and rely on that for what is a business project that generates revenue. Who am I? Just some guy on the internet who knows some stuff, there's thousands and thousands of those.

 

When you publish a guide on how to do something you have no idea who is going to read or follow it, it may just happen to be someone with a large public profile who publicizes this action, like this situation. Most internet guides have issues with rigorous testing of them under many different environments to ensure that it will work for those using it as well as lacking typical errors and what they mean along with troubleshooting procedures, most paid software companies fail at this.

 

Most LTT guides tend to be more "this is what we did" rather than "this is how to do it correctly", even the latter is actually a hard one to go around stating/doing as many will raise counter points so unless you're the primary source it's best to not frame guides or advice that way. When they are wrong or lack some information or could be done in a better way it can be frustrating to see but the way I've always looked at it is this is educational entertainment, watching someone try and fail or do something wrong is still educational and actually very entertaining. I've given Linus a fair bit of stick more than once for getting stuff wrong but he knows, I think, that I don't really mean it. I highly enjoy his failures more than his successes.

 

But I know how the VFIO community feels to an extent, the reason I joined this forum was because of the 2 Gamers 1 CPU (unRAID) video which from my standpoint was leading people towards unwise purchasing and technical decisions. I voiced my opinion in the official topic for that video and then hung out in the Network and Servers And NAS (once it got created) sub-forums advising people asking about that video and wanting to do it on better and/or cheaper options that would be much more reliable and easier to use. Myself and about 2 or 3 other members were doing this, that continued after every video that featured unRAID and honestly it wasn't that much effort from us so I can't really see how it's such a big problem for VFIO. Annoying sure.

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8 hours ago, williamcll said:

Please format your post better.

 

It's a link, am I missing something or is there no other way to format it, it's literally just one thing. 


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I do not completely agree with their statements at all except a few things they mentioned about compatibility, (Especially about AMD CPU's and NVDIA, I don't remember if they are using an AMD CPU) but what the hell does "Manjaro/Arch" is not supported mean?

The entire process of passthrough just requires libvirt or QEMU and KVM + vfio, with vt-d support enabled in the bios which pretty much any linux distros can do

And in Arch it's actually easier, in the AUR you can get the latest ovmf firmware from the AUR or even the linux-vfio package with ACS patches applied and eventually every software in there will be updated as a newer kernel with the latest vfio updates

Also i don't even think they are using VirtIO, i don't know why they mentioned that, MacOS wouldn't even show the drive in that case, and my only concern about passthroughing raw nvme drives is about TRIM support is able to work fully (it could in theory)

Also, doesn't matter if you passthrough Windows, Linux or MacOS the result will absolutely be the same, the only issue with NVIDIA drivers only on windows is the error 43 but just because of their driver force-checking if they are running in a VM

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13 minutes ago, bradwiggo said:

 

It's a link, am I missing something or is there no other way to format it, it's literally just one thing. 

I'm guessing this thread was in the "tech news" subforum, if so, then that subforum has specific posting guidelines that this thread clearly doesn't comply with

 

The guidelines:

Spoiler

 

 

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^

That's the thing with a multitude of guides on Linux.

They are garbage to anyone but the "expert" who wrote it and their fellow "experts" who pat themselves for understanding it.
They are unable to put themselves in the shoes of someone who might not know as much as them and when asked about it, their inflated ego prevents them from realizing the potential issues with their guide and proceed to forward you toward some wiki or whatever to "learn more".


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5 minutes ago, TetraSky said:

They are garbage to anyone but the "expert" who wrote it and their fellow "experts" who pat themselves for understanding it.
They are unable to put themselves in the shoes of someone who might not know as much as them and when asked about it, their inflated ego prevents them from realizing the potential issues with their guide and proceed to forward you toward some wiki or whatever to "learn more".

But if you have problems all you need to do is be a grep and awk master and filter through the logs to find the specific error that you totally understand that tells you exactly what the issue is...... "Wait where are the logs kept? The hell is this crap, who can read that. I give up"

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2 minutes ago, LinusTech said:

I think there's a great lesson here for the vfio team, and the Linux community in general. 

 

No, people are not going to learn the inner workings of Linux just to try to use your guide. And no, most people aren't going to email you to let you know they're going to use it.

 

So if your guide isn't user-friendly and/or is incomplete in the first place, you can't be surprised when someone tries to follow it and can't figure it out or ends up kludging their way through it. 

 

A second lesson here is that if Anthony can't follow your guide, please see the above paragraph. 

 

Anyway, I've linked Anthony to this thread to have a look at it so we can make sure we get things as right as possible for some of the future content we have planned around this. 

The other side of that coin is that trying to run software on hardware that it doesn't support is not a simple point-and-click thing. It is not currently at the stage where it is supposed to be used by Joe Mac Content Creator.

 

You managed to get it working on your hardware, mostly, after what I presume was a significant time investment from Anthony, but as the open letter points out, you missed a few details, and there were issues with the guides that you were following too. If Anthony cannot follow the guide correctly, and ends up kludging his way through, perhaps that is a sign that this technology is not ready for prime time yet.

 

Most people won't email them to let them know that they are going to use it, but as someone making a guide that will get 1.8M views it might be worth making sure you are doing things right, so that the other people don't have to. If you're making the guide for people who don't know how to use bash, you should be sure that your guide will definitely work and not require them to go down that very deep rabbit hole.

 

I am not saying that you shouldn't make this type of video—I enjoy them, and I am all for encouraging more use of Linux. What I am saying is that I don't think it's fair to blame an experimental and unstable technology for not being user-friendly yet, and that making a user-friendly guide for technology like that is not going to be as simple as following a tutorial aimed at more experienced users.


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On 4/28/2019 at 5:40 PM, colonel_mortis said:
21 minutes ago, colonel_mortis said:

-snip-

Some people fail to realise that, if you're making a guide of a guide then you need to make sure yours works without a hitch and is more user-friendly even to the people who are experts who might be looking for a simpler version to send to a less experienced friend or colleague.

 

On 4/28/2019 at 5:14 PM, LinusTech said:

the ridiculous off-platform "open letter" instead of just posting on our forum or contacting us

Can you really blame them for posting an open letter on an off platform? We as your community know you take criticism well and it probably would not have been deleted but does the wider community know that? Other platforms say the same and the slightest critique they get on their own platform they delete it and ban the user. Two wrongs don't make a right and in any case, if Anthony or whoever you assign a project to doesn't understand something fully about the guide then they should ask questions as to not spread misinformation. Yes, it was a good video but some of the problems you ran into while filming could have been avoided unless that was the intention.

Edited by colonel_mortis
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15 hours ago, Muhammad Tajy said:

You should think about adding quotes from the article to your post.

Although a bit redundant, it helps spur discussion and is "more formal" than just posting a link.

 

Regarding the topic, I'm on the more clueless side about OS X VMs; however, I believe they* (Tyson O'Ham) should've communicated this through a more... professional means.

Edited by Imbellis
Added "they*" as "Tyson O'Ham.

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On the topic of hardware compatibility, the video title’s claim that the process will let you “Run OS X on any PC” is misleading.

 

Yeah, it's called bullshit clickbait. Their original title was awful, and then they made it worse by saying "any PC".


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4 hours ago, colonel_mortis said:

The other side of that coin is that trying to run software on hardware that it doesn't support is not a simple point-and-click thing. It is not currently at the stage where it is supposed to be used by Joe Mac Content Creator.

 

You managed to get it working on your hardware, mostly, after what I presume was a significant time investment from Anthony, but as the open letter points out, you missed a few details, and there were issues with the guides that you were following too. If Anthony cannot follow the guide correctly, and ends up kludging his way through, perhaps that is a sign that this technology is not ready for prime time yet.

 

Most people won't email them to let them know that they are going to use it, but as someone making a guide that will get 1.8M views it might be worth making sure you are doing things right, so that the other people don't have to. If you're making the guide for people who don't know how to use bash, you should be sure that your guide will definitely work and not require them to go down that very deep rabbit hole.

 

I am not saying that you shouldn't make this type of video—I enjoy them, and I am all for encouraging more use of Linux. What I am saying is that I don't think it's fair to blame an experimental and unstable technology for not being user-friendly yet, and that making a user-friendly guide for technology like that is not going to be as simple as following a tutorial aimed at more experienced users.

Hmm I think you might misunderstand my frustration here. I don't care that their guide was ass, tbh. 

 

I'll have to go back and re-watch the video (on a plane rn and connection sucks) but I don't recall us positioning our video as the be-all and end-all guide to doing this (we rarely do).

 

If we did then that's a clear swing and a miss on our part. 

 

If we didn't, then the best thing is to just proceed with our follow up videos and get things as correct as we can moving forward. 

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3 hours ago, LinusTech said:

Hmm I think you might misunderstand my frustration here. I don't care that their guide was ass, tbh. 

 

I'll have to go back and re-watch the video (on a plane rn and connection sucks) but I don't recall us positioning our video as the be-all and end-all guide to doing this (we rarely do).

 

If we did then that's a clear swing and a miss on our part. 

 

If we didn't, then the best thing is to just proceed with our follow up videos and get things as correct as we can moving forward. 

Your video literally did the opposite, unless something went way over my head.

 

After reading this article I think it is either a big clout chasing scheme or very easily triggered nerds writing their hearts out.

 

The reason I say that is because 99% of the issues they poised are what I, (a linux noob, but otherwise well-informed PC and Mac enthusiast), would consider common sense. Or even worse, these are things you mentioned in the video!

 

Below (in a spoiler tag, since it is long) is a copy paste of their main points of issue and a measure of their validity

 

Spoiler
  • There are issues with the OVMF firmware in the Khoila Github Repository mentioned in the video. It has a resolution bug that is fixed in the firmware linked in our guide and most newer guides in general. As a rule of thumb, don’t mix guides in the middle of following them when you’re attempting something as complicated as a passthrough VM. [The first half of this I did not know. But the idea of not switching guides halfway through should be obvious]

     

  • This process requires prior knowledge of several complex pieces of software. Please read through a more generic passthrough guide or documentation on KVM and qemu/libvirt. Knowledge of these are prerequisite for making OS X passthrough work. I’d recommend attempting passthrough with a more mundane guest OS, like Windows or Linux, to get a feel for the process, if you have the time. [Im not sure why they even bring this up other than to stroke their own ego. It again should be quite obvious that to use KVM you need to know KVM]

  • Manjaro is not required as a host OS for KVM/Qemu. Nearly any Linux distribution will work. That said, we recommend against using Manjaro, Ubuntu, Mint, and a few other distributions, because they make the setup process more difficult or make support problematic. In Manjaro’s case, it isn’t fully compatible with its base distribution, Arch Linux. Far fewer people are familiar with Manjaro’s anachronisms than Arch, and the superficial similarity usually leads people astray. If you want access to Arch’s bleeding edge software without the hassle of setting it up, I recommend using one of many upstream faithful Arch-based distros, like Antergos, Anarchy Linux, or SwagArch. [Even me, who at their very best can install something from Github in terminal without googling, knew that Manjaro was a bad choice for the reason they provided.]

  • The video uses an NVMe drive instead of an image on fast media for the VM. This raises 1 of 2 issues: They might be using VirtIO, which can degrade performance because OS X does not officially support VirtIO devices and does not provide accelerated VirtIO guest drivers. Otherwise, they were passing through the raw NVMe device, and that would complicate setup in a different way, but they did not explain their methods fully. [True with literally every Hackintosh. This is not special to the method LTT showed. That is just how macOS virtualization works]

  • High Sierra was used in the Tech Tips Tutorial, but it isn’t mentioned why. The reason is that Mojave and likely all future versions of OS X drop support for 10 series Nvidia GPUs. Nvidia passthrough on Mojave won’t work even if you do everything else correctly. [Quite possibly the most known fact of macOS is that nVidia support might as well have died with the 2011 MBP. Linus very clearly stated that he went out of his way to make the least compatible system possible, and the writers' lack of awareness to that makes me wonder if he even watched the video. It is also kind of funny that these guys, who view themselves as so mighty in the realm of macOS virtualization that their time isn't worth an e-mail, refer to the very OS they supposedly specialize in by a name it has not held since 2015 (El Capitan was the last "OSX".]

  • On the topic of hardware compatibility, the video title’s claim that the process will let you “Run OS X on any PC” is misleading. KVM has a strict set of compatibility requirements for passthrough, and OS X is incredibly finnicky outside of native hardware. You need a processor with virtualization extensions, and a motherboard/chipset with proper IOMMU isolation. This functionality is restricted to high end desktop platforms and servers out of the box. Other hardware combinations typically need tweaks and patching to work properly, further complicating setup. Many AMD GPUs have issues with resetting in VMs. Nvidia 10 and 20 series GPUs are only conditionally supported or lack support entirely. Other PCIe cards, like USB controllers and sound interfaces, need to be evaluated on a case by case basis. Mojave Requires SSE 4.2 for its graphical environment to work, which eliminates a lot of older architectures that have virtualization capability. These constraints are different, but not necessarily more forgiving than the ones for setting up a normal Hackintosh. [Spewing random facts that anybody who can build a PC would probably know, other than the one about IOMMU. Clearly, these guys also did not know about LTT prior to this, as Linus very well knows how bad AMD GPU's handle resetting in VM's. They also appear to have made a mistake. I am currently using macOS Mojave on a processor that predates SSE4.2 by a full year (Merom C2D. Nahlem i7's were the first to see this extension of SSE4) with absolutely no issues. They also totally neglected the requirement of Metal support, which lacking can cause anything from full-on KP issues to a very buggy and unusable UI.]

  • No matter how successful the OS X setup process is, it will not be safe to update your VM. Certain native apps, like iMessage and AirDrop, will not function properly (without a lot of additional work.) In addition, the majority of wireless cards will not work when passed through directly to the VM. [I'll give them a pass on this. To my knowledge, this is Linus' first real attempt at hackintoshing. Even DosDude's macOS Mojave Patcher does not support macOS version updates, much less a true hackintosh. As to Wi-Fi cards, most motherboards to my knowledge use Intel cards which are absolutely 100% impossible to make work in macOS. Swap out for a Broadcom card and you're fine.]

  • There are several other bizarre claims made in the video. For example, the version of Qemu they chose to use did not boot correctly at one point, and they cited some sort of ‘VM Lockout’ as the reason for the issue. This is, to our knowledge, false. The security that has to be circumvented in setting up an OS X VM (like the OSK) is common to all Hackintosh projects. [It was an OS lockout, not a VM lockout. Linus was one word off. But, it did change the meaning greatly so fair enough.]

If you read through all that, feel free to correct me as (as I said) I am not the best at this stuff. Especially Linux.


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I believe that Anthony did an exceptional job with that video, and specifically with that guide. It is not by any means an AIO guide-follow these 5 easy steps. BUT it is MUCH more efficient and helpful, than to sit through a whole documentation(which Anthony probably did).

 

Also, don't get discouraged by such unprofessional means. We look forward to more videos of such kind(Linux Gaming, Linux VMs, Linux guides in general).

 

Bottom line: to the average pc/mac user this video guide won't mean that much. A functioning potato that could browse and post on social media would be just enough. However, for people like myself and other tech enthusiasts, who are not really deep into the OS and it's billion different distros, as well as the commands needed to perform such tasks, these guides are treasure.

 

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The truth is somewhere in the middle.   The fact is both the original guide and the video forgot that most people won't have the technical ability to understand them.  The T in STEM is Technology.  LTT's people work at the level of people with degrees or advanced degrees in tech.. whether they have them or not. 

 

So LTT can make a video based on a unclear or badly written guide by VFIO or and others forgeting the average person(s) watching that video might just make a big mess if they follow it.   

I love videos like this...but maybe an intro like this would've helped a bit for this one. 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, LinusTech said:

Hmm I think you might misunderstand my frustration here. I don't care that their guide was ass, tbh. 

 

I'll have to go back and re-watch the video (on a plane rn and connection sucks) but I don't recall us positioning our video as the be-all and end-all guide to doing this (we rarely do).

 

If we did then that's a clear swing and a miss on our part. 

 

If we didn't, then the best thing is to just proceed with our follow up videos and get things as correct as we can moving forward. 

Fair enough, I misinterpreted your post a bit.

 

That being said, I still think it is fair to get in contact with the maintainers of projects like this when you make a video about it. It's not required, and Anthony does a very good job with these types of projects, but I don't think it would do any harm to make sure you haven't missed anything. IIRC a similar post was made by PlayOnLinux last time you and Anthony made a video about it, and just a bit of interaction with them would help to avoid that.


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