Is Gnome Boxes the KVM killer?

I was replying in my topic and Gnome Boxes was mentioned by @fbodymechanic.
I had been messing around with Oracle Virtual Box and Virtmanager with Qemu, and it’s not the easisest to configure. @fbodymechanic said he uses Gnome Boxes, because he is lazy, haha, so I gave it a try and he is right. in literally 2 mouse clicks the session is up and running.

I haven’t tried other DE’s, but I am guessing its agnostic.

For me, Gnome Boxes has knocked it out of the park. It uses very little resources and it is really fast on my i3 laptop with only 8GB RAM.

What do you think?


Gnome boxes is just a front-end for libvirtd. It uses the exact same technology as virt-manager. In fact, you can even manage your gnome boxes vms in virt-manager if you want to.

In other words, gnome boxes is kvm/qemu under the covers.


I’ve been raving about Gnome Boxes performance in simplicity and ease of use for years, but some users just like to use things that give them a headache. To each their own I suppose, but my use with Gnome Boxes has always been pleasant and dare I say fun!


I’ve tried gnome-boxes just one time and I left it because I didn’t find a way to set where to save VM files. Is the only issue for me to not use it and stay with VirtualBox. My SSD is tiny, only 128gb, so I need to save VM files on a partition in secondary (mechanical) disk.

Would it work, you think, if you mounted that partition at ~/.local/share/gnome-boxes/images ?

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You can always relocate the vm files outside on gnome boxes. You can change the settings with virt-manager or virsh.


Thank you, guys, my home folder is on a tiny partition too, but I guess a symlink could do the job and save VM files on my desired location. I’ll search more information and try it next week.

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Good to know. But you agree there is less configuration and it uses minimal resource?

You have confirmed what I was thinking about it. My experience was superb and if it is just a front end, then it’s a really good one. It seems Gnome have paid attention to all the threads complaining how hard the others are to set up.

With all this good advice, from @dalto and @pebcak, I think Gnome Boxes will work for you.

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Gnome boxes is definitely a low configuration/low flexibility tool. It does what it does in a very simple and easy to use manner but struggles when you need to do something outside of that. It is a trade-off.

As for minimal resources, I am not sure it uses more/less resources than any other VM solution. They all have relatively overhead.

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Don’t like Gnome boxes. I’ll stick to v-box and vmware. These are my go to.

Less configuration possibilities and “minimal resource” relative to what?

Link: What is the technology used by Boxes?

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It has less configuration than more or less every VM solution I have ever used. I mean, you more or less just point it to an ISO and let it work.

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Just tried gnome-boxes on Raspberry Pi and it didn’t work. It downloads the iso but gets stuck on the configuration menu and does nothing.
Did anyone try boxes on ARM before?

Simply that! Just do a simple
ln -s /path/to/destination/ /home/yourname/.local/share/gnome-boxes

If you already created VMs, they reside in in your userhome → .local/share/gnome-boxes by default.
So you would need to move that folder first to the desired destination. Then create the symlink to that new destination as shown above.

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How much RAM do you have?

Thanks for your advice, so great, so simple. I’ll try when VM KDE Neon finishes updating.

I have 8 GB RAM. I don’t think that is the issue here. I tried spinning a VM in virt-manager and these are the errors I have

did not find any uefi binary path for arch ‘aarch64’
acpi requires uefi on this architecture.

It seems that fixing this issue requires edk2-armvirt-git which I can’t install because seabios package isn’t available for me. I’m totally lost here.

Relative to things like Virt Manager, Virtual Box, and VMware, Gnome boxes is pretty barren. It does some of the work itself but the rest would require knowing how to manually configure VMs config files. Boxes can do all the same stuff as it’s just an alternative GUI but the GUI doesn’t have as many options.