Using BSPWM as guest

Hey friends,

not sure if this is the correct forum, but I assume it fits.

I noticed something strange. Since I switched to linux a few years ago, I most likely tried to use KVM/QEMU with virtmanager for my hobby. This involves installations of specific distributions, such as Kali Linux or Parrot Security. Installing these distros works just as fine as with VirtualBox or VMware, however, my specific setup uses Kali Linux with BSPWM, which is not their default.

Running Kali Linux with BSPWM with KVM/QEMU (Virt-Manager) results in a not working copy/paste functionality. I cannot use any shared clipboard, which makes the setup unusable, since this is a requirement. Running the exact same setup with VMware however works.

Note that this is not connected to Kali Linux, this happens to all other linux distributions I tested (Kali, Parrot, Debian, Ubuntu, Arch).

I tried to lookup the issue myself, investigated a bit about how shared clipboard works, but I couldn’t find anything that would answer me what the issue is. I’d love to ditch VMware entirely and just use KVM/QEMU, but as long as the copy & paste feature does not work, it’s not an option.

So are there any virtualization experts in here, that might know what the issue is?


This topic might be better within some sort of virtualization subforum, but I couldn’t find one.

Not sure if I remember correctly but maybe installing spice-vdagent helps.
If not, maybe someone who uses virt-manager can help more.


Looks like it does :smiley:

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It does not. As I stated, with the exact same setup (spice-vdagent installed on both VMs forgot to mention that explicitly), the copy & paste does work with VMware virtualization, but never with KVM/QEMU.

To top the issue even further: Running 1:1 the same VM (KVM/QEMU) with Gnome/KDE instead of BSPWM makes the clipboard usable, but once logged in with BSPWM it’s borked.

cc: @pebcak

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Could be something with the configration of bspwm?
I’m not familiar with bspwm, but here we have users that use it as a daily driver. Hopefully they can shed some light to it.

Ships with

And I would bet BSPWM needs something like dex to make use of xdg autostart.
Or you need to start this with what BSPWM uses for autostart manually

spide-vdagent is installed and running.

After weeks of experimenting, I solved it.

spice-vdagent seems to crash for me in almost all cases, when using a WM like i3 or bspwm.

So two steps are requried to make it work:

Start the spice-vdagent service sudo systemctl start spice-vdagent & start (by typing) spice-vdagent into a terminal session. No clue why I have to type this in, but only seems to work if done this once at every boot.

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