Xen results

John Richard Moser nigelenki at comcast.net
Thu Feb 24 23:41:12 CST 2005


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I just put a 32 bit Hoary on my AMD64 and built myself a Xen kernel
(2.6.10), booted it fine.

Xen may be a potential target for Hoary+1.  It's very low maintenance,
aside from having to actually patch a Xen kernel (a patch doesn't seem
to be available, I had to xenify the tree usining a sparse tree).
Supplying a Xen kernel and tools in Universe may be a target of
opportunity.  This doesn't need to be considered until after Hoary's
release.

3.0 is scheduled for Q2 of 2005 and is supposed to be able to do AMD64,
so it might be possible to have 32 and 64 bit Ubuntu installed at the
exact same time; I'm not sure though.  All I know is that a 64 bit
installation under Xen will run 32 bit programs, according to the Xen
roadmap[1].

Actually supporting Xen requires a Xen kernel and some support programs.
 The Xen kernel for dom0 has direct hardware access and can be used for
dom0 or any other domain; the Xen kernel can also be built in
non-privileged mode without direct hardware access and used in other
domains, resulting in potentially more security* plus a 30% size reduction.

*I don't know if there's actual security implications, but there's no
need for extra stuff that you don't need, hence there's no need to care
about the security implications of running a dom0 kernel on other
domains; just make a non-privileged kernel.

Xen does not need to be integrated with the installer; however, it could
be possible to allow for a Xen installation as a dom0 (which supplies
the Xen kernel, bootloader, etc) or a different domain (which is just
installed, and brings a low-priv Xen kernel, which the dom0 OS needs to
figure out how to load).  This is, of course, asking extra questions in
the installer; it would only make sense to have a "xen" or "linux xen"
boot option to allow users who know what they're doing to get asked xen
related questions.

Anyway, just interesting things.  Xen would definitely be a nice piece
of work for maintainers, who could thrash their OS as much as they want
on their production machine (i.e. the one they IRC/email/mythtv from).
So would vmware or qemu but they're both slower.

[1] http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/Research/SRG/netos/xen/roadmap.html
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