Importing Xen from sid into dapper universe

Tom Hibbert tom.ubuntu at
Sun Jun 4 05:48:30 BST 2006

Now that Dapper has been released, I have investigated importing the Xen
packages from Sid into Dapper Universe. If it had turned out trivial, I
would be proposing to do it. Unfortunately, it's not so trivial. The
packages build with a simple patch to support Python 2.4 (s/3/?/), but
they seem to be a little crippled.

Julien Danjou has opted to simplify packaging by rolling a large portion
of the Xen distribution into the xen-utils package, including libraries.
This is an apparent violation of policy, the reason given that the ABI
was too unstable to warrant a seperate library package.

 - Either we live with it, or Upstream rules can be patched to generate
library packages,
   creating extra load on Ubuntu packagers as they will need to keep
this patch up to date.

As a result, upstream no longer generates xenlinux patches. Patch
instead has been incorporated into the mammoth linux-2.6 package.

 - Upstream rules can be patched to regenerate xenlinux patches.
 - A one-off patch can be generated and distributed seperately.
 - Upstream patch can be applied to a linux-source-2.6.16 package, which
would need to be created.

Other work likely has to be done to make these packages play nice with
dapper, like making sure it can work with udev, and making sure
kernel-package can support building xen kernel images (see

The alternative is to keep improving on the packages currently in REVU
(descended from an earlier version of the rules used to generate the sid
packages), which will require more of my time. Fortunately, as of
Friday, I have ample time as I just left my job. However, I am sure my
unemployed status will be short lived. :-)

I would like to know how some uploaders feel about this. There are pros
and cons for each way to approach this type of packaging challenge. This
sort of merge must have been accomplished in the past.

Of course we could all just sit back and sip our pina coladas and wait
until Edgy opens to worry about Xen, but I would like to work from a
Dapper workstation running Edgy under Xen for development.

I welcome any comments and questions.

Thanks in advance

Tom Hibbert

PS: if anyone knows of vacancies suiting a 7+ year Debian admin with 3
years commercial experience in deployment, support and development,
please let me know off list.

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