[conspire] Machine virtualisation, the flavour du jour

Peter Knaggs peter.knaggs at gmail.com
Fri Aug 19 13:32:23 PDT 2005

> But I haven't yet actually sampled Xen.

Simon Crosby of XenSource gave a talk at the 
last PenLUG meeting, and pointed folks to the
eerily-Knoppix-like "Xen 2.0.6 Demo CD".

It's a "live" ISO CD running Debian Linux 
with the Xen patches, so that you can try 
Xen without installing it to the hard disk. 

It doesn't work for SCSI CD-ROMS, but
IDE CD-ROMs are happy. I couldn't get
the graphical mode to work, but the third
option "text mode 256MB" worked OK.

I think they should have included a 
"serial console" boot option, especially
at this early stage of development :)

Anyways, the live cd is configured with
 "guests" on the F2, F3, etc virtual
consoles, set up for running Linux 2.4,
Linux 2.6, NetBSD and FreeBSD. Just hit
enter to launch them, they're pretty 
minimal :)

Although I haven't gotten this far
(I'm still trying to learn the networking
concepts), Xvnc is used to enable the
graphical console of the domains to be viewed.
87a1116a5ba3b59bacf659a16185a7cd  xendemo-2.0.6.iso

As far as I understand things, which isn't
much at this point, you only need one
"real" kernel with real hardware drivers,
and patch it with the Xen stuff which adds
in the "virtual" Xen devices. 

Then when you boot up these other things they
call "domains", the kernel you use can be 
configured to use only the "virtual" drivers,
which would be much simpler and make for
a much smaller and easier to maintain kernel

That's where the Xen documentation lost me 
at first: it veered off into talking about
booting linux with these mysterious 
"-xen0" and "-xenU" extensions, and I had
to go back and understand why.

I guess the road to Xen enlightenment
might be a long one, but it looks 
interesting, at least :)

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