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Retired Dev
Retired Dev

Joined: 09 Jun 2006
Posts: 1600
Location: Australia, Perth

PostPosted: Thu Nov 26, 2009 5:27 am    Post subject: xen in gentoo Reply with quote

Does anyone know how to effectively run xen in gentoo?
I've done extensive reading and experimenting with xen. It's supposed to be good and becoming embraced by the linux world. A long time ago I tried it using Ubuntu8 and fedora8 xen versions of the time. I had limited success, These distros come with prepared xen kernels ofcourse. They install and out of the box they worked to an extent. I could go on at length re the methods and results. Ubuntu and fedora and Suse boot into a xen environment without issue. In gentoo it's much harder.

In gentoo I built a xen kernel and booted in. This is where all the trouble starts. Gentoo missed out in two ways, and these I need to overcome if I choose to try again. One was networking. It called upon the regular network scripts which ofcourse didn't work. Now looking at the current documents, they seem to include some instructions on setting up networking, so that looks as if it might be covered. I have yet to try it.

The other aspect is the graphical evironment Booting in could only reach a console. My graphics card is an nvidia. It seems xen doesn't support the nvidia driver which leaves me in the lurch. The other three distros all boot uo into a full graphical environment. I haven't looked into it in detail, but if I did I could report their xorg.conf. I did look at Suse's and it mentioned fbdev I think, a framebuffer driver. It has a couple of methods it uses, but they are way beyond what is described in regular descriptions of achieving a level 5 bootup. I looked at some packages in portage at the time and found one the name of which I forget. I emerged it and had no idea how to incorporate it.

Suse's development was ahead of the others. In Yast, it offered and feature to install a guest machine. I've looked at it much more closely in the last few days. It works but is very buggy. It uses a program based upon python and is heavily customised into Suse. I used it successfully only once, to install a version of itself, When prompted to select the type of OS, it cators to itself, redhat and redhat enterprise, other, solaris and windows. It tripped up when trying to install a fedora8 on driver issues, and to install any debian based distro, the only choice is other which trips up horribly.

When it does work, it uses tightvnc to install a system and to access the created virtual machine. It would be great to follow Suse's method. Using tightvnc works well. With the one guest domain of itself it does have, it comes uo in the vncviewer.

So can anyone help in this way. The regular documents describing the booting of a guest environment just states to enter xm create -c /path to file.
This attaches to a regular console. Booting up a guest to level 3 in a console is so limited. I would think anyone wanting to create and use guest domains would want to do so in a full graphical environment, which is able to be achieved via tightvnc and vncviewr, Finding a setup for that appears challenging. Is it achievable, and is it achievable here?
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Joined: 05 Jun 2004
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Location: Pittsburgh, PA, USA

PostPosted: Sat Nov 28, 2009 4:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's supposed to be good and becoming embraced by the linux world.

As far as I can tell the upstream open source development of xen has been dead for 3 years forcing distributions to roll their own patched kernels. You are much better off using kvm which is now mainline. If you really want to use xen with gentoo take a look at the patched kernels here:

I had been using these for some time waiting expecting upstream open source development would continue but since it has not I have abandoned all of my xen boxes at work and converted them to VPSs (like openvz, linux vserver, linux containers) instead as I was only using them to run linux under linux and in this case you do not need this type of visualization since a vps is significantly more lightweight and faster.

My gentoo overlay
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