The Printk Collective – Past, Present, and Future

So it’s been lagging out for a while, but I finally got around to finishing the Xen upgrades to panic. is now running Debian etch with the best Xen-enabled kernel anywhere…built straight from RHEL5 kernel sources.

We first installed back in college (or, University, to UK folks), and it’s served us well over the years, but after a hardware glitch a few years ago, we procured as a backup. These days, it’s a little overkill having two machines (we’re all doing different things, so we have other options for backup), but we’re keeping them both around for the moment. Well, until Xen is ready.

I started poking at Xen back in July, building up a hypervisor and kernel based on the excellent RHEL5 public kernel sources (the box in question has been running Debian since long before I was actively developing for RHEL), but building said kernel on a (old, and bitrotten) Debian box demonstrated why I hate building toolchains, and why developers shouldn’t have to be experts in building tools just to build this kind of stuff. I wound up building the kernel on a box running a distribution substantially similar to RHEL, before copying over.

As I went, I learned about:

* Xen’s broken “configuration” process, it’s a joke.
* Optimal process for trying every non-working PAE/SMP config pairing.
* Netlink socket problems, module issues, a few kernel glitches.
* udev rule writing.
* A lot more.

Eventually, I have a reasonably stable Xen setup running on an old box, which should allow us to now begin working on a variety of interesting stuff. All this means that I can finally fix various mailing lists, websites, and other things that have been awaiting the completion of this little endeavor.

Right now,,,, and (occasionlly),, are online for our use.


P.S. I’m not completely living under a rock. I just built a new KVM-based AMD system for virt. experimentation/testing at home. Using it to do all kinds of cross-distribution testing, development, and RHEL development.

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