Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Ubuntu Xen -> Debian Xen

After using the Ubuntu Xen setup for a class, I must admit I am very disappointed with it. Ubuntu is just really not that great as an OS for learning. While upstart may have some long term potential, nothing beats a sys-V or BSD mechanism for startup. The simplicity allows for use of chroot, which is critical when the resulting image or kernel will be used inside a virtual machine. This was the case for the Ubuntu-Xen, which was used inside Simics, VMware, or Qemu depending on the students project. Some other hiccups included:
  • Non-booting kernels when compiling additionals functionality into the kernel
  • Inability to use grub2 and having to install grub1
  • Default kernel didn't have devtmpfs included and Ubuntu relies on it
I still think that apt is superior to yum. One thing to note is that even though Debian has Xen built-in, it is useless since this is for academics, where students will certainly be expected to modify the Xen and potentially the dom0 kernels.

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