I did the same a couple of weeks ago (albeit with gentoo-sources rather than xen-sources), and had to figure out how to work round a few things that had changed since I last did so, so I'm certainly up for helping out with a guide.  Getting a Xen kernel working the 'Gentoo way' is certainly not difficult once you know what you're doing with it, but I did come across a chronic shortage of useful documentation on exactly what had changed between versions.  Either way, it's certainly a good deal easier than it used to be, now that Xen support is fairly mature.

Ashley, on the question of pvops: I've not noticed any significant performance problems in gentoo-sources, but then I've not been looking for any either.  Could you expand on the issues you've come across?


Tom Crosby

On 11/03/2011 12:12, Ashley Nicholls wrote:
I've just finished rebuilding my Gentoo Xen kernel (using xen-sources). The only problem I had was massive clock drift, my VM would gain 1 minute every 5 or so. Turns out that you need clocksource=xen not clocksource=jiffies.

I've also discovered that gentoo-sources PV_ops kernels seem to perform poorly, although I wasn't too willing to hack around with it to make it better.

I'll happily have a go at writing a brief guide and posting my kernel config if that would help others out.

Ashley Nicholls
System Administrator
Maxeler Technologies

E-mail: ashley@maxeler.com
Tel: +44 (0) 208 762 6110
Web: www.maxeler.com

On 11 March 2011 11:59, Jon Agland <jon@sftwales.com> wrote:
I could potentially have a look at this, but it won't be until about mid/late-April.  I have a fair amount of experience of kernel building on on Gentoo.  Not as much experience of Xen.

One hurdle I will need to deal with is access to a Xen VM for testing.  I can probably get access to hardware at work to run a Xen VM on, but that's going to add to the time it takes as I will need to install a host OS and get Xen running on it.  Is this something that BitFolk could facilitate by providing a test VM?

Having said all this my BitFolk VM is running Gentoo, am I going to face issues in upgrading my kernel (handy to know before I kick off any updates!)?

I'm guessing from Andy Smith's e-mail that it's an issue with (or lack of) initrd?



On 09/03/2011 23:38, Andy Loughran wrote:

I've not got the time to look into how to build a Xen kernel - but do
have experience of kernel builds in Gentoo.  If someone does fancy a
crack at the write up then I'd be more than happy to proof-read and
polish it before sending it out.   If you need any help along the way
too then buzz me and I'll try and make some time to help you along.


On 9 March 2011 23:11, Andy Smith<andy@bitfolk.com>  wrote:
Hi folks,

I've had to remove support for Gentoo because I don't know how to
compile a kernel in Gentoo that has Xen support; I'm not a Gentoo
user and am not willing/able to put the time in at the moment to
learn that. Hardly anyone wants Gentoo[1] so it's hard to justify.

This doesn't mean that you can't install Gentoo. There are still
some customers at BitFolk using Gentoo, and I find it hard to
believe that you can't compile a Xen kernel "the Gentoo way", I just
don't personally know how. I'm not willing to call Gentoo supported
when the only way I know to get it going is to copy in a kernel and
initrd from elsewhere.

If you know better and are willing to write a wiki article[2] giving
step by step instructions on how to compile a Xen kernel "the Gentoo
way" then firstly, some other customers would be very happy, because
they don't seem to know either; and secondly, I'd appreciate that
a lot too because I'll feel comfortable offering Gentoo as a
supported option again.

If the article is of good quality I may also be convinced to give
you some service credit.


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