Interview: vzpkg2 and pkg-cacher creator Robert Nelson

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Robert Nelson seems to have come out of nowhere with an update to vzpkg. Before we get started let me briefly review what vzpkg is.

An OS Template is what OpenVZ uses as install media so you may install a Linux distribution into a container... since you cannot use a traditional CD-ROM / DVD nor .iso disk image. An OS Template is a .tar.gz file that represents a somewhat stripped down version of an installed Linux distribution as you would find it installed on a disk filesystem. So, if you want to create a CentOS 5.2 i386 container, you need to find an CentOS 5.2 i386 OS Template.

There are a number of recipes on the OpenVZ wiki for building OS Templates for various Linux distributions but the general process takes several steps and is quite a bit of work. Any tool that can simplify the creation (and updating) of an OS Template is a welcome addition. OpenVZ comes with vzpkgcache (part of the vzpkg package) which is designed to facilitate OS Template creation for Red Hat based distributions.

A response to "The Fedora-Red Hat Crisis"

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As seen on Slashdot and elsewhere is the Bruce Byfield article entitled "The Fedora-Red Hat Crisis".

I'd put this response as a comment to the article on the place where it was published but the site doesn't appear to have a comment system... but given all of the ads there, perhaps I missed it. Anyway... Bruce is inaccurate in a few points that I feel must be addressed.

Perhaps I should have done a better job with my references and as time passes I'll try to improve this... but I wanted to get it out there ASAP.


Qumranet Joins Red Hat - Lots of questions

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As has been reported elsewhere, take the front page of Red Hat's website for example, Red Hat has "acquired" Qumranet Inc for a little over $100 million. In a presentation a month or two back for the BozemanLUG meeting... I played some demo videos of Qumranet's Solid ICE product and discussed KVM. Just in case you weren't aware, Qumranet is the company that sponsors the development of the Kernel Based Virtual Machine which got merged into the mainline Linux kernel starting with version 2.6.20. KVM requires hardware support for virtualization to be present in the CPU (Intel VT / AMD-V).

Doesn't Red Hat already use Xen in RHEL?

Yes, Red Hat does use Xen in RHEL although they prefer the term, Red Hat Virtualization. Fedora added support for KVM some time ago... and Red Hat has been working hard to help KVM get to the point where it is mature enough to become a replacement for Xen. They have also been funding a number FOSS virtualization related projects (see oVirt for example) several which support KVM.


Dell Latitude On - Embedded Linux subsystem?

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Just in case you haven't heard, Dell recently announced a new range of laptops that should be shipping before the end of the year. One exciting new feature is "Latitude On". What is that? Have you heard of Splashtop? If not, check out this video. Latitude is similar BUT unlike Splashtop which is software only, Latitude On includes a hardware subsystem so it uses its own CPU and other resources separate from the main CPU and OS on the system. The advantage is that Latitude On will use way less power... and will supposedly have a battery life of days. Dell didn't make the distro they are embedding but they won't yet say who did. Here's a video from the press conference Dell gave.


Containers in mainline Linux kernel when?

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I'm a long time reader and subscriber to LWN (Linux Weekly News). LWN is probably the best Linux news site out there with regards to covering kernel development and I often find myself eating up considerable amounts of time sifting through their articles. This week they had an article covering some recent progress in the mainline kernel on checkpointing and restoring of processes and containers of processes... and I wrote a somewhat lengthy response that I decided to share here. I would link to the LWN's original article but it won't be anonymously accessible until next week.


Running with the Proxmox VE ball?

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I sent this to the centos-virt mailing list today... and thought I'd share it here as well.

Greetings,

I'm a big OpenVZ fanboy. I've sent a few emails on this list that proves that... and I'm sure I've annoyed some people... but be that as it may... I would like to draw everyone on this list's attention to Proxmox VE. What is Proxmox VE?


Linux World Conference and Expo - Day Three

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Ok, so here I am with yet another late write up. This is for day three of LWCE 2008 which was Thursday, August 7th... the last day of the show.

Marc and KirMarc and KirWalking around some

Marc was able to help man the OpenVZ booth some today. He lives in San Bruno and took BART to the show... so I got the chance to actually walk around the exhibit floor some, take some pictures and talk to a few people. I posted about 199 photos to the LWCE 2008 photo gallery.

After walking around some it became increasingly obvious to me that the number of exhibitors (when compared to last year) was way down. There were a lot more open spaces and the amount of room between isles seemed bigger. There were also a number of new areas that took up room including the Installfest, Software Central, the App Zone, Linux Garage and the Center Stage.

Linux World Conference and Expo - Day Two

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I didn't get a chance to write this up yesterday... but here is my report for Day Two - Wednesday, August 6th.

[Update:] Check out the LWCE 2008 photo gallery.

FreeBSD BoothFreeBSD BoothFreeBSD Shenanigans

Ok, so I should have noticed this on Day One but I didn't. No one showed up to man the Debian booth which was actually one booth over from us. I have no idea why... although there was a hand written sign that said many of the Debian folks were in Argentina at some Debian specific conference. Ok?!?

Oddly enough no one showed up to man the Gentoo booth either. It was in the next isle over from us. There wasn't any explanation as to why their booth was empty. Eventually someone took the Gentoo sign down.

As has been a tradition, FreeBSD had a booth at Linux World. The same folks were manning the FreeBSD booth as last year... and they also made it to as were at Linuxfest Northwest back in April. Them seem to have a good source of funding for the shows. I wonder how many shows they go to a year. Since they are such a fixture at so many Linux shows they are well known and are quite friendly folks. They had a ton of PC-BSD install CDs that they were giving away. If you are lucky enough to be befriended by any of them, you are rewarded with a set of devil horns to wear. Most of the Joomla booth staff were wearing horns.

At some point the FreeBSD folks noticed that the Debian and Gentoo booths were uninhabited so they decided to take them over. They covered the Debian and Gentoo booth tables with PC-BSD install media. At one point they even had a person sitting at the booths. The joke was that BSD stands for "Beats the Sh1t out of Debian". I thought the practice was tacky but in their defence someone in the Joomla booth said that the FreeBSD booth staff were really good friends with the Debian booth staff who would appreciate the joke.

Linux World Conference and Expo - Day One

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Today was the first day of the Linux World Conference and Expo 2008 in San Francisco. This is my second time attending LWCE as a exhibitor... being part of the OpenVZ Project booth. LWCE is primarily a conference for business people using Linux in a business environment. It has a rather large exhibit floor (think football field size), several keynote presentations from executives in leading industries and I believe this is the 12th year the show has been running.

This year the show seems a little smaller although it is hard to know for sure without comparing numbers (which I don't have handy). My only point of reference being the exhibit floor which appears to have fewer exhibitors, wider isles... and this year there is an "Installfest" section that takes up a bit of room... that makes one wonder if they decided to add it to eliminate a big chunk of empty space.


The Linux Kernel Development Model

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Here's a video presentation by Greg Kroah Hartman on the development model of the Linux kernel. There are some interesting stats to be found.