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.

OS Virtualization vs. Hardware Virtualization

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Presentation PDFSlides PDFI'm all done with making the slides for my presentation on OS Virtualization vs. Hardware Virtualization for the Linuxfest Northwest 2008 conference.

Check out photos in the photo gallery. Thanks goes to Warren for letting me borrow his camera. All photos are licensed under a Creative Commons license so do with them what you will.

Update: Ok, here's the video of my presentation.

Linuxfest Northwest 2008 Prelude

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The Linuxfest Northwest 2008 show is quickly approaching - April 26 & 27 in Bellingham, Washington. It happens to be the closest Linux show to Montana that I'm aware of. Last year Warren, Donnie, Ken and I went. It was a blast. Check out my report from last year if you missed it.

Anyhoo... several of us are going and I've even signed up for a presentation entitled OS Virtualization vs. Hardware Virtualization. I haven't put together the presentation yet but I have done about a half dozen related presentations over the last two years. I think with this one though, I'm going to concentrate less on specific products and more on how OS Virtualization has been making its way into the mainline Linux kernel (called CGroups or control groups).

If anyone is interested in attending the conference, please let me know ASAP. We currently have one vehicle going and one room... but we could easily expand that if need be.

Warren and I have attended three different Linux conferences in the past: Linux World Conference and Expo (once last year), Colorado Linux User Expo (twice back in the 90s - now defunct), and the Linuxfest Northwest (last year). Of the three LFNW, is the only completely free one and as such it has the strongest community feel to it. The schedule has been finalized... so check it out to see just how many things interest you... and don't forget about the exhibits either. There is a LOT there!

Interview: Linux-VServer Project Leader Herbert Pötzl


Herbert PötzlHerbert PötzlI use both Linux-VServer and OpenVZ at work for server virtualization and they both work fantastically. Since I've already done an interview with the head of the OpenVZ project, I thought it was time for an interview with the head of the Linux-VServer project. I ran across Herbert Pötzl on the Linux-VServer IRC channel (#vserver on and he was kind enough to grant me this interview. Herbert is hereafter referred to by his IRC nick, Bertl.

About the Linux-VServer

ML: Please tell me a little bit about yourself... education, hobbies, family, employment, etc?

Bertl: After finishing the Secondary School (focus on Natural Sciences). I started studying Physics and, once available, Computer Sciences. Finished with a DIPL.-ING. in CS (equivalent of M.S. degree). I'm still working on my PhD Thesis.

My hobbies include, but are not limited to (besides coding): Juggling, Billiards, The Movies, Electronics.

I'm currently self employed as IT Consultant, and lucky me, my beautiful wife is an artist and IT expert.

ML: For those unfamiliar with Linux-VServer, could you please provide a brief description of what it is?

Bertl: Linux-VServer is an isolation technique in concept very similar to BSD Jails or Solaris Containers, which allows multiple Linux environments to run on a single kernel side by side, with no measurable overhead.

Learning Linux-VServer

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While it is obvious that I've been using OpenVZ for some time now, a lesser known fact is that I've also been using Linux-VServer at work. Linux-VServer is a lot like OpenVZ only different. Huh? Well, Linux-VServer is also a form of OS Virtualization but rather than the term "container" the Linux-VServer folks prefer the term, "security context".

From a feature and operational perspective, Linux-VServer and OpenVZ are very similar but from a design and implementation standpoint, they are quite different. The Linux-VServer setup I've been using at work pre-dates my employment there and it is quite old (based on the Linux 2.4.x kernel)... but it has been running flawlessly so I haven't seen the need to update it. As a result, I've really fallen behind with Linux-VServer's development and how it has changed, matured, and added features over the last couple of years.

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