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Xen High-Performance x86 Virtualization Released

michael posted more than 10 years ago | from the cool-beans dept.

316

Xen Team writes "The University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory Systems Research Group is pleased to announce the open source release of Xen, a virtual machine monitor for x86. Xen lets you run multiple operating system images at the same time on the same PC hardware, with unprecedented levels of performance and resource isolation. Even under the most demanding workloads the performance overhead is just a few percent --- considerably less than alternatives such as VMware Workstation and User Mode Linux. This makes Xen ideal for use in providing secure virtual hosting, or even just for running multiple OSes on a desktop machine."

The Xen team continues: "Xen requires guest operating systems to be ported to run over it. Crucially, only the kernel needs to be ported, and all user-level application binaries and libraries can run unmodified. We have a fully functional port of Linux 2.4.22 running over Xen, and regularly use it for running demanding applications like Apache, PostgreSQL and Mozilla. Any Linux distribution should run unmodified over the ported kernel. With assistance from Microsoft Research, we have a port of Windows XP to Xen nearly complete, and are planning a FreeBSD 4.8 port in the near future.

"Visit the project homepage to find out more, and download the project source code or the XenDemoCD, a bootable 'live iso' image that enables you to play with Xen/Linux 2.4 without needing to install it on your hard drive. The CD also contains full source code, build tools, and benchmarks. Our SOSP paper gives an overview of the design of Xen, and evaluates the performance against other virtualization techniques.

"Work on Xen is supported by UK EPSRC grant GR/S01894, Intel Research Cambridge, and Microsoft Research Cambridge via an Embedded XP IFP award."

cancel ×

316 comments

I bet it's not Open Source... (-1, Troll)

mummers (253129) | more than 10 years ago | (#7113058)

Considering as to who are doing the R&D.

Re:I bet it's not Open Source... (2, Insightful)

Zigg (64962) | more than 10 years ago | (#7113087)

RTFA. It's GPL.

(waiting for the 20 second delay to expire... @#%$! Slashdot)

ULYFADDUN (ullie-fad-dun) (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7113118)

Meaning,

You love your fucking Acronyms, don't you nerd?

Re:I bet it's not Open Source... (0)

mummers (253129) | more than 10 years ago | (#7113370)

Correct. The 'Gates Public Licence' (TM). Well known to the DoJ and others.

Mod -1: Flamebait

Re:I bet it's not Open Source... (5, Interesting)

Trigun (685027) | more than 10 years ago | (#7113096)

With assistance from Microsoft Research, we have a port of Windows XP to Xen nearly complete

They won't release the source for XP, but you can probably get a compiled binary. I just wonder if you'll have to re-register every time you change your virtual hardware.

Re:I bet it's not Open Source... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7113218)

What's the bet the Xen version of XP will have changes to product activation to ensure you can't just clone multiple copies of an activated installation (identical hardware remember). Then again I can't really think how they could prevent it on current hardware, but I'm sure they try and charge for each copy running under Xen.

Re:I bet it's not Open Source... (1)

samj (115984) | more than 10 years ago | (#7113341)

I'll bet even the binaries won't see the light of day, so it's all good and well to say it works, but that's not going to help us any time soon.

Re:I bet it's not Open Source... (2, Informative)

Aspasia13 (700702) | more than 10 years ago | (#7113134)

From the page (which hasn't bet /.'ed... yet)" you can read that Xen itself is GPLed:

"Modern computers are sufficiently powerful to use virtualization to present the illusion of many smaller virtual machines (VMs), each running a separate operating system instance. Successful partitioning of a machine to support the concurrent execution of multiple operating systems poses several challenges. Firstly, virtual machines must be isolated from one another: it is not acceptable for the execution of one to adversely affect the performance of another. This is particularly true when virtual machines are owned by mutually untrusting users. Secondly, it is necessary to support a variety of different operating systems to accommodate the heterogeneity of popular applications. Thirdly, the performance overhead introduced by virtualization should be small.

Xen is a virtual machine monitor for x86 that supports execution of multiple guest operating systems with unprecedented levels of performance and resource isolation. Xen is Open Source software, released under the terms of the GNU General Public License. We have a fully functional port of Linux 2.4 running over Xen, and regularly use it for running demanding applications like MySQL, Apache and PostgreSQL. Any Linux distribution should run unmodified over the ported OS.

With assistance from Microsoft Research, we have a port of Windows XP to Xen nearly complete, and are planning a FreeBSD 4.8 port in the near future (volunteers welcome!). "

Re:I bet it's not Open Source... (3, Informative)

sjwt (161428) | more than 10 years ago | (#7113153)

If you had botherd to open the Xen link,
and read the page which was a whopping
8100 bytes in size you would of noticed
"Xen is Open Source software, released under the terms of the GNU General Public License. We have a fully functional port of Linux 2.4 running over Xen, and regularly use it for running demanding applications like MySQL, Apache and PostgreSQL. Any Linux distribution should run unmodified over the ported OS."

rather then just trolling off the two words "Microsoft Research"

Xen First Post? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7113060)

XFP for the homeboys, know dat!

GNAA Unite!

Pfff (4, Informative)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 10 years ago | (#7113067)

> Xen requires guest operating systems to be ported to run over it.

Get me all excited, then pull the rug out from under my why don't you? This is still pretty neat, but it's hardly a replacement for VMWare or Bochs.

Re:Pfff (4, Interesting)

JohnFluxx (413620) | more than 10 years ago | (#7113137)

I got excitted that windows would be ported to use it.. but then:

"The Windows XP port is nearly finished. It's running user space applications and is generally in pretty good shape thanks to some hard work by the team over the summer. Of course, there are issues with releasing this code to others. We should be able to release the source and binaries to anyone that has signed the Microsoft academic
source license, which these days has very reasonable terms. We are in discussions with Microsoft about the possibility of being able to make binary releases to a larger user community. Obviously, there are issues with product activation in this environment which need to be
thought through."

It would be a bitch if it was ported, worked perfectly, but then nobody was able to use it.

Re:Pfff (4, Interesting)

spektr (466069) | more than 10 years ago | (#7113287)

The Windows XP port is nearly finished. It's running user space applications and is generally in pretty good shape thanks to some hard work by the team over the summer.

I'm surprised that this was possible at all with Windows XP. Microsoft's Shared Source program doesn't seem to be as useless as I thought.

Of course, there are issues with releasing this code to others. We should be able to release the source and binaries to anyone that has signed the Microsoft academic source license, which these days has very reasonable terms. We are in
discussions with Microsoft about the possibility of being able to make
binary releases to a larger user community.


I think there are two possibilities to do this. First, Microsoft incorporates the changes into their main trunk or releases patches for it. Second, Microsoft allowes a group of hackers to distribute modified Windows binaries. Both alternatives don't seem very probable.

xp licence/activation . (2, Insightful)

leuk_he (194174) | more than 10 years ago | (#7113358)

If they ever release the XP binary you will have to bet that it will be some hight priced version of xp that runs it. Or else you will run into all kind of license problems.

If it will be a concurrent of The virtual machine solution they bought from connectix [microsoft.com] This will not be released.

And if it will work with a standard XP home/pro you will have all kind of activation [vmware.com] loopholes like in vmware.

Re:Pfff (4, Informative)

rmohr02 (208447) | more than 10 years ago | (#7113139)

Only the kernel needs to be ported, and they have ported Linux 2.4.22 for you, and they're working on NetBSD, FreeBSD, and have almost finished Windows XP.

Re:Pfff (1)

phil reed (626) | more than 10 years ago | (#7113154)

VMWare still requires a port, doesn't it?. It's just that they provide a lot of them already done.

Re:Pfff (3, Interesting)

jdh28 (19903) | more than 10 years ago | (#7113194)

No, VMware runs unmodified binaries.

What they do provide is ready made installations of various operating systems you can just install, although you have to pay for these (well, the MS ones at least).

Re:Pfff (1)

Deagol (323173) | more than 10 years ago | (#7113282)

Yes, but VMWare still needs to make concessions for each supported OS. Yes, you can install and run Solaris/86, pre-v6 Netware versions, plan9, and BeOS under VMWare (with varying success), but they're not supported. They need to tweak VMWare for each OS. A true emulator, like bochs, doesn't need this tweaking.

I'm unsure why Xen needs guest OS mods, vs the way VMWare and Plex86 do things. I only skimmed the paper, so I might have missed something.

I, too, was excited until I read the "porting" part. I guess free Linux and *BSD virtualization is better than nothing. But it'll be nowhere near as comprehensive as VMWare (too bad -- I want to ditch the over-priced beast) and plex86. However, kudos to the Xen team, as it really is a cool project.

Isn't IBM porting their hardware partitioning stuff to linux, too?

Re:Pfff (1)

UberNerd (18291) | more than 10 years ago | (#7113236)

No, you can run OS'es unmodified. But it provides *crappy* devices (an old 16 bit Soundblaster, AMD PCNet ethernet, an old, lesser-known SCSI interface).

Are you thinking of User Mode Linux? It requires the kernel to be patched, and UML provides a number of disk images (RedHat, Debian, etc) that will run under the patched kernel.

Re:Pfff (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7113166)

No joke. If it were possible to run unmodified x86 OSes on this thing a million people would have just celebrated like the Cubs and the Red Sox were both in the series.

Free as in beer is still the reason I like open source.

Re:Pfff (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7113276)

Except that beer generally isn't free.

I don't know who coined the ridiculous phrase "free as in beer" 'cause it just isn't true!

It is also a pretty stupid phrase as it involves trying to make yourself look cool by comparing things to beer, one of the fouler-tasting alcoholic beverages.

I suspect this usage derives from The Simpsons, where one of Homer's personality traits is an obsession with beer.

Of course, in The Simpsons this is carried off as quite funny, fitting in with the overall humour of the show. When the nerds parrot it, or adapt it to their own situations, the humour is quickly lost. Further indication of this may be found in the excessive quoting of other The Simpsons funnies on Slashdot.

In short, I don't like that phrase. At all.

Re:Pfff (1)

websensei (84861) | more than 10 years ago | (#7113169)

read the article.

Xen only requires the OS *kernel* to be ported, not apps. For most users this is more than "good enough"... and makes it a viable replacement for vmware, especially given the reported (tiny) resource overhead.

Re:Pfff (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7113247)

its good for open source OS's like Linux or *BSD, but won't be all that great for running Windows in a virtual machine unless Microsoft makes the kernel modifications available to everyone.

Considering that my main desire to use a VM is to run Linux, this is pretty nice and very useful.

Re:Pfff (3, Insightful)

kzinti (9651) | more than 10 years ago | (#7113334)

In being so quick to chastise the guy for not reading the article, you missed the point. If anything at all needs to be ported, it means that an OS like XP can't be installed on Xen out of the box. It means that a port of the XP kernel has to be completed, and that MS has to authorize the ported kernel to be distributed. For lots of folks, this is not good enough... even assuming that MS ever would allow the ported kernel to be distributed (and then we have to worry about activation issues too). So, while Xen is great for allowing linux users to run multiple distros at max performance at the same time, it doesn't much help someone who wants to run XP, and might never help them. Those folks still have to resort to VMWare or Bochs.

Pfff...

Re:Pfff (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7113356)

Activation isn't handled by the kernel -- it's part of the Win32 subsystem and is entirely user-mode.

That's not what he was talking about... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7113403)

The actual execution of Product Activation wouldn't be an issue. The business case of how to handle product activation, and how to go about distributing a modified XP Binary plus activation authorization.

Re:Pfff (1)

Spy Hunter (317220) | more than 10 years ago | (#7113175)

Well, why not? It's definitely a replacement for user-mode linux, given the performance stats on their site, and it can replace VMWare for running Linux, if that's what you do with it. They say they have a port of Windows almost complete, but it'll be a cold day in hell before Microsoft lets them distribute it. So you can't run that last application that's tying you to Windows, or your games. But it can replace VMWare for quite a few other applications, or even play new roles that VMWare couldn't for performance reasons. (Remember that Z/OS virtualized Linux server thingy IBM was doing a while back? This could do the same thing only on Intel).

Re:Pfff (2, Interesting)

kalidasa (577403) | more than 10 years ago | (#7113319)

MS is one of their sponsors. How much you want to bet that MS licenses the technology and distributes it under their own logo? We already know from the VirtualPC purchase that this is a future direction for them.

Re:Pfff (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 10 years ago | (#7113324)

Not quite true. Say I want to grab the latest Knoppix or Red Hat and do some testing of my application. I'd have to build my own modified distro of these in order to run them. VMWare and Bochs allow me to simply create a virtual hard disk, point to the ISO, and install. And trust me, all distros are NOT created equal.

DOWNLOAD Here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7113210)

http://sourceforge.net/project/showfiles.php?group _id=86024

http://prdownloads.sourceforge.net/xen/xendemo-1 .0 .iso?download

http://www.google.com/search?q=xendemo-1.0.iso

Re:Pfff (1)

Zocalo (252965) | more than 10 years ago | (#7113246)

Not exactly. As far as I can tell from the quick scan of the PDFs and the statement that it just requires the kernel to be reconfigured, it's just a replacement hardware abstraction layer. I'm guessing that on NT/XP the only component that will need replacing is the HAL, and maybe some device drivers. If the concept takes off, then that's no different for a vendor than providing a different kernel/HAL tweaked for both single CPU and SMP systems, as many distros and Microsoft already do.

True, it's not a drop in like VMWare or Bochs, but this could be the killer app for people who run big VM based compilation servers like SourceForge. When you are talking iron of that kind of scale, a few percentage points saved on performance can easily equate to a significant amount of cash on the hardware budget.

Funny Guys (5, Funny)

tomblackwell (6196) | more than 10 years ago | (#7113082)

... to publish a paper called "Xen And The Art of Virtualization".

Re:Funny Guys (1)

kzinti (9651) | more than 10 years ago | (#7113354)

...and that paper title tells us how to pronounce Xen, at least if you're familiar with the Robert Pirsig [aol.com] title.

question. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7113085)

Now that the 64 bit processors are out from AMD, does that mean we have entered the world of 786 processors? I always thought that Pro through PIV were 686, because of 32 bit addressing, but now 64 bit is here, so is that 786?

Think, in 600 years, maybe we'lll be all the way up to 8086... and then the cycle repeats itself.

How is it ideal for secure virtual hosting? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7113086)

What qualities of a VM solution necessarily translate into security?

Re:How is it ideal for secure virtual hosting? (1)

Zigg (64962) | more than 10 years ago | (#7113113)

Give each customer their own machine that they can do pretty much what they please with, root rights and all. No customer gets rights over the other customers' VMs, though.

Re:How is it ideal for secure virtual hosting? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7113124)

Why do that, as opposed to a chrooted environment with its own /bin, /etc, etc etc?

Re:How is it ideal for secure virtual hosting? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7113165)

It's all about (the illusion of) control ..

Re:How is it ideal for secure virtual hosting? (1)

Zigg (64962) | more than 10 years ago | (#7113208)

chroot is not a complete solution. You may be able to restrict people from getting at files above their chroot level, but there a host of other things a root user can do to the system that you don't want your customers to be able to do if they can affect other customers.

Re:How is it ideal for secure virtual hosting? (2, Informative)

__past__ (542467) | more than 10 years ago | (#7113170)

Virtualization rocks for that kind of things. I happily use FreeBSD jails [freebsd.org] for that. They work on a different level and have different goals, but giving each (group of) user(s) their own sandbox to play with is definitly a really cool thing, both for admins and for the users themselves.

Paid Advertisment (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7113093)

I like how lately slashdot has become a great place for blatent and shameless advertising.

At least before people tried to hide the fact that they were plugging their pet project. :)

Re:Paid Advertisment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7113171)

It's GPL software.

oh yes yes yes yes yes (0, Funny)

moodz (514621) | more than 10 years ago | (#7113094)

I'll have what they're having !! ... well at least as soon as I can get hold of it.

MOL for x86? (4, Interesting)

Realistic_Dragon (655151) | more than 10 years ago | (#7113097)

In the same way that Mac On Linux makes moving people to Linux on a Mac pretty painless (just give them an icon for OSX in a window) this might do the same for migrating Windows users.

The biggest problem with emulators/virtualisation has always been speed. If a system can be set up that runs Linux but can boot XP easily and run fast, that will be a big improvement.

Of course it's not going to be much good for gamers (doesn't look like it can use hardware accelaration) but it's still pretty promising.

Re:MOL for x86? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7113203)

More like it allows people to run the two side by side and realise that on the Mac OS X is far superior to Linux as you can do so much more with it ..

Re:MOL for x86? (5, Insightful)

tgd (2822) | more than 10 years ago | (#7113216)

This would not allow you to run Windows under Linux... it would allow you to run Windows and Linux under Xen, which is not nearly the same thing.

Contrary to the submitter's comments, this product is nothing like VMWare.

Seriously, why do I want Linux AND OS X? (1)

caveat (26803) | more than 10 years ago | (#7113415)

Really, besides moral arguments about "freedom", why on earth would we want to migrate users en masse, or even at all, from OS X to linux? I used LinuxPPC/YDL for ages on my 6400, and I don't buy the arguments about linuxPPC being a more stable or more mature OS than X - sure, the UI and other high-level stuff might be a little rougher around the edges, but Darwin, IMHO, is already better than LinuxPPC in every arena, usability, robustness, hardware support, ease of configuration, etc etc etc (then again, I'd also say BSD is better than Linux...*hnads over the saltshaker*).
Software? Seems pretty much every OSS package that was ready for linuxPPC has an OS X port, even more so with the X11 release...really, X is already a better deskop *nix than linux, and I don't think I, at least, will ever be convinced otherwise.

Imagine.... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7113112)

...a beowulf cluster of... a million of virtual machines (or more)

Re:Imagine.... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7113132)

Oh do shut up, old chap. You're being boringly unfunny again!

Interesting .. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7113115)

I'm really surprised they got assistance for windows XP. You'd think that Microsoft would want to stay well clear of anything linked to the GPL.

I guess such assumptions are incorrect, and quite probably a result of reading Slashdot too much!

Re:Interesting .. (1, Insightful)

sjwt (161428) | more than 10 years ago | (#7113189)

I dont know about it being becase you read too much /. , but i think the reson they would be willing to help is that this would look realy good in any future AnitTrust case..

"your honnor, we have helped the open source comunity devolpe a program that meens anyone can run any OS along side MS with out any problems, we dont see how you can accuse us of being Anti competive when we allow others to compeat on the same machene"

could you even imagen a futer MS install CD where it automaticly installs a VM *inx?

Re:Interesting .. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7113379)

I highly doubt that that is the case. It seems to me their motivation would be more technological than legal. Sounds like you've been reading too much Slashdot too!

Re:Interesting .. (4, Informative)

Gingko (195226) | more than 10 years ago | (#7113237)

This is Cambridge computer lab we're talking about - where Microsoft research have the very next building over.

I live with one of the guys in the systems group and hope to go back there to do my PhD soon, and they do do very cool things there. Microsoft give them all the help they need, because academia is an excellent ideas feeder for the real world. Cambridge, being in a position of power with its serious reputation and fantastic set of minds, gets the benefit of the Microsoft help without any of the assumed costs.

Henry

Re:Interesting .. (1)

AArmadillo (660847) | more than 10 years ago | (#7113362)

Its fairly wierd actually. Microsoft also has a program where if a group of college students want to work on some computer science/engineering related project but do not have the necessary resources, they will help provide funding for it -- even if it is an open source or GPL'ed project. I suppose Microsoft's help with Xen is an extension of this program. I don't think their interests are totally philanthropic either -- if Xen happens to hit it off and become widespread, they're definately going to want it to run Windows.

Not really like VMWare (4, Insightful)

javatips (66293) | more than 10 years ago | (#7113117)

We have a fully functional port of Linux 2.4 running over Xen


With assistance from Microsoft Research, we have a port of Windows XP to Xen nearly complete, and are planning a FreeBSD 4.8 port in the near future (volunteers welcome!).


If one need to port an OS to make it work within Xen, then I will NOT compare it to VMWare. VMare can run your stock OS on a VM whithout the need to tweak it.


The performance advantage it has over VMWare is probably related to that. By having a few restriction on the OS, they can probably offer better performances.

Re:Not really like VMWare (1)

rmohr02 (208447) | more than 10 years ago | (#7113163)

They've ported Linux 2.4.22 and are nearly done with a port of Windows XP. If it's relatively easy to change these, I will definitely try it.

Re:Not really like VMWare (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7113185)

No, it is like VMWare in that several different virtual operating systems can be run on the same machine concurrently. They differ in method, but have essentially the same effect.

Re:Not really like VMWare (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7113359)

Yes they may not have better performance over VMWare yet but once they make their emulator support multiple processors for the guest OS it will kick butt!

Excerpt from their TODO list posted on their website: Xen currently only supports uniprocessor guest OSes. We have designed the Xen interface with MP guests in mind, and plan to build an MP Linux guest in due course. Basically, an MP guest would consist of multiple scheduling domains (one per CPU) sharing a single memory protection domain. The only extra complexity for the Xen VM system is ensuring that when a page transitions from holding a page table or page directory to a write-able page, we must ensure that no other CPU still has the page in its TLB to ensure memory system integrity. One other issue for supporting MP guests is that we'll need some sort of CPU gang scheduler, which will require some research.
Link to the TODO [cam.ac.uk]

Re:Not really like VMWare (2, Interesting)

borgheron (172546) | more than 10 years ago | (#7113377)

This depends on what is meant by "port". Is it possible that they mean that they have written drivers to work on those operating systems to make it work?

I believe more information is needed on this before I make any decision as to whether it's better or worse than VMware.

GJC

Welcome (2, Funny)

show me (696663) | more than 10 years ago | (#7113122)

I, for one, welcome our new Xen masters.

Re:Welcome (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7113160)

It's funny!

Re:Welcome (1)

beady (710116) | more than 10 years ago | (#7113207)

I for one welcome our new Xen master welcoming overlords

Re:Welcome (1)

sjwt (161428) | more than 10 years ago | (#7113220)

And I for one welcome VM that i dont have to pay a fortune for, i have yet to find a DOS emulator that works 100%, i wonder if theres even the slightest chance i can install DOS onto my current Xp1500+ machen, would be intresting
to say the lest.

Re:Welcome (0)

sharkey (16670) | more than 10 years ago | (#7113288)

I'd like to remind them, that as a trusted TV personlity, I'd been useful in convincing people that it's OK to use a cut up beer can to fix excess play in the wheels of their expensive motorcyles.

Re:Welcome (1)

kzinti (9651) | more than 10 years ago | (#7113404)

it's OK to use a cut up beer can to fix excess play in the wheels of their expensive motorcyles.

Handlebars. Pirsig used a piece of aluminum from a beer can to shim out some loose handlebars. Or at least he suggested it...

so its just an extra layer of abstraction? (4, Insightful)

ikoleverhate (607286) | more than 10 years ago | (#7113125)

So really, this is just an abstraction layer that means even the OS is unaware it's sharing hardware, so in theory theres no way for a malicious user to take advantage of other users. Pretty cool in a boring and limited sort of way. Kudos to the team who did it, I'm sure it's a real technological challenge. Not what the /. headline promised though ;)

Par For The Course (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7113145)

It's not too often that the article delivers on what the /. headline promises.

Re:so its just an extra layer of abstraction? (1)

mrd_yaddayadda (629895) | more than 10 years ago | (#7113317)

I'm inclined to agree. What a non-entity of both an article and an application.

I was all excited about some GPLed virtual machine host. Oh well.

multiple desktops (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7113126)

The reason i want multiple desktop screens is because just having one is not efficient when i have to work on multiple different things because they need to get done on time. This will save me from having no time left for not doing quality work when I am not at home.

morons tout creator's 3d+ newclear power plan (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7113136)

that's right. you don't need a pateNTdead eyecon0meter to smell which weigh the winds of change are bullowing?

lookout bullow. the daze of the phonIE payper liesense corepirate nazi softwar gangsters is WANing into coolapps/the abyss.

consult with/trust in yOUR creator.

get ready to see the light. don't bother robbIE, we'll tell 'em. you can tell 'em about being soul DOWt, when the time comes/is up.

Re:morons tout creator's 3d+ newclear power plan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7113256)

What is this, a terrorist pseudorandom code thing? Release NT/IE virus if the DOW is up today? The misspellings alone have enough potential double meaning to get across a whole lot of info...

ob. Beowulf cluster comment (5, Funny)

Vic Metcalfe (355) | more than 10 years ago | (#7113142)

Finally I can create a Beowulf cluster without the clutter of all those machines!

The only thing I'm wondering... (2, Interesting)

metroid composite (710698) | more than 10 years ago | (#7113148)

...is if you can copy and paste between the OSs. That always annoyed me when I had Linux open remotely through a Windows machine. I had to leave a submission form open on my website as a "back door" to copy stuff in. This goes for things like Gnumeric to Excel data too.

Re:The only thing I'm wondering... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7113335)

I regularly copy and paste into and out of Putty and VNC. Though I don't know if you can do it with Cygwin, but I don't have much need for it.

Also check out Synergy [sourceforge.net] if you got multiple machines each with its own monitor, and one set of keyboard/mouse. I haven't used it, but its supposedly to allow you move your mouse past the edge of the screen to switch between machines, and also shares the copy/paste buffer between machines.

But the real question is... (1)

tie_guy_matt (176397) | more than 10 years ago | (#7113173)

How do you pronounce Xen? Is it "Zen" like xenon, or "X-en" like x-ray?

Re:But the real question is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7113311)

I'd imagine the x would be pronounced the same as it is in the name Xavier. A sort of sped up "ks" sound.

Comparison with other free VMs? (4, Informative)

Laur (673497) | more than 10 years ago | (#7113211)

So it looks like this is the third (or fourth) free VM for Linux, the others being Plex86 [nongnu.org] (and a different fork here) [sourceforge.net] and User Mode Linux [sourceforge.net] . Does anyone have a good comparison of these three? I know Zen compared UML on their site but not plex86. I'm not really sure of the differences between them, particularly the different versions of plex86 and UML (Zen explained their virtualization process pretty well on their site). Which is the best choice for different scenarios? It looks like Zen is the winner for running Linux as the guest OS, and the original Plex86 (first link) is the only one which offers a free choice in guest OS's.

Virtual Virtual Machine? (2, Funny)

Stiletto (12066) | more than 10 years ago | (#7113214)


So when do I get a Virtual Virtual Machine, to allow me to run all these VM's at the same time? Because as we all know, it makes much more sense to do this, than, oh I don't know... Buy another $299 computer?

Nice jab at Mozilla! (4, Funny)

seanmeister (156224) | more than 10 years ago | (#7113222)

"....and regularly use it for running demanding applications like Apache, PostgreSQL and Mozilla."

That's kinda funny, lumping a web browser in the same category as server apps designed to handle gazillions of users.

Come on, it's not THAT bloated!

Very cool indeed (1)

bigjnsa500 (575392) | more than 10 years ago | (#7113225)

Very cool, but why is Microsoft involved? Getting their hands dirty with GPL?

"Cats and dogs sleeping together, MASS HYSTARIA!"

I hate Xen (1)

nnnneedles (216864) | more than 10 years ago | (#7113233)

It was all good until you came to Xen, I mean those levels just sucked..

Re:I hate Xen (1)

lacerus (253333) | more than 10 years ago | (#7113269)

I even stopped playing for over a year because I didn't figure out how to jump from one of these stupid flying islands to the next!

Denali? (1)

spotter (5662) | more than 10 years ago | (#7113234)

How is Xen (published this year at SOSP) different than Denali (published last year at OSDI, OSDI and SOSP are basically equivalent level conferences, held in alternating years)

They both seem to be scalable hardware monitor type virtualization architectures, in skimming through the paper I was left wondering what makes Xen special.

Re:Denali? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7113299)


Xen runs real applications, unmodified, on a real OS.

Re:Denali? (1)

Deagol (323173) | more than 10 years ago | (#7113316)

They specifically compare the 2 in the paper they link to.

wow this is too cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7113244)

wow this is too cool!

First Post!!!!

Any VMWare user comments?

For all those not just out of nappies/diapers... (4, Funny)

jantheman (113125) | more than 10 years ago | (#7113264)

Oh, you mean this [old-computers.com] then?

(sry NYI)

When do we get a Xen compiler? (1)

James McP (3700) | more than 10 years ago | (#7113277)

Okay this is neat for the mass roll-outs but for anyone doing R&D or otherwise living on the bleeding edge they're going to need a compiler that handles "make -xen" to generate those new kernels.

I could see this being he11a kewl with the kernel-based web servers for maximum security sandboxing.

Yeah, whatever... (1)

amarodeeps (541829) | more than 10 years ago | (#7113284)

Xen lets you run multiple operating system images at the same time on the same PC hardware, with unprecedented levels of performance and resource isolation.

Ha. That's easy for you to say. Every time I try to run in Xen I have to dodge Headcrabs and be on the look out for Vortigaunts, not to mention the dreaded Gonarch [primagames.com] .

User Mode Linux (2, Interesting)

shird (566377) | more than 10 years ago | (#7113292)

Sounds an awful lot like usermode linux. Get a vesion of the kernel/OS which makes calls to a host virtual machine rather than directly to the hardware for privileged instructions. Everything else can run directly through the CPU without being emulated because it is running in 'usermode' (or ring 1).

BitTorrent link available (1)

stab (26928) | more than 10 years ago | (#7113300)

Grab the BitTorrent from here [cam.ac.uk] (and leave your windows open for a while!)

Why Microsoft+Intel? NGSCB backward compatibility! (4, Interesting)

NZheretic (23872) | more than 10 years ago | (#7113325)

A quick glance over Xen group's paper [cam.ac.uk] leaves me very impressed with the performance these techniques can achieve. That the Xen group has decided to relase the code under the GPL leaves me very greatful. However, that both Intel Research and Microsoft Research has funded it, leave me somewhat concerned.

As I have stated before about Microsoft's purchase of Connectix's Virtual Server technology [oreillynet.com]

In my opinion Microsoft's acquisition of Connectix's Virtual Server technology has very little to do with running any other vendors operating system.

Microsoft needs a Virtual Server for backward compatibility for it's NGSCB ( Next Generation Secure Computing Base [microsoft.com] ) DRM ( Denial of Rights Mechanism [slashdot.org] ) platform.

Just as Microsoft's XP backward Win9x compatability opens up many locally exploitable API to gain SystemLocal privilege access, to the point where many programs need Adminstrator privilege to run, existing XP and win2k software would open up too many opportunities for helpfull hacker to bypass Microsoft's NGSCB DRM mechanisms.

Microsofts all too obvious solution is to provide a "Virtual" PC mode, running a modified XP and WinME, with the NGSCB providing virtual filesystems and hardware access. All, access of course, with the NGSCB DRM scanning and control.

Where do you want to go tomorrow?

The Electronic Frontier Foundation [eff.org] are about to publish a paper [com.com] criticizing a component of the "trusted computing" technology promoted by Microsoft, IBM and other technology companies, calling the feature a threat to computer users..

Hardware support (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7113330)

According to the README, it requires special hardware drivers and is not targetted at desktops. Don't expect stellar graphics performance. VMWare *does* give you something for the money.

Hardware support
================

Xen is intended to be run on server-class machines, and the current
list of supported hardware very much reflects this, avoiding the need
for us to write drivers for "legacy" hardware. It is likely that some
desktop chipsets will fail to work properly with the default Xen
configuration: specifying 'noacpi' or 'ignorebiostables' when booting
Xen may help in these cases.

Xen requires a "P6" or newer processor (e.g. Pentium Pro, Celeron,
Pentium II, Pentium III, Pentium IV, Xeon, AMD Athlon, AMD Duron).
Multiprocessor machines are supported, and we also have basic support
for HyperThreading (SMT), although this remains a topic for ongoing
research. We're also looking at an AMD x86_64 port (though it should
run on Opterons in 32-bit mode just fine).

Xen can currently use up to 4GB of memory. It's possible for x86
machines to address more than that (64GB), but it requires using a
different page table format (3-level rather than 2-level) that we
currently don't support. Adding 3-level PAE support wouldn't be
difficult, but we'd also need to add support to all the guest
OSs. Volunteers welcome!

We currently support a relatively modern set of network cards: Intel
e1000, Broadcom BCM 57xx (tg3), 3COM 3c905 (3c59x). Adding support for
other NICs that support hardware DMA scatter/gather from half-word
aligned addresses is relatively straightforward, by porting the
equivalent Linux driver. Drivers for a number of other older cards
have recently been added [pcnet32, e100, tulip], but these are not
recommended since they require extra packet copies.

Microsoft Research (2, Informative)

non (130182) | more than 10 years ago | (#7113338)

in case anyone forgot, not only is microsoft research [microsoft.com] their neighbor, but it was also the first microsoft research center outside the us. wired [wired.com] has more [wired.com] about what you can get for $80 million.

Source code not available (3, Interesting)

avenj (673782) | more than 10 years ago | (#7113369)

The source code is only available via BitKeeper, as far as I can tell from their site. The BitKeeper tools are not free software and cannot be used by anyone who has contributed to a competing product, according to the license for the free-as-in-beer version of BitKeeper. Is there somewhere else to get source and I'm just missing it?

Re:Source code not available (1)

greygent (523713) | more than 10 years ago | (#7113419)

Whiner.

Not very useful for Linux fans like myself :( (0, Offtopic)

urdak (457938) | more than 10 years ago | (#7113372)

As a person who prefers Linux over Microsoft Windows, and works in Linux almost all the time, how will I be able to use Xen? I don't want to run Linux inside Windows - I want to run Windows programs inside Linux! And since Microsoft is not likely to sell the ported XP anytime soon (why would they??) I probably won't be able to do that.

It sounds like Xen will only be of use to Microsoft users who want to try out Linux... That's good, but there are already plenty of solutions for that (e.g., Knopix) and they are not really useful to me.

It's also not clear how, if at all, Xen can support displaying graphics from Windows (say, a Microsoft Word window) inside X-Windows.

D'oh (1)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 10 years ago | (#7113392)

I was all excited till I got the part about it requiring kernel modifications.

So now, as I understand it, this can really only run multiple instances of linux, or perhaps BSD.

I was hoping for something that can run Windows and OS/2, BeOS, side-by-side with these super-fantastic performance levels.

Now, if you require their code in the kernel for it to work, would that mean MS would have to GPL the NT kernel to make it compatible? (fat f'ing chance)

Would the performance stay where it is if OS's other than linux 2.4.22 were used? Or, in other words, how much of the performance is due to linux-specific tweaks?

How well does something like this share a network card? Could I run multiple servers (isolated from one another) on the same box? How can I play with this at home?

Oh well, good job anyhow. Kudos on getting mozilla running under it, too. I can barely get that to run on a machine with a single system image.

Intersting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7113409)

How much additional work would it be to enable the OS to run without porting, and sacrifice some of the performance?

Web Mirror and torrent link (1)

stab (26928) | more than 10 years ago | (#7113416)

The university's link is a bit hosed, so I've mirrored the site and paper here [recoil.org] , and you can grab the ISO via BitTorrent from here [recoil.org]
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