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OpenVZ Pushing for Linux Kernel Inclusion

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the affront-to-real-partitions-everywhere dept.

Operating Systems 160

RomanianClimber writes to tell us News.com is reporting that SWSoft is trying to get OpenVZ into the Linux kernel. OpenVZ is an operating system level server virtualization solution, built on Linux. From the article: "In this, it has a major ally: Red Hat, the top seller of the open-source operating system, which plans to add the software to its free Fedora version of Linux for enthusiasts. The companies' move to make OpenVZ partitioning standard in Linux is timely, said Pund-IT analyst Charles King."

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160 comments

Don't forget... (-1, Troll)

SCO$699FeeTroll (695565) | more than 8 years ago | (#14495735)

...to pay your $699 licensing fee you cock-smoking teabaggers.

Nice to see you, but, Charles King? You're kidding (1)

Fecal Troll Matter (445929) | more than 8 years ago | (#14495777)

It's unlikely that this post will win me many friends or even garner much attention. However, writing it is the only way I know to respond to Mr. Charles King's excuses. What follows is a series of remarks addressed to the readers of this post and to Mr. King himself. His bait-and-switch tactics may sound comfortable and simple, but it must not be forgotten that he has never gotten ahead because of his hard work or innovative ideas. Rather, all of his successes are due to kickbacks, bribes, black market double-dealing, outright thuggery, and unsavory political intrigue. Which brings me to my point.

Should someone think that I am saying too much, I am not saying too much, but much too little. For Mr. King is the picture of the insane person on the street, babbling to a tree, a wall, or a cloud, which cannot and does not respond to his mottos. Despite what he says, Mr. King is stepping over the line when he attempts to take control of a nation and suck it dry -- way over the line. It is imperative that all of us in this community exemplify the principles of honor, duty, loyalty, and courage. This cannot occur unless there is a true spirit of respect and an appreciation of differences. He is inherently impolitic, oligophrenic, and illaudable. Oh, and he also has a headstrong mode of existence.

Mr. King talks a lot about classism and how wonderful it is. However, he's never actually defined what it means. How can he argue for something he's never defined? Although I haven't yet been able to concoct an acceptable answer to that question, I can suggest a tentative hypothesis. My hypothesis is that I recently received some mail in which the writer stated, "Mr. King joins the most sordid avarice and the most detestable superstition to the most invincible hatred of all people." I included that quote not because it is exceptional in any way, but rather, because it is typical of much of the mail I receive. I included it to show you that I'm not the only one who thinks that I want to place a high value on honor and self-respect. But first, let me pose an abstract question. Why is it that 99 times out of 100, an overweening mentality and an antisocial sense of obstructionism create fertile soil for rude criticasters to lay all of society open to the predations of organized criminality? The answer may surprise you, especially when you consider that all the deals Mr. King makes are strictly one-way. Mr. King gets all the rights, and the other party gets all the obligations. Mr. King has a glib proficiency with words and very sensitive nostrils. He can smell money in your pocket from a block away. Once that delicious aroma reaches Mr. King's nostrils, he'll start talking about the joy of exhibitionism and how children should belong to the state. As you listen to Mr. King's sing-song, chances are you won't even notice his hand as it goes into your pocket. Only later, after you realize you've been robbed, will you truly understand that in these days of political correctness and the changing of how history is taught in schools to fulfill a particular agenda, if the human race is to survive on this planet, we will have to resolve our disputes without violence. Please don't misunderstand me; I'm not saying that advertising is the most veridical form of human communication. In fact, his pleas have caused widespread social alienation, and from this alienation a thousand social pathologies have sprung. In closing, although this post has been lengthy there are still a large number of comments about Mr. Charles King that I have had to leave aside. I didn't even begin to mention, for instance, that the cry of "bigot" is raised mostly by bigots. Anyway, the important point is that raving finks do nothing but eat, smell bad, and reproduce while contributing little or nothing productive to society in return for their upkeep.

Re:Don't forget... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14496000)

The God that created /.'s favorite topic, Intelligent Design, humbly thanks you for that classic first post.

You are truly an Uruguayan icon.

Re:Don't forget... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14496509)

4-month IP ban?

mach post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14495740)

for the mach kernel

OpenVZ? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14495762)

The link is a buzzword-fest and it doesn't seem to have a wikipedia article. Anyone know what OpenVZ is?

Why is this needed? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14495776)

You can compile anything you want into the kernel.

If this becomes part of the official kernel, then it becomes the kernel maintainer's problem.

If Red Hat comiles it into their distro's kernel, it is Red Hat's problem to maintain.

So if I were the kernel maintainer, I would need a very compelling reason to take on the extra work.

Re:Why is this needed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14496105)

This is a normal problem. Even drivers have to have somebody to support them.

A few notes:
1. The kernel developers won't accept it without the vendor promising to help maintain it.
(see also: Figure out why many kernel developers have grown to hate Reiser and ReiserFSv3)

2. Redhat pays the salaries of a few kernel developers.
(see also; the massive amount of work Redhat-related items have already made it into the kernel and why everybody else that uses Linux (redhat or not) is better off for it.)

Re:Why is this needed? (4, Interesting)

DShard (159067) | more than 8 years ago | (#14496260)

1: hans?

2: Not just pay for but work with. This is the reason Xen has never really gotten into vanilla, even though it is supported directly by IBM, Intel and AMD.

Re:Why is this needed? (1)

zootm (850416) | more than 8 years ago | (#14497842)

1: hans?

Best one-word argument I've seen in a while... if I had mod points right now...

Re:Why is this needed? (5, Insightful)

m50d (797211) | more than 8 years ago | (#14497601)

The kernel maintainers have as policy that they won't give you a stable source interface, if you want your driver to work well you should get it into the kernel (See Documentation/stable_api_nonsense.txt). That's fair enough, but a policy like that gives them a responsibility to accept things into the kernel.

Anyone worried? (5, Insightful)

paulius_g (808556) | more than 8 years ago | (#14495780)

Now, I've seen SW-Soft at work numerous reasons and I don't quite agree with their principles of development. Just check out their forums, they have an awesome community of people asking features in their higer end products and they never want to implement those. Instead, they're creating some kinds of "solution" to allow "lower TCO" and "easier management", at an extra cost of course. I've used their software, and it's quite buggy.

Now, Virtuozzo is one of their most awesome products, but I still don't feel right about having a company control over a piece of software embedded into a kernel. I have a chilly feeling about what they might do next and about what they're actually gaining by enabling this.

Just my two cents, I'm sure I'll get many replies of people disagreeing.

Re:Anyone worried? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14496069)

While over the past year I've come to the conclusion that HSPComplete is a Complete Disaster, I've yet to find anything terribly irritating about Virtuozzo. It runs well. Of course, I'm probably biased, having had to deal with that other piece of software that SWSoft wrote while drunk, but I haven't seen a massive amount of bugs with Virtuozzo itself.

The fun part is, they're talking OpenVZ. OpenVZ can't truly be controlled by a company, otherwise, it isn't 'open'. If it ain't open, it ain't going in the kernel.

My only chilling feelings are for the company itself. While presently, if you want to run a serious business, you need to shell out the money to SWSoft for Virtuozzo (sans Open), that's so obviously going to change when the Open Source community hits OpenVZ. ;)

Re:Anyone worried? (5, Insightful)

Bogtha (906264) | more than 8 years ago | (#14496080)

I still don't feel right about having a company control over a piece of software embedded into a kernel.

If Linus merges it into his tree, then how are they the ones that control it? If Redhat merge it into their tree, then how are they the ones that control it?

The whole point of Free Software is that the user is the one in control, not whoever happens to hold the copyright.

You do realise that other companies have lots of code in the kernel already, don't you? This is by no means the first company to push to have their code included in the kernel. SGI contributed XFS. IBM contributed JFS. Namesys contributed ReiserFS and are currently pushing to have Reiser4 included.

I have a chilly feeling about what they might do next and about what they're actually gaining by enabling this.

Some pretty decent reasons for this off the top of my head are:

  1. They have less maintenance work to do (no updates every time a new kernel comes out).
  2. Less hassle for their users.
  3. More testers/bugfixers.
  4. They gain positive publicity.

Why the FUD?

No worries about companies, just about quality... (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14496205)

I've got to agree with the parent that there's no reason to fear companies putting software into the kernel. Lots of them do, and we're always encouraging companies to write open source drivers in the kernel.

What follows is purely speculation based on my feelings. Do not consider it to be factual, or make stock/software purchasing or sales decisions based on it. YMMV, IANAL, whatever.

The real problem I see, as an ex-swsoft customer, is that they really don't care as much about bugs or broken features as they do about marketing points. They made all sorts of claims about their software when they sold it to us, but many things weren't ready for nearly a year by which time we were forced to pay an additional "maintenance" fee if we really wanted to get those features. (or for that matter, any security updates) By then we were so dissatisfied with Virtuozzo and HSPC, we didn't bother paying for the upgrade. They also refused our requests for access to their source RPMs, even ones marked as being GPLed.

I've looked over their OpenVZ information already, to see if they are finally playing nice with the open source community, and the first thing I noticed is that they are refusing to release vzfs, which is required to get any decent performance/scalability with Virtuozzo. They're doing it for marketing reasons, i.e. they want people to view OpenVZ as something of a demo product before getting the "real" product, Virtuozzo. I believe they could easily release vzfs if they wanted to, but they recognize that their customer support (and programming quality) is such that nobody would willingly pay for it if they could get the software source code for free. Also, they'd probably quickly be cut out of development, because their code lacks the quality of that normally found in the linux kernel, and there are plenty of other people (eg vservers) who would take over.

If anyone really wants to get full Virtuozzo style resource sharing into linux, I suggest they start working on either XenFS or some vservers based copy-on-write filesystem. Without vzfs, OpenVZ is barely an improvement over vservers in that it supports "user beancounters", and it is barely an improvement over Xen in that it supports a shared kernel resources. If XenFS was functional, Xen would be a much superior product in terms of resource usage and security, at the very slight cost of an extra context switch for guest/host inter-kernel communications. If vservers had something equivalent to the UBC code, then (thanks to vservers unification) it would have all the functionality of Virtuozzo. The only thing missing in either case is commercial support, and I'm sure there would be people happy to offer that as well.

On the other hand, I'd be happy if they did release vzfs, not because I plan to use it, but because I think more choice is better. I'm not sure I'd want it in the kernel over Xen or vservers though.

Re:Anyone worried? (1)

Tim C (15259) | more than 8 years ago | (#14497626)

The whole point of Free Software is that the user is the one in control

Going wildly offtopic for a moment, that may be the *intention*, but it's not generally the case. In practice, if the user is a developer who is skilled in the relevant area, then they are in control - they can hack bits in and/or out to their heart's content.

Where the user is not skilled in the appropriate area, or is semi- or non-technical, they have no more control than they do with any other OS. They can tweak settings here and there, and that's it. For everything else (patches, new features, etc) they must rely on a third party, most likely the software vendor.

Apart from that, I agree with you. Just because a company contribute code to the kernel, doesn't mean they control anything. They can't take it away again at a later date, and (assuming the maintiner is awake) they can't slip malicious features in either. At worst, they can cease development of the free version, at which point we either pick up the slack, replace it, or just do without.

Re:Anyone worried? (1)

Hiro Antagonist (310179) | more than 8 years ago | (#14496194)

I'd like to post my agreement; VZ is generally a massive pile, is a resource hog extrodinare, and sucks royally compared to both Linux VServers and FreeBSD jails. HSPComplete is even uglier. I mean, the vzbackup scripts require SSH, even if you're using them to backup the local machine, and they have this nasty habit of locking on a random VPS and then dying silently.

That's the beauty of OSS (3, Interesting)

TheAxeMaster (762000) | more than 8 years ago | (#14495781)

If you want something in there, then by god, put it in there. There's no huge patchwork system that affects everyone using linux when one company wants to change the underlying functioning. They can do it, and sell it if they can, while the rest of us can go happily on our way not using it.

Re:That's the beauty of OSS (1)

mendaliv (898932) | more than 8 years ago | (#14495852)

Exactly- if it gets into the kernel, it's not like it would default to include itself in the kernel build.

It'll more than likely end up as one of those "If you don't know what this is, you don't need it" features.

Memory is like an... (4, Funny)

Slipgrid (938571) | more than 8 years ago | (#14495782)

Memory is like an orgasm. It's a lot better if you don't have to fake it. --Cray Seymore

Re:Memory is like an... (1)

slavemowgli (585321) | more than 8 years ago | (#14495991)

"Cray Seymore"? The guy's actually called "Seymour Cray", y'know - you managed to switch his first and last name around *and* add a mistake. :)

Re:Memory is like an... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14496019)

Gee, he missed a comma. Is this still Slashdot? Let me mod you insightful. Cray, Seymour!

Re:Memory is like an... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14496222)

More than a few cases of Alzheimer's around here then, I reckon.

Hardware support? (4, Insightful)

Visaris (553352) | more than 8 years ago | (#14495783)

Both Intel and AMD are releasing CPUs which support OS partitioning in hardware this year (2006). Does the OpenVZ project support or have plans to support these hardware features?

Re:Hardware support? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14495892)

Zero Overhead....A Xen implementation will never beat a Vserver type implementation.

Re:Hardware support? (1)

SirTalon42 (751509) | more than 8 years ago | (#14496653)

Xen vs Vserver makes no sense. Vserver isn't meant for running multiple, unrelated, operating systems.

Re:Hardware support? (1)

LurkerXXX (667952) | more than 8 years ago | (#14495915)

Along those lines, I've read a bit about this, but I've never read exactly what it is that this will do, just that 'it helps with virtualization'. I run VMWare now. Will this new hardware support do anything for me, or will it just make it easier for the VMWare folks to write their program?

Re:Hardware support? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14496097)

It might very well speed up the performance of VMWare, while making it easier for the VMWare folks as well. But from an OSS point-of-view, it should allow Xen 3.0 to boot unmodified kernels (Linux, FreeBSD, NTOS or other) and elminiate the need for VMWare.

OpenVZ/VServer versus hardware virutalization (4, Informative)

jonabbey (2498) | more than 8 years ago | (#14496226)

OpenVZ doesn't care about processor virtualization features. OpenVZ (like VServer) is all about implementing a system like FreeBSD jails. In this model, there's only one kernel running, but different sets of processes are isolated from each other through operating system features. The separation applies to things like the 'ps' command and the /proc interface in general, as well as things like sockets and networking.

With OpenVZ/VServer, you can set up security and network separation so that certain processes will think of themselves as on 'internal-web-server', while others will think of themselves as 'external-web-server', and the two sets of processes would not be able to interact with each other in ways other than through the same kind of networking connections that they would use if they were on separate pieces of physical hardware.

Something like Xen or VMWare achieves this virtualization by simulating separate processors, memory, and I/O space hardware. OpenVZ/VServer doesn't incur this overhead, but does require much more significant modifications to the Linux kernel, as lots of system calls have to be modified to enforce the process group separation rules.

IP Rights secure on this? (3, Interesting)

blastard (816262) | more than 8 years ago | (#14495791)

Has there been a serious investigation of potential patent claims against OpenVZ. This looks like a potentially hazardous inclusion.

If due diligence has been done, and no problems on the horizon, then that's great. Just would hate to have something like this included and have it open up another SCO-like situation. Recognizing that one is Copyright based, and the other would probably be Patent, and in particular US patent based.

Re:IP Rights secure on this? (3, Funny)

Nimey (114278) | more than 8 years ago | (#14496271)

Dude, questions end with a "?", not a ".". It just looks bad and is bad English.

Re:IP Rights secure on this? (1)

jonabbey (2498) | more than 8 years ago | (#14496757)

You're right, it would seem that this would be the sort of thing that the software patenters would have been all over, but you can't patent something if there's prior art, and there was a lot of prior art in virtualization way before software patents were ever granted in this country.

If things like VServer and OpenVZ violate patents, I'd expect that the FreeBSD 5 Jail system would as well, and I've not heard of any patent action against the FreeBSD folks on this ground.

I can understand one thing (1)

oztiks (921504) | more than 8 years ago | (#14495796)

If they want to have aspects of OpenVZ added to the kernel to support the lower level functionality like they do for UML and XEN then really this artical isnt anything really worth talking about it just seems normal and i wouldnt see Tovalds knocking back such a request.

If its anything more then that then yeah, they'll get told to bugger off (and so they should).

BTW i didnt RTFA on this one :)

Xen (4, Interesting)

chabotc (22496) | more than 8 years ago | (#14495797)

Wasn't redhat doing a major Xen push too? Fedora Core 5 will include xen host and guest kernels plus xen3, and from what i heard their putting a major effort into getting that usable too.

Never bet on a single horse i guess?

Or am i missing something and are OpenVZ and Xen very different products? (doesn't sound like it)

Upside of Xen seems to be the ability to run *bsd and other OS's in guest domains too, no mention of this in OpenVZ

Re:Xen (3, Informative)

adamshelley (441935) | more than 8 years ago | (#14495851)

From: the website [openvz.org]

Second technique: Para-Virtualized Machines. This technique also requires a VMM, but most of its work is performed in the Guest OS code, which in turn is modified to support this VMM and avoid unnecessary use of privileged instructions. The paravirtualization technique also enables running different OSs on a single server, but requires them to be ported. The paravirtualization approach is used by Xen, UML.

Third technique: Virtualization on the OS Level. Most applications running on a server can easily share a machine with others, if they could be isolated and secured. Further, in most situations, different operating systems are not required on the same server, merely multiple instances of a single Operating System. OS Virtualization systems have been designed to provide the required isolation and security to run multiple applications or copies of the same (or similar i.e different Linuxes) OS on the same server. OpenVZ, Linux VServer are examples of OS virtualization.

Re:Xen (5, Insightful)

sakielnorn (946716) | more than 8 years ago | (#14495921)

Or am i missing something and are OpenVZ and Xen very different products? (doesn't sound like it) Upside of Xen seems to be the ability to run *bsd and other OS's in guest domains too, no mention of this in OpenVZ

Essentially, Xen creates a new kernel for each virtual machine instance (or dom-u), while OpenVZ appears to use the same kernel instance for each virtual server. The latter approach seems to have benefits for performance and scalability, but if you discover a kernel bug in an OpenVZ server, all other instances are immediately susceptible, whereas with Xen, only the dom-u you are in is exploited (though if all instances are running the same kernel, you're up the creek). You'd generally need to be able to exploit the dom0 in order to affect all dom-u's.

Obviously, you're right about Xen supporting multiple OSes per instantiation versus OpenVZ.

Re:Xen (1)

Otter (3800) | more than 8 years ago | (#14496163)

but if you discover a kernel bug in an OpenVZ server, all other instances are immediately susceptible, whereas with Xen, only the dom-u you are in is exploited (though if all instances are running the same kernel, you're up the creek).

Does anyone actually run Xen with multiple kernel versions on productions systems? It seems like an enormous source of work and trouble with very minimal return. It's not like the vulnerabilities and bugs in 2.6.n weren't almost all in 2.6.n-1 as well.

Re:Xen (1)

DShard (159067) | more than 8 years ago | (#14496299)

but what if you wanted to run redhat WS 3+4 and debian sarge. the kernels there are not even close to being the same. Of course at this point it would be a big pain to even think about that, but after hardware virtualization gets in place its a no brainer.

Re:Xen (1)

slamb (119285) | more than 8 years ago | (#14497105)

Or am i missing something and are OpenVZ and Xen very different products? (doesn't sound like it)

They have similar goals, but they're pretty different technically. For example, with Xen you have to partition the memory space quite rigidly - each virtual machine gets 128MB or whatever. They can't borrow from others memory that's not being used. So if you look at a Xen-based virtualization provider like RimuHosting [rimuhosting.com], you'll see that their highest virtualized configuration gives you 320MB of memory. If you look at a Virtuozzo-based one like JohnCompanies [johncompanies.com], you'll see the other extreme:

[slamb@scooby slamb]$ free
total used free shared buffers cached
Mem: 8275068 8206096 68972 0 1696704 1678948
-/+ buffers/cache: 4830444 3444624
Swap: 6144852 4097468 2047384

That's one of the most obvious differences. Another is that Virtuozzo's rather customized kernel tends to lag behind - my virtual server is a 2.4 release that annoyingly lacks NPTL. I imagine that's what they're trying to address with OpenVZ and mainstream kernel inclusion.

(Incidentally, both the hosting companies I linked to are nice places with open source developer discounts.)

Re:Xen (1)

nathanh (1214) | more than 8 years ago | (#14497256)

Or am i missing something and are OpenVZ and Xen very different products? (doesn't sound like it)

Yes, they are very different things. OpenVZ is more like BSD Jails or Solaris Zones (aka Solaris Containers). Xen is more like mainframe virtualization and very roughly like VMware (though not as useful).

OpenVZ is probably faster because kernel resources are shared. Xen permits different kernels or even different operating systems to run at the same time. OpenVZ will scale to a larger number of simultaneous instances. Xen is more robust because a kernel crash in one instance won't affect another instance. OpenVZ is simpler. Xen is more flexible.

Re:Xen (1)

superpulpsicle (533373) | more than 8 years ago | (#14497321)

I believe this is not the first time Linux can be splitted like a container. When Linux runs on IBM hardware, it can already split into Sysplex and LPARs.

This is an idea I like (1)

THEUBERGEEK (891151) | more than 8 years ago | (#14495818)

I have often wanted a means to run 2 OS instances on one machine. I, personally, would like a way to run FC5 and winXP simultaneously. This definately seems like a step in the right direction.

Re:This is an idea I like (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14495888)

Xen is a step in the right direction, and with VT or Pacifica it is a reality.

Re:This is an idea I like (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14495898)

I have often wanted a means to run 2 OS instances on one machine. I, personally, would like a way to run FC5 and winXP simultaneously.

Dude, that is so NOT what this is.

Running Windows XP and Linux simultaneously (3, Informative)

RidiculousPie (774439) | more than 8 years ago | (#14495929)

There are several ways to do this, with varying levels of stability and performance.

QEMU [bellard.free.fr] will run Linux, BSDs, and Windows, from either Windows or Linux.
Colinux [colinux.org] will run linux from Windows XP. I'm not sure what the latest Fedora Image for it is, but I run a 2.6 kernel based Gentoo build from XP frequently (for that nethack fix).

I'm not sure either is suitable, but i would recommend looking at them, as they are both interesting projects, if not immediately useful to you.

Re:Running Windows XP and Linux simultaneously (1)

Forbman (794277) | more than 8 years ago | (#14496577)

CoLinux is pretty swank from within Windows.

You don't like nethack on Win32? That's how I get my nethack fix.

The only problems I have are getting networking to work right between the colinux environment and Windows. The instructions for it online in the colinux wiki suck.

Re:This is an idea I like (3, Informative)

glowworm (880177) | more than 8 years ago | (#14495943)

From wikipedia "Whereas VMs attempt to virtualize "a complete set of hardware," VPSs represent a "lighter" abstraction, virtualing instead "an operating system instance." All VPSs run atop a single operating system kernel. The VPS mechanism multiplexes this one OS kernel to look like multiple OS (and server) instances, especially from the perspective of running applications, users, and network services.

You don't want a VPS, what you want is something to create a VM like VMWare. It creates seperate virtual machines allowing you to run (like I do) Gentoo and XP at the same time.

Re:This is an idea I like (5, Interesting)

aevans (933829) | more than 8 years ago | (#14496002)

You don't want a VPS.... but your hosting provider does, especially now that off the shelf hardware is so fast that under full load, if you divide the CPU by 10 or even 100 under lighter loads, your'e still I/O and network bound.

Re:This is an idea I like (1)

BrookHarty (9119) | more than 8 years ago | (#14496338)

But, paravirtualization is faster than Virtual machines. Xensource booted windowsxp, but I never saw a downloadable product. Performance wise, you could get a large speed boost and run both WinXP and linux. If its true and OSX and XP Both are have xen packages, that will be some very interesting configurations this year.

Re:This is an idea I like (1)

SirTalon42 (751509) | more than 8 years ago | (#14496668)

You aren't gonna be able to download a Xen image of Windows because that would be copyright infringement. The original version of windows running under xen was made when Microsoft was still working with the Xen devs.

Re:This is an idea I like (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14496799)

With the new Vanderpool/Pacifica stuff in this year's chips, you're supposed to be able to run operating systems on Xen without the modifications they used to need.

Perspective (4, Informative)

kbahey (102895) | more than 8 years ago | (#14495857)

SWSoft are the makers of Virtuozzo [wikipedia.org] a commercial product that allows hosting companies to offer Virtual Private Servers.

A rival technology is Xen [cam.ac.uk] from Cambridge University, which is free.

It's not that simple: everyone is following the $ (2, Insightful)

mattbee (17533) | more than 8 years ago | (#14497960)

Xen has caused major shifts in business direction for commercial virtualisation companies: VMWare suddenly released their VMWare player [vmware.com] in part as an effort to make their "virtual machine file format" the standard one. Look they even want to support virtualisation standards [vmware.com] now! SWSoft kicked off OpenVZ for similar motivation: because Xen is a competing solution and (they gamble) that it is going to be better to give away a corresponding part of their "crown jewels" to get more of a market share.

Getting your virtualiser into the kernel (or a vendor tree) isn't about control, it's about being in technical pole position to sell copies of their commercial products. Xen might be free, and might have started this all off, but they too have a commercial arm, XenSource, trying to sell Xen Optimizer [xensource.com], presumably as a coda to other products. SWSoft [swsoft.com] have Plesk, HSPComplete, PEM and others. And VMWare has ESX/GSX server. All of their selling would be made easier, and their marketing departments made very happy, if the king of open source projects, Linux, includes parts of their core technology.

While I'm not sure what the critiera are for acceptance into the kernel, I don't think it's going to happen for SWSoft. From an engineering standpoint, their technology is not much different from Linux vserver [linux-vserver.org] which has been around a while to do much the same job and I imagine its invasive kernel changes to keep everything partitioned are just as (un)appealing to kernel maintainers. On the other hand the Xen kernel changes implement a new "architecture", albeit a virtual one, and (last I looked) were only around 150K in size. So I would have thought that the Xen guys have more of a shot at this one because the bulk of their software is maintained outside of the Linux kernel, and seems like the better solution from an engineering standpoint.

But with CPU virtualisation extensions becoming all the rage this year, I think it'll be a while before the best solution shakes itself out engineering-wise: there is still too much vendor "buy-in" for any of these solutions to seem like a good bet for the mainline kernel.

Also NB from the article that SWSoft have made lots of money from selling a modified Linux kernel, and yes for years before OpenVZ they would give out the sources to Virtuozzo licensees. It's not clear to me whether Virtuozzo uses a forked OpenVZ codebase and they are continuing to develop virtuozzo's kernel bits in secret (which would seem like madness on top of running openvz, but that's commerce for you :) ).

Galaxy (4, Interesting)

msbsod (574856) | more than 8 years ago | (#14495908)

Nice to see some progress in the Linux arena. But neither the quoted article nor the OpenVZ web site list too many alternative solutions. Here is one from another world (non-unix): OpenVMS [hp.com] Galaxy by Digital (now HP). Galaxy is part of OpenVMS, since more than half a decade.

http://h71000.www7.hp.com/wizard/wiz_3191.html [hp.com] (check the date - 1999!)
http://www.s-and-b.ru/syshlp/vms_html/6512/6512pro .html [s-and-b.ru] (an early online documentation, hosted by on a non-Digital/HP system)
http://h71000.www7.hp.com/availability/index.html [hp.com] (Lots of information about High Availability/Disaster Tolerance)

"All the world's a stage" or was it "All the galaxy's a stage?"
http://scifi.about.com/library/weekly/aa022800b.ht m [about.com]

Re:Galaxy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14496059)

Nice to see some progress in the Linux arena

err... XEN?

Actually, I know you're just carma-whoring so whatever.

Re:Galaxy (1)

perthling (200909) | more than 8 years ago | (#14496413)

IMHO, the really different and useful thing about Galaxies are that they are usually composed of clustered virtual machines. And OpenVMS clusters are really, really useful and seamless.

User Space Linux? (2, Insightful)

molo (94384) | more than 8 years ago | (#14495934)

How does this benefit over current inclusion of User Space Linux? Does it allow other operating systems a la VMware? Is it platform-agnostic? Any info?

-molo

Re:User Space Linux? (2, Informative)

ovz_kir (946783) | more than 8 years ago | (#14497546)

There are three different types of virtualization, they are outlined in this short article [openvz.org].

In short, OpenVZ uses the single-kernel virtualization approach, which differs from either VMware or Xen: instead of trying to emulate something, kernel is modified to support multiple isolated environments, so each such environment looks-and-feels like a separate server. Good things about it is (1) best possible performance (no to little performance overhead due) and (2) hardware resources (CPU, RAM etc.) are controlled from within a single kernel, so resources are used most effectively.

Pros and cons (1, Informative)

countach (534280) | more than 8 years ago | (#14496037)

So what are the pros and cons of Xen versus OpenVZ? My initial reaction is that Xen is the way to go because it is REALLY running different Linux instances. This is good because you can upgrade different instances to different OS versions. I know on those big Sun boxes with virtual environments its a pain in the butt because to upgrade the OS you have to upgrade a zillion applications at once to the new OS version which is a nightmare. But with real virtualisation with completely different kernels running you can upgrade one virtual instance to a completely different kernel without affecting hundreds of other apps running on the same machine.

Re:Pros and cons (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14496326)

They aren't quite the same thing. Xen is more useful in a number of situations, but requires multiple copies of the kernel to be running. Yes, in some instances it is an advantage (such as when developing kernel drivers, so that a panic/oops doesn't take down the entire system), but for hosting (which is what Virtuozzo is for), you want better resource usage. Unfortunately, OpenVZ doesn't include the filesystem driver, which gives much better resource sharing, but at least it still includes the per-VPS resource limits (called ubc in OpenVZ).

With OpenVZ or vservers, a user could (in theory, I've never heard of it actually happening) take a remote user exploit, then if there is a local kernel exploit they could take control of (or at least crash) the entire machine. With Xen, it isn't possible for a VPS user to take control of the entire machine, even if there is a kernel exploit for the VPS kernel.

The bottom line is that, right now, OpenVZ provides a lot less isolation and a little more resource sharing than Xen, and a lot less resource sharing but a little more resource control than vservers. If XenFS is finished, then OpenVZ will provide a lot less isolation and a lot less resource sharing than Xen...

Something else to know about Xen is that although 2.x let you assign devices to a guest kernel, Xen 3.x does not allow that yet. That means you can't yet develop hardware drivers in Xen 3 guests (like you could under Xen 2.x) and you can't do things like run a MythTV backend or hardware accelerated graphics in Xen 3.x. Of course, OpenVZ can't do any of that anyway, but that's a really handy feature of Xen 2.x, and it is expected to eventually return to Xen 3.x.

Virtuozzo and OpenVZ (5, Informative)

gantry (180560) | more than 8 years ago | (#14496044)

Although Virtuozzo is "built on top of OpenVZ", is Virtuozzo's kernel component a publicly available version of OpenVZ, built without using any proprietary patches or modules?

http://openvz.org/documentation/tech/virtuozzo [openvz.org] states "Differently from OpenVZ, Virtuozzo(TM) is developed and designed to run production workloads in 24×7 environments ..."

and goes on to list, among Virtuozzo's advantages over OpenVZ:

"Higher VPS density. Virtuozzo(TM) provides efficient memory and file sharing mechanisms enabling higher VPS density and better performance of VPSs.

"Improved Stability, Scalability, and Performance. Virtuozzo(TM) is designed to run 24×7 environments with production workloads on hosts with up-to 32 CPUs."

Why should Linux accept a kernel patch if (unlike Linux itself) it is not designed to run 24×7 environments with production workloads on hosts with up-to 32 CPUs?

Top seller (-1, Troll)

JasonTik (872158) | more than 8 years ago | (#14496054)

...Red Hat, the top seller of the open-source operating system...

Right. Top SELLER of FREE software.

Why I should care, again?

Re:Top seller (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14496126)

Because Red Hat is defending your first amendment right to free beer!

you can... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14496292)

...go to their ftp servers and download all their packages for free, in source code if that's your prefs. If you want their latest bleeding edge stuff for funzies, go get Fedora. If you want their enterprise stuff all compiled into a nice ISO image so you can just burn it and run it, without doing any work yourself, just grab the latest CentOS image, or send off any number of places and get the physical disks for cheap, cost of duplication and mailing basically.. If that ain't free enough, well....

Re:Top seller (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14496311)

Then you should probably try to avoid trying to figure out why people spend so much money buying things on the FREE market. Your head might explode.

Re:Top seller (1)

paulius_g (808556) | more than 8 years ago | (#14496536)

You do realize that when you buy Red Hat Enterprise, you're actually paying for technical support.

RHE is based on CentOS (http://www.centos.org/ [centos.org] It's also my favorite distro for both desktops and servers! So go try it out.

Re:Top seller (4, Informative)

Burdell (228580) | more than 8 years ago | (#14496621)

RHE is based on CentOS


You've got that backwards. CentOS takes the RHEL SRPMS released by Red Hat, rebuilds the binaries, and reassembles them into a distribution.

this has nothing on Solaris Zones (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14496100)

well this will probably run multiple kernels, but probably means multiple times the work and the administration headaches, with Solaris Zones [blogspot.com] you share the kernel, but you only need to administer one core install of the OS.
 
A base install of Solaris in a zone, uses just 100MB of harddisk space. And on modern hardware takes less than 15 minutes per zone to install. Of course if you use the latest and greatest Solaris Express releases, you can use ZFS+Zones [blogspot.com] to cut the size of each zone down to 50MB of disk space, and zone creation time down to create a zone in 1 minute or less [sun.com]. You could also download and install brandz(Solaris patches that allows user to run Linux binaries in a Solaris Zone), and have even more choice. If you wish to debug your apps, you can use a stable dtrace and debug userland of both Solaris and Linux. And the Solaris kernel.

Arg! (1)

Stumbles (602007) | more than 8 years ago | (#14496102)

Hmmm, that smell. That smelly smell that smells..... like..... we demand that we are not demanding you do as we demand cause we got clout on our side. Hrmphf.

non-graphical interface? (2, Interesting)

egburr (141740) | more than 8 years ago | (#14496214)

What I'd really like to know is if there will be some way for me to ssh in to my server and "press" the power button for a virtual machine and have it start up. Or, will it require that I be able to export my display before I can start it up? And would there be any way to remotely grab the console of an already active virtual machine?

Re:non-graphical interface? (1)

aspeer (131086) | more than 8 years ago | (#14496368)

I think you are hinting at the requirement of VMWare Workstation and Player to "need" a display before they will run a VM.

You can work around this requirement using the X Virtual Frame Buffer (Xvfb). Install Xvfb and the associated xvfb-run script (google it if it is not part of your distro - it comes with Debian but can be downloaded separately).

Then run vmplayer/workstation thus:

xvfb-run /usr/bin/vmplayer /data/vmware/wxp-cv/winXPPro.vmx

Your VM will start in a virtual display, and run for as long as that display does. If you use VNC or similar you should be able to connect to both the virtual display and the VM session (theoretically - I have not tried that part of it).

Re:non-graphical interface? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14496376)

Your question doesn't quite make sense under OpenVZ. There isn't a console per se in OpenVZ guests, just as there isn't a separate kernel. You certainly can enable/disable guests at runtime via the command line, and they run through the boot process, but they don't have their own kernel or console. Once you do "vzctl start 1234" the system will run init within VPS number 1234, and then "vzctl exec 1234 some regular command" can be used to run a command within VPS number 1234, or "vzctl enter 1234" will give you an interactive shell (/bin/sh) executed within VPS number 1234. It isn't the same as a console though.

If you were running Xen, you'd get a real console when you did "xm console vm1234" (after creating the vm). But that's because it is running a real, complete linux kernel within the VM. It still wouldn't require you to export your display or anything like that, it's just a text console. I believe Xen 3.x also can export a VNC (graphical) display if you've got a VT enabled processor/BIOS (the new Macs supposedly have the processor support, but it is disabled), so that you can run Windows XP or whatever, and that runs without any modification to the guest OS at all.

Pund-IT? (1)

Mike Markley (9536) | more than 8 years ago | (#14496366)

A Pund company name... awesome.

*waits for it*

Great 1 more failed comedian turned marketing exec (1)

skiingyac (262641) | more than 8 years ago | (#14496590)

Can I buy Pund-IT on eBay along with my regular "It"?

Seriously, when he's got some sort of reputation, does he expect people to introduce him as a "Pund-IT Analyst"? Lame

Multiple Distributions? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14496423)

So can I run, say, SUSE, Gentoo and Mandriva?

Three Reasons... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14496449)

Here are the three possible reasons they're doing it, in order of likelihood:

1. They're attempting to sink a sub patent.
Solution: Build a non-commercially tied variant and put that in the kernel, too.

2. They're attempting to use the kernel developers as unpaid support staff. "Doesn't matter which distribution you have, it's supported by all of them." Later: "It's in the kernel, so it's the kernel developer's problem that it won't compile, not ours."
Solution: Duh, anyone can apply it as a kernel patch.

3. They're attempting to preempt their competitors by making it the defacto standard.
Solution: None needed. Anyone can apply it as a kernel patch.

Sorry if I'm cynical, it could just be a happy, pro-OSS company that wants to give away the store - and everyone there is just so happy all the time while they prance about and cuddle fuzzy bunnies and puppies and sing songs. ... Please don't accuse me of being ungrateful. If they want to give it, they can post it as a kernel patch and ask to have the source tree mirrored.

xen is king (1)

MORTAR_COMBAT! (589963) | more than 8 years ago | (#14496618)

xen has so much support, and soon in-hardware support from both AMD and Intel. xen is the virtualisation layer of now and the future.

VZ is not quite the same... but I agree. (1)

WoTG (610710) | more than 8 years ago | (#14497412)

My virtual private server runs on VZ (which, I gather, is some sort of management suite that runs on top of OpenVZ). It works fine for me; however, I can see that Xen will be the future. As you say, the community is bigger and there are situations where Xen is useful and VZ isn't. For that matter, my VPS host has stopped pushing new VZ licenses and they have instead promoted their new Xen packages. True, there is probably a small hit to resources in going to Xen from VS; but compared to the rest of the crap that runs inside a VPS, the "extra" few MBs used to run the extra kernel is minimal. For my web host, it makes sense since the VZ licenses are not cheap; whereas Xen is free (they've hacked up their own management suite).

VPSes like OS/2? (1)

jbolden (176878) | more than 8 years ago | (#14496662)

For anyone who has used this. Is the relationship like the way OS/2 (2.0-3.0) used to run Windows?

Xen ? (1)

d3matt (864260) | more than 8 years ago | (#14497069)

Pardon my ignorance, but how is OpenVZ different from Xen? If there is little difference, why not just make a bigger push behind Xen rather than attempt to get their own IP into the kernel.

Re:Xen ? (1)

surprise_audit (575743) | more than 8 years ago | (#14497705)

Xen runs a kernel per virtual machine instance, OpenVZ runs one kernel but maintains separate process spaces for each virtual system (or whatever they call it). So, with OpenVZ, *all* the virtual systems are running the same distro of Linux, but with Xen you can run several different distros (RedHat, SuSE, Debian, Mandrake), as well as a completely different OS such as NetBSD or FreeBSD.

The Linux devs should reject it's inclusion (4, Informative)

TheLink (130905) | more than 8 years ago | (#14497224)

All the current x86 virtualization stuff is going to be out of date soon. It will be just adding kludges to the kernel to implement stuff that required by virtualization deficiencies in old x86 stuff. If you need those kludges, Xen should be enough.

This is because Intel and AMD are going to allow new and far more efficient ways of doing virtualization, with hardware assistance (lookup Intel Vanderpool and AMD Pacifica).

So, I don't see much long term gain for the effort for all the minuses.

You risk lower quality and increased maintenance costs. And you might also increase exposure to patent claims (but I bet IBM can smash anyone to pulp especially with virtualization patents).

You will still need developers to work on Vanderpool and Pacifica stuff, and I think you'd get better "bang for buck" with that (plus I think it will be a lot more fun).

Re:The Linux devs should reject it's inclusion (1)

trandism (835011) | more than 8 years ago | (#14497961)

You risk lower quality and increased maintenance costs

Pardon me sir and nothing personal, but I don't give a SHIT about maintenance costs...
Since when do you people care so much about maintenance costs? That Raymond-dude really got into your brains didn't he?
If it's fun to use and doesn't break other things, put it in the god-damn kernel
And let the blood-sucking companies care or not about costs
Where's your hacker spirits for christ's sakes??

This would be a REALLY REALLY bad choice. (2, Insightful)

namulator (884638) | more than 8 years ago | (#14497502)

I myself work on software which uses a VServer modification to the kernel. Although I do see advantages to setting this up so that it's included into the kernel. I see many more problems that this create then the good it would bring through.

Two really big problems I see are these two.

1) There is many other virtual server projects which do the same thing as OpenVZ. If one is included into the kernel, and the others conflict with eachtother over that, that's really going to complicate the linux world.
2) Multiple projects use vserver software currently in project, or they are developing on one of the many different virtual server project. This would cause problems for every one of those peoples project. Companies could loose lots of money because of a foolish decision like this.

The choice should be up to the user, and they should not be restricted to any one server virtualization project. This would get rid of competition over virtual server projects. If they are going to include this virtual server software, they should include all of the current virtual server projects and make them options. Most of them are probably incompatible with eachother, so the code has to make sure those conflicts do not happen.

Maybe an alternative should be to have a patchset made by the OpenVZ which could be given to linux for each kernel release, and multiple trees could be made. A regular kernel, then alternative virtual server kernels.

To allow this to happen would be something like Xorg saying they will only support Intel video cards from now on. Anyone with anything which doesn't have the intel chipset on their video card which is supported is screwed. Or for the linux kernel to only support AMD processors, it just wouldn't make sence. The foolish decision of OpenVZ to request this above all the other server virtualization projects is an extremely greedy and foolish choice I think.

I hope linus says no, or comes and checks the slashdot comments to read this and then tells them no. I may even have to fire him off an email about this.

While I can understand OpenVZ's side of things, overall this would be an extremely bad decision. I hope this never comes to be, for it will be a very sad day.

As for OpenVZ, Quit with the greed, keep your project as a seperate kernel addon to give a more competitive market.

Re:This would be a REALLY REALLY bad choice. (1)

Slashcrap (869349) | more than 8 years ago | (#14497887)

I hope linus says no, or comes and checks the slashdot comments to read this and then tells them no. I may even have to fire him off an email about this.

I may be completely off-base here, but do you by any chance have a massively inflated sense of your own importance?

mod doWn (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14497646)

(7000+1400+700)*4 Perform keeping

5 (euro)cents worth... (1)

UglyMike (639031) | more than 8 years ago | (#14497673)

My opinion? (as if anyone cares!)

This shouldn't be in the kernel.

-/Most end-users won't care about this technology. For them, Hypervisor is more of interest (whoa! no more dual booting, dude!!)
-/The functionality is more relevant to businesses who have no issue with custom kernels.....but then why not go for something supported/enterprise-grade?
-/It's the crappy freeware version intended to sell the upscale enterprise version. Why put something intentionally crippled in the kernel?
-/ There are several similar technologies being worked at. What makes this entry-version freeware so important?
Now, don't misunderstand me, I'm all for this type of software (even if not as full featured as the commercial package, I would still like to express a lot of gratitude for releasing this). I just think that the people who want to play around with this, will have no problem applying the patch to their kernel. I see NO reason to include this in the kernel.

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