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[Xen-users] Fedora based Xen Live CD


So, in the past weeks, as a pet project, I tried to put together a
Fedora based Xen LiveCD. Of course, I took advantage of kickstart, the
Fedora spins 'framework' [1], etc.
Actually, that is exactly what I ended up creating: a kickstart file for
a Fedora spin. It's not an official spin yet, just something I
personally maintain (so, if you like, a Remix [2], although one with
100% Fedora software)... but perhaps I can go ahead and propose it as an
official spin, if the idea reveals popular enough. :-) [3]

Here it comes how to give it a try. The kickstart file is attached to
this message, and the latest version of it will always be available


Once downloaded it, make sure you have the spin-kickstarts and
livecd-tools packages. Creating the ISO is (on a Fedora system, of
course!) as easy as running (as root) the following commands (full
instructions here [4]):
# cd /usr/share/spin-kickstarts
# livecd-creator --verbose \
    --config=<path_to_downloaded_ks_file>/fedora-live-xen.ks \
    --fslabel=Fedora-Xen \

Notice that the `livecd-creator' command accepts a
"--releasever=RELEASEVER" argument, in case one wants to create a live
image of a specific version of Fedora.

At the time of writing this email, there isn't any ISO uploaded
anywhere, as doing so, completely starves my poor little residential
ADSL! :-/ Anyway, I'm going to upload it as soon as possible, and I'll
send the link as a reply to this message... sorry for the
inconvenience! :-P

Once you have the ISO, it should be easy enough to get to create a
bootable USB stick (look at [5]).

Et voila`, you have a Fedora based Dom0 on your CD or USB stick, ready
to be used, for example, for testing Xen on all your boxes, without
actually having to install it! You just boot the live image as usual,
and the hypervisor and Dom0 environemnt is what will be started by
default. It also comes with libvirt (with the libxl driver),
virt-manager, virt-viewer, and all these stuff. :-)

The Xen and Dom0 kernel version used are the ones available in the
Fedora packages for the chosen distro, i.e., Xen 4.3.x on Fedora 20.
I'm already including the updates-testing and virt-preview repositories,
and packages are fetched from there during the live CD creation, so you
really should get software as updated as available.

It's probably not too hard to include rawhide packages at least for Xen
(which, at the moment would mean Xen 4.4), and I'm already trying to
enable that. A little bit more tricky would be to use something coming
from a personal build of the hypervisor (and toolstack, of course). The
problem is both automating the build inside of the kickstart file (but
that is certainly doable) and dealing with dependencies (as in, if you
build and install Xen from source, `yum install
libvirt-daemon-driver-libxl may complain). Anyway, if this is something
interesting, we can certainly try to make it happen. :-)

Of course, once inside the live session, it is possible to invoke the
official Fedora installer and install the distro. That path, however, is
not highly tested with this LiveCD image yet.

So, we're done I guess. Please, if interested, send me your comments,
suggestions, bugfixes, contributions of any kind, etc... let's improve
together! :-)

Thanks and Reegards,

[1] For those unfamiliar with Fedora spins, they're basically
alternative versions of Fedora, tailored for various types of users via
hand-picked application sets or customizations. See:   

[2] http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Remix

[3] https://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Spins_Process

[4] http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/How_to_create_and_use_a_Live_CD


<<This happens because I choose it to happen!>> (Raistlin Majere)
Dario Faggioli, Ph.D, http://about.me/dario.faggioli
Senior Software Engineer, Citrix Systems R&D Ltd., Cambridge (UK)

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