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Xen is not user-space

Xen is not user-space

Posted Jun 4, 2009 13:19 UTC (Thu) by nevets (subscriber, #11875)
In reply to: Xen is not user-space by dunlapg
Parent article: Xen again

> The feeling that dom0 changes add a ton of ugly "hooks", but don't make the Linux code base any better. Since the Xen hypervisor functionality is outside of Linux, having cool functionality in Xen doesn't really count as improving Linux. But if a hypervisor component were in the kernel, rather than a separate projec,t then the kernel as a whole would seem to benefit. (This is a bit of a subtle one to understand; it depends on drawing a boundary and saying, "If it's inside this tree, it contributes to making Linux cool, and may be worth the cost of the hooks. But if it's outside the tree, it doesn't contribute to making Linux cool, so the hooks are a cost without a benefit.")

This is a very important point. I would look at as, if it is in the kernel, it means Linux and Xen are packaged together. If it is out of the kernel, then Xen and Linux are too separate packages.

This is a key point. If they are as one package, and a change in Linux breaks the interface between kernel and hypervisor, the fix would be to update the hypervisor to handle the new change.

If they are two packages, and Linux breaks the interface between kernel and hypervisor, then the fix would be to redesign the Linux change to cope with keeping the same ABI to the hypervisor. This is a burden that the maintainers do not want to carry.

Having the two as one package would mean if you upgrade one, you also upgrade the other. A subtle point indeed, but an important one.


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Xen is not user-space

Posted Jun 4, 2009 13:32 UTC (Thu) by dunlapg (subscriber, #57764) [Link]

-- Begin Quote --
If they are two packages, and Linux breaks the interface between kernel and hypervisor, then the fix would be to redesign the Linux change to cope with keeping the same ABI to the hypervisor. This is a burden that the maintainers do not want to carry.
-- End Quote --

That's an understandable concern. But Keir Fraser has unequivocally stated that he does not expect that. It's Xen's job to be backwards compatible with older kernels if it wants to be. It's not Linux's job to be backwards compatible with older hypervisors. If the ABI changes in Linux, Xen will upgrade to match; and if someone upgrades Linux over a dom0<->xen ABI change, then they will have to upgrade Xen over that same ABI change as well.


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