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tychoish/ Xen Laptop

Xen Laptop

I want to run xen on my laptop. Lets be fair, I have two laptops, and I bought one of them with the intention of being able to do this. Basically, allows you to:

The thing is that most computers, even laptop computers have way more power than anyone could really use, so slicing things up with virtualization is a good way to go at this.

Now the traditional approach to desktop virtualization is to use something like VirtaulBox, which works great, but for heavy day-to-day and ongoing, it's not what I want. There's also KVM, which is a set of kernel modifications that make it possible to use Linux as a hypervisor (which is a cool concept,) but I think that Xen is probably the better bet long term, and maybe I'm a little bit stubborn.

In any case, software that's difficult to use only gets easier to use as it's used. As we use technology more we become better able to use it, and if you're prone to technical writing, then you're experience can be used to help bootstrap others' process.

So I think its important to use Xen for a couple of reasons, first because I think it's the right solution, and second, because using it and writing about the process is a great way to contribute back to Xen. Lord knows, I'm not going to be able to fix the kernel to make Xen run more smoothly.


My first attempts surrounded building and running Xen on an Arch Linux System. There are packages in the AUR for all the components that you (theoretically) need to run Xen.

I've not managed to get that to work, nor have I been able to get an Arch Kernel to build and boot a pv-ops-dom0 support. Well it builds, I just can't get it to boot. The subtitle is this: dom0 is the administrative domain on Xen, strictly speaking the hypervisor doesn't run in dom0 but a number of key services are provided to virtual machines through dom0, and dom0 is the only vehicle through which an administrator the hypervisor. We can expand this page/section to provide more general xen-background, if you're interested but for now, I'm trying to keep things pretty focused on the higher level issues.

My second set of attempts center around building, inside of a chroot using deboostrap, a Debian Squeeze (6.0) system to act as the dom0. Rather than say "the dom0 should be the primary system with all my stuff, this is saying "the dom0 is an appliance, but most services and systems should probably be running in domUs. Including, the desktop for the Xen-on-the-desktop crowd.

Having said that, I've not managed to make this work flawlessly yet. Notes forthcoming as I can compile them.

My test system is an August 2010 vintage Lenovo Thinkpad T510, running with LVMs and grub 1.95 (e.g. grub2) provided by Arch Linux. ?Feedback.