Monthly Archives: March 2012

XenSummit 2012 Call for Participation

Dear Community Members,

Just a quick reminder that, the CFP for XenSummit is open and that all submissions must be received before midnight May 1, 2012 PDT. You have one month to get your submissions in. Note that this is much earlier than in previous years!

I will also shortly announce the Program Managament Committee: if you are interested in joining the PMC, please get in touch with me by next week. We also still have sponsorship opportunities. If you are interested, please contact me at

XenSummit in North America will be held from Aug 27-28, 2012 in San Diego, CA, USA. The event will be overlap with the Linux Kernel Summit and be immediately before LinuxCon North America 2012 and Linux Plumbers Conference. All these events will be in the same venue.

You can find more information on the XenSummit events page.

Xen Documentation Day: March 26th

We have another Xen document day come up next Monday. Xen Document Days are for people who care about Xen Documentation and want to improve it. We introduced Documentation Days, because working on documentation in parallel with like minded-people, is just more fun than working alone! Everybody who can contribute is welcome to join!

For a list of items that need work, check out the community maintained TODO and wishlist. Of course, you can work on anything you like: the list just provides suggestions.

How do I participate?

  • Join us on IRC: freenode channel #xendocday
  • Tell people what you intend to work on (to avoid doing something somebody else is already working on)
  • Fix some documentation
  • Help others
  • And above all: have fun!

Interesting items on the TODO list

I just went through our community maintained Docs Day TODO list and thought I’d highlight some items:

  • A feature status document that shows which features work in which Xen release! That would be something for our developers to create!
  • Admin docs covering topics such as “Setting boot order for domUs (PV and HVM)”, “Chaining pypxeboot and pygrub”, etc. Any proficient Xen user can help put these together!
  • Reviewing Wiki main page categories such as Beginners could really benefit from YOUR input. It would help to see whether the documents in a category are useful to YOU and which ones should be highlighted in a trail.
  • There is also some easy Wiki maintenance work that needs doing: some of it is as easy as formatting. Anybody who knows could do this!

Personally, I will be working on:

  • A new “Why Xen” and maybe “Which Xen” document, to help people decide whether Xen is for them and what flavour of Xen is best
  • I will also be working on content for the new website

I am looking forward to the day and hopefully documentation days will become a regular Xen event. See you on IRC!

Xen 4.2 Release Plan

Since early January I have been tracking the status of work left to do before 4.2 by posting a weekly roundup of the remaining blockers and “nice to haves”. You can find these in the xen devel list archives, posted most Monday mornings.

Last week I decided that the TODO list had reached the point where it was time to start thinking about a release. I made a proposal for a release timeline which was generally agreed to be a reasonable plan.

In summary the plan is as follows (see the list posting for more details):

  • 19 March — TODO list locked down WE ARE HERE
  • 2 April — Feature Freeze
  • Mid/Late April — First release candidate
  • Weekly — RCN+1 until it is ready

The aim is to have a release around June time although as always this will be subject to the usual “when it is ready” test.

The TODO list was reposted this morning and contains the latest blockers and nice to haves.

Xen Hackathon: Thank You!

It took me a while to write up my impressions from the first Oracle hosted Hackathon last week: I have to apologize for not being timelier. First, I wanted to thank Oracle for hosting the event and providing a beautiful venue in Santa Clara. Special thanks go to Doan Nguyen who did all the hard preparation work and to Konrad Rzeszutek Wilk who coined the cool event slogan “BE ZEN HACK XEN”, which miraculously ended up on the Hackathon T-Shirts.

Rather than write down my impressions only, I asked a few of the attendees to let me know their impressions. Not everybody provided the input in time: if you attended and want to add, just comment to this post.

Ian Campbell: I had a variety of very useful and interesting conversations on a number of topics. This is by no means a complete list! Especially interesting was a demo and code run through hybrid guest support (that is PV guests in a lightweight hardware container) developed by Mukesh Rathor. I am very interested in seeing these patches get into Xen!

Another discussion which sticks in my mind was a whiteboard session, working out the mechanism by which toolstacks based on libxl can expose the ability play dirty memory tricks (paging, sharing, ballooning etc.), which resulted in Andres Lagar-Cavilla making a more detailed proposal to the xen-devel list.

Further highlights were discussions on PV block protocol enhancements as well as the general state of FreeBSD support for Xen with Justin Gibbs. It was also very interesting to hear about Zhigang Wang’s plans for building a toolstack using libxl and a demo of how to set up Gluster from Eco Willson.

Stefano Stabellini: I had a great time interacting with Xen users that exploit Xen in ways we haven’t seen before. I had some good conversations with distinguished FreeBSD and Solaris developers on how to improve performances for their operating systems when running on Xen as PV on HVM guests.

And I certainly enjoyed watching Dom0 hybrid boot: thanks for Mukesh for all his hard work! Going through the changes he made to Xen and Linux, line by line, made me realize how difficult this project must have been, so it made the demo even more impressive.

Overall it has been a remarkable experience that has shown how high is the interest in Xen and how diverse the new development directions for the platform. All key ingredients for a healthy community.

I have met some Xen developers that I have not met before and also some Xen users! Of course there were also familiar faces. Given that I am not a developer myself, code reviews, demos and architecture discussions are interesting to watch but not my domain. For me, the highlight of the Hackathon was to actively work on the new Xen website with the web developers from Vertualize . We also managed to engage some of the Xen developers and users in the process. We made quite a lot of progress on the new look and feel, on lots of new Xen Pandas, on the navigation of the site, choosing and configuring the right set of plug-ins and much more. I will share some of the outcome of this work in the coming weeks and hopefully we will also be able to show live preview versions of the new site. Some of the more difficult questions, such as should we replace the user mailing lists with user forums are still open.

Thanks again to everybody who attended and made the event a success!