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[Xen-devel] Re: [PATCH] Xen Grub-style boot loader

Ian Pratt wrote:

I think to be useful this would need to run within the guest domain such that 
the grub menu appeared over the guest console connection. We'd have to use 
something akin to a real bootloader (but 32bit) to pull in the image and jump 
at it. Using linux with a suitable initrd and kexec might be a good soloution.
Making the console appear over the guest connection isn't hard while still having the boot loader be a dom0 process. It's particularly easy if you make the console visible as a tty. In the current Xend architecture, you would just dup the socket as the std(in|out) of the process and exec the boot loader before starting the domain.

I think the only real advantage to having it be a part of domain-U is that you avoid the problem with mounting a file system. The more I think about it though the more of a security concerns worry me. Long term, I think a domU loader is a better solution. However, I think there's a large class of users where a dom0 boot loader would be just fine.

I'm not sure that the interactive selection of kernels is the #1 requirement here -- I think its more about being able to read the kernel from the domain's file system, and to be able to control the command line options.
It's definitely not the #1 requirement but it's certainly useful. You don't really need a boot loader to read the kernel from the domain's file system or to give the user the ability to control the command line.

Would you being willing to accept a boot loader that ran as a dom0 process and exported it's screen through the console? Even if it was only a temporary solution until a better boot loader was written? I ask because I can probably code up the rest (I already can read the grub.conf off of a specified device) by tonight or tomorrow.

I think it would take more time than I could invest to do the dom0 approach any time soon. Unless of course someone else is willing to do it in which case I agree that the dom0 approach is superior :-)

Anthony Liguori


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