Xen 3.1.0 and Debian Etch (4.0)

HowToForge.com has a nice howto for setting up Xen 3.1.0 using Debian Etch as both the host and guest system.

This literally just worked, it was very nice. However, the configuration in the howto assumes a paravirtualized guest. I have a machine which has hardware support for virtualization, and I want to enable HVM support. This page at Dartmouth describes the configuration of a Debian HVM guest in Xen 3.0.4. I had to change a few things to get everything working with Xen 3.1.0.

The first error arose when trying to connect a console to the HVM guest. I did an `xm list` and saw my ‘edgy’ domain running happily:

$ xm list
Name ID Mem VCPUs State Time(s)
Domain-0 0 1720 2 r—– 50.9
edgy 5 263 1 r—– 337.4

Now I tried to connect a console:

$ xm console 5
xenconsole: Could not read tty from store: No such file or directory

I googled for that error message and saw that a lot of people have experienced it, and I found absolutely nothing that was helpful. In fact, I still don’t know how to connect a console to an HVM guest. Maybe it’s impossible, who knows?

What I was able to do is use VNC. The options mentioned on the Dartmouth page (vnc-listen and vncpasswd) are in the file /etc/xen/xend-config.sxp, and not in /etc/xen/xen-config.sxp. Maybe it was just a typo, but the one with the ‘d’ is the correct file.

One of the comments on the original HowToForge.com page suggested the following:

1. if you wan’t the VNC/SDL feature with HVM you need the following packages: libjpeg62-dev, libvncserver-dev, libsdl1.2-dev

2. you need to set the following var: ‘export XENFB_TOOLS=y’ in Config.mk before building Xen.

3. for hvmloader, you need the package bcc or it will just not compile.

As I type this I have a VNC client window exported via `ssh -X` from dom0 happily churning through the Debian install process. I don’t need X for the work I’m doing, so I probably won’t update this again.

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