I first installed Fedora Core 6 in a Parallels Virtual Machine. That was fine, but I quickly realized that I wanted to investigate this more deeply, and especially wanted to look at the Xen integration.
So, I created CD's and did the install on "Trusty Old Spare". That's been various machines over the years; whatever it is, it's the box I'm not currently using for anything else. Right now, it's a Dell OptiPlex SX270 P4 2.26GHz , which certainly ought to be current enough to play with Xen on FC6.
Yeah.. well, yes, but.. things didn't go so well. The very first thing to understand is that the Xen enabled kernel doesn't boot by default. You need to either edit your /etc/grub.conf or do Ctrl-X when you first see the flash screen and select the fc6xen kernel.
The second thing is that the virtualization software is not installed at all by default. It's under Fedora Extras, Base System, Virtualization. I could not install that during the initial install - it just hung. I could use yum to get it after first boot though. However..
When I booted fc6xen, the machine went to sleep when it tried to start X. Actually, it appears to be hibernating without having created an image to reboot from.. the power light is on dimly as though it were sleeping, the display and keyboard has been shut off, and nothing I can think of wakes it up. I'm not the only one to have seen problems with X: X doesn't work under kernel-2.6.18-1.2726.fc6xen reports X not working, but no fixes reported.
It does seem to really be X11: if I set inittab not to go to X11, the Xen kernel happily boots, and then it's "startx" that makes the machine drop dead.
Interestingly, I noticed that X11 failed in my Parallels setup after having done yum updates. I therefore wondered if my Xen X problems weren't really Xen, so I reinstalled but this time did NOT apply any updates. Nope, same behaviour.
OK, maybe it's a screen resolution problem? I let the system updates apply, and then switched to 800x600 resolution. Reboot with fc6xen and..
Nope. Back to Google: FC6 T3 - First Time Startup Hangs reports something similar that was fixed by using the "vesa" driver. OK, I'll try that, although vesa on this display is pretty awful.. I have to drop the depth (/etc/cX11/xorg.conf) to 16 for it to work at all.. no matter, it didn't change anything anyway - same dead machine the moment X11 starts with the fc6xen kernel or the moment "startx" runs if I set initdefault to "3"
Oh well. I guess Xen will have to wait. I switched X back to the i810 driver it autoprobed and 1024x768 resolution. We'll see if there are any updates in the next few weeks.. if not, "Trusty Old Spare" will probably be testing something else. If I ever am actually able to boot a fc6xen kernel, I'll be following the steps at Fedora 6 Xen Wiki from there.
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More Articles by Anthony Lawrence © 2009-11-07 Anthony Lawrence