Re: A proposal - binary

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Pavel Machek wrote:
Well, I guess we'd like VMI to be buildable in normal kernel build
tools ... and at that point, open sourcing it should be _really_ easy.

And we'd prefer legal decisions not to influence technical ones. Maybe
we will decide to use binary interface after all, but seeing GPLed,
easily-buildable interface, first, means we can look at both solutions
and decide which one is better.

I don't think you're actually arguing for the VMI ROM to be built into the kernel. But since this could be a valid interpretation of what you said, let me address that point so other readers of this thread don't misinterpret.

On a purely technical level, the VMI layer must not be part of the normal kernel build. It must be distributed by the hypervisor to which it communicates. This is what provides hypervisor independence and hardware compatibility, and why it can't be distributed with the kernel. The kernel interfaces for VMI that are part of the kernel proper are already completely open sourced and GPL'd. The piece in question is the hypervisor specific VMI layer, which we have not yet released an open source distribution of.

We do use standard tools for building it, for the most part - although some perl scripting and elf munging magic is part of the build. Finally, since it is a ROM, we have to use a post-build tool to convert the extracted object to a ROM image and fix up the checksum. We don't have a problem including any of those tools in an open source distribution of the VMI ESX ROM once we finish sorting through the license issues. We've already fixed most of the problems we had with entangled header files so that we can create a buildable tarball that requires only standard GNU compilers, elf tools, and perl to run. I believe the only technical issue left is fixing the makefiles so that building it doesn't require our rather complicated make system.

Hopefully we can have all this resolved soon so that you can build and distribute your own ROM images, see how the code operates, and use the base design framework as a blueprint for porting to other hypervisor implementations, porting other operating systems, or just as a general experimental layer that could be used for debugging or performance instrumentation.

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