Summit Report #3: Kernel & Virtualization

by Michael Tremer, April 17, 2011

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Another big topic on the last summit was the way how we distribute IPFire in the future. Hardware performance increases and it is common to have lots of RAM. Happily, IPFire does not have the requirement for multiple gigabytes although there are installations out there that have more than 4 gigabytes that cannot be addressed.

x86_64 support

We have been working on the buildsystem that from now on a version of IPFire compiled for the x86_64 architecture would be possible. But we have decided not to do this until the beta release of IPFire 3.x has arrived to minimize the development work.

PAE support

To support more than 4 gigabytes of RAM there will be a special version of the kernel that can use PAE. PAE requires a PAE capable CPU which is why we track that CPU flag on fireinfo.

Xen support

PAE will give us also the opportunity to enable Xen dom0 support on the host and have virtual guest systems running on the IPFire host. I personally think this is a very common way to run virtualization on small networks and Xen is not my personal first choice, but the people there do a hard job to bring it into mainline and enabling it will be easy for us.


In the end we will kill two birds with one stone: There will be support for Xen dom0 and >4GB RAM on 32 bit hosts – both very easily done to give us enough time to support it on x86_64 some day.

And for all the people that are ticking like me: KVM support is enabled anyway :D

Tell me what you think.