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OpenStack's DevStack inspires Xen to create new 'Raisin' d'être

Project Raisin spits out external components to stop developer whining

The Xen Project has revealed “Project Raisin” a new offering it hopes will clarify the boundaries between the core of the project and third party components.

As explained by Raisin's chief booster Stefano Stabellini, Xen recently received feedback to the effect that “there doesn’t seem to be a good reason for cloning and building yet another third-party project as part of the Xen build”.

That got Stabellini thinking that Xen is trying to serve two types of user, one of which prefers to “clone xen-unstable, build everything from source, and expect the system to be fully ready after typing ./configure; make; make install.”

“On the other hand,” Stabellini writes, “we also want to support distros and product groups that take Xen releases and integrate them into their Linux distros or enterprise build systems.”

“The former want things like grub2 to be part of the xen-unstable build, because the grub2 package provided by their distro doesn’t necessarily comes with Xen support enabled. While the distro packagers are already building a grub2 package and certainly don’t want xen-unstable to go and clone grub2 again. They probably abhor the whole idea of xen-unstable git cloning external trees without their explicit assent. In fact they had been carrying patches to make sure xen-unstable doesn’t clone anything else 'behind their back', until we provided build options to disable all the third-party builds.”

Project Raisin – Raise Xen, geddit? - is Xen's response to this conundrum and is partly inspired by DevStack, a set of scripts that builds and sets up an OpenStack rig.

Raisin “... takes care of building Xen and all the other components, which are required to have a fully functional Xen system, but that don’t belong to xen-unstable. For example QEMU, SeaBIOS, and, of course, grub2. Users that build everything from source will clone Raisin to find a single place where they can build all the latest and greatest Xen stuff with a single command.”

Folks have worked on Raisin since March and the project is now in decent enough shape that it can be yours here.

While Raisin's nice for users and developers, its advent also signals a shift in the Xen Project's practices, because Stabellini says “Things like QEMU and SeaBIOS, currently cloned and built by xen-unstable, will be moved out to Raisin, making both Xen maintainers and distro packagers happier. Other Xen related components, that are good to have but not actually required, such as libvirt, will find their place in Raisin too.” ®

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