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Re: Netboot Xen images for amd64

On Saturday 18 April 2009, Ian Campbell wrote:
> I think the ability to symlink the kernel or initrd will also be useful
> to me when I start to consider cdrom-xen variants for both i386 and
> amd64. i386 cannot share the kernel (needs 686-bigmem variant) but can
> share the initrd with some small tweaks i.e. just by adding a small
> subset of extra 686-bigmem udebs, not all udebs are needed due to the
> constrained hardware in a Xen domU, possibly as little as just 320K for
> the scsi-modules 686-bigmem will suffice. I think this is preferable to
> duplicating the whole GTK >10M initrd.gz. Again the standard amd64
> images should just work but I'd like to keep the xen variant for
> consistency.

Please do not increase the size of the standard initrd for i386, but 
rather examine the same method recently proposed for accessibility 
support: an *add-on* initrd that is loaded on top of the standard one by 
choosing a Xen boot option in the isolinux menu.

In fact, that principle could possibly even be extended to the G-I initrd: 
make it an add-on to the one for the "regular" installer.

Also note that adding the 686-bigmem kernel to CD images still has a 
rather high impact (as you'd need to add both the kernel udeb _and_ the 
regular kernel-image deb), which is rather undesirable for both the 
netinst CD and the regular CD1. In the first case because of the size 
increase it would cause [1], in the second case because it would push 
packages important for the desktop task off CD1.

Even the DVD1 image is getting tight as we currently support installation 
of _all_ desktop environments from it. The margin for businesscard images 
depends mainly on the capacity of actual businesscard sized media.

I'm really not at all convinced that this is something we really want to 
do at all. We just very simply cannot support everything under the sun 
from normal installation images given all the constraints we're under. We 
have enough size increase creep as it is and IMO we should reserve a 
healthy buffer for that rather than continuing to cram everything in by 


[1] Remember that for a very long time we did not even include the 
normal -686 kernel on netinst images!

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