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Generating a cloud / VM kernel package

Dear Kernel maintainers,

As you may know, it's been years that Ubuntu is shipping a kernel
designed for the cloud. Such a kernel is simply a version of the kernel
that is stripped down for running on VMs. The point here is that VMs do
not need all the drivers that we typically build for the generic Debian
kernel (and if one still needs it, a fallback to the generic kernel is
always possible). This makes the kernel binary package a lot smaller,
and also potentially reduces the surface of attack in case of a security
problem. For example, we wouldn't need ax25, appletalk and such, which
are unfortunately automatically loaded in case matching packets are
received by the kernel, and which have been proven to be problematic in
terms of security maintenance. Most hardware drivers would also go away.

Since it is only a mater of *removing* some modules, I don't think
adding a cloud / VM kernel flavor would be a lot of maintenance. Though
of course, as I wouldn't be the one doing it, it is not up to me to
judge the amount of work.

Could we see this happening in Debian? Please let us know your thoughts.


Thomas Goirand (zigo)

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