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KVM may rout out XenSource

KVM emerged out of an Israeli company, Qumranet, last year as lead developer Avi Kivity posted 12,000 lines of code to a Linux kernel mailing list. The Oct. 19 post "came out of nowhere" and was added to the kernel after a review of "just a few months," said Jonathan Corbet, kernel developer and author of the Linux Weather Forecast, a Linux Foundation update on weekly kernel developments, in an interview.

"It looked like it was kernel-ready on day one. It was an exceptional patch in many ways," said Andrew Morton, Linux kernel maintainer and one of Linux Torvalds' top lieutenants. By "patch," Morton means a donation of new code, not a bug fix or repair of existing code.

The kernel developers didn't know Kivity from previous contributions -- he hadn't made any. Nor was there good information available on his company. "I went to the Qumranet Web site. It didn't tell me much," said Morton. Qumranet, a venture capital backed start up, was still in stealth mode at the time.

Morton handed off the code to developers familiar with both virtualization engines and the Linux kernel and they concluded it appeared to be a strong addition.

The Linux kernel in the fall of 2006 had no modules that could take advantage of the new virtualization assists being built into the latestIntel (NSDQ: INTC) and AMD (NYSE: AMD) chips. XenSource's Xen is supported in Novell (NSDQ: NOVL) and Red Hat enterprise distributions but it remains outside the kernel. Adopting KVM would be one way of allowing the kernel to capitalize on chip developments, thought Morton.


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