Linux Kernel Looks To Remove 32-bit Xen PV Guest Support
Written by Michael Larabel in Virtualization on 17 July 2019 at 02:48 AM EDT. 22 Comments
VIRTUALIZATION --
Coming soon to a kernel near you could be the removal of 32-bit Xen PV guest support as better jiving with Xen's architectural improvements and more of the Linux/open-source community continuing to shift focus to 64-bit x86 with trying to finally sunset 32-bit x86.

Juergen Gross sent out the patch series on Monday that would remove 32-bit PV guest support from the Linux kernel. He explained, "The long term plan has been to replace Xen PV guests by PVH. The first victim of that plan are now 32-bit PV guests, as those are used only rather seldom these days. Xen on x86 requires 64-bit support and with Grub2 now supporting PVH officially since version 2.04 there is no need to keep 32-bit PV guest support alive in the Linux kernel. Additionally Meltdown mitigation is not available in the kernel running as 32-bit PV guest, so dropping this mode makes sense from security point of view, too."

It's quite a reasonable stance and so far most upstream kernel developers are in agreement that it's time to retire the 32-bit Xen PV guest support. Xen has been primarily focused on x86_64 the past number of years, PVH is where all their fun is at these days, and on the basis of security means that any 32-bit PV guest users should be considering alternatives. The change is too late for the Linux 5.3 merge window but hopefully we'll see this removal happen for Linux 5.4.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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