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SubjectRe: Dracut -- Cross distribution initramfs infrastructure
Dave Jones wrote:
> On Sun, Dec 21, 2008 at 12:50:21AM +1100, Daniel Pittman wrote:
> > One of the features of the Debian / Ubuntu initramfs infrastructure,
> > which sounds remarkably like your design (or vice-versa), is that it
> > drops all the "standard" drivers into the initramfs.
> >
> > This is, to me, worth several minutes of additional boot time, in terms
> > of flexibility: being able to modify the hardware and be confident that
> > the appropriate drivers are in place already makes life much, much
> > easier.
> There's another reason this is really useful.
> If something goes wrong, remotely debugging a users initrd right is
> a lot easier if you know what it looks like. Right now, in Fedora for eg,
> where we generate an initrd for each users system at runtime, we need
> to get a copy of the generated initrd, and pull it apart just to find
> out what modules ended up in there, what didn't, and then somehow
> try to work backwards to try and figure out how the generator got into
> that state. After doing this for five years, let me tell you it's
> _really_ _really_ painful.
Whom do you tell.

I ended up on adding lots of shell escapes; everytime something goes
wrong you'll be dropped into a shell, which will resume execution
of the initrd once exited.
Quite handy for fixing up most things.

> > (In practice I doubt this adds more than a second or five to boot time;
> > certainly, it takes no longer to get to rootfs mounted than the RHEL 4
> > systems that have nothing but what is essential in the initrd...)
> At least in theory, with a kernel-event/udev driven system, the additional
> modules shouldn't cause any additional boot time. There wouldn't be
> events generated to cause them to be loaded, so they'd just be taking
> up space. And the additional load time for a bigger initrd should be
> really lost in the noise of the overall boot.
One can but hope. You certainly will notice a load time increase if the size
of the initrd increases by orders of magnitude.
Plus kdump / kexec will need to be configured to have more memory available.

Actually, I do like the callout idea:
Have the initrd configure a 'standard' system, and add some API which will
allow you to hook in additional scripts / services / whatever to configure
non-standard systems.
Which then can be distributed by the individual packages / vendors.
And then we would have a small common initramfs which well could be included
with the kernel sources.


Dr. Hannes Reinecke zSeries & Storage +49 911 74053 688
SUSE LINUX Products GmbH, Maxfeldstr. 5, 90409 Nürnberg
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