Is KVM really going to be this flakey at release?

Asked by Omega on 2008-04-14

It's starting to look like this KVM stuff is not ready for mass release as I have encountered four issues so far where it just didn't work at all and required a missing package, permission changes or any other intervention. It certainly goes against the mantra of Ubuntu to "just work". Furthermore, it looks like none of these issues are being considered with any priority.

I can't configure networking in any usable shape or form using the UI provided either. I'm hoping to get something similar to bridged networking in VMWare...

Is there going to be a big push of updates to the KVM-related packages in Ubuntu or is it seriously going to ship this 'broken'? I have very high hopes for the functionality and I'm hoping I can replace vmware with a more naturally provided alternative.

Perhaps I'm missing something, if anyone can help, that would be appreciated too!

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Last query:
2008-04-16
Last reply:
2008-05-04

I'm afraid that only the ~1000 packages that are installed by default are the ones that get the attention of the Ubuntu people. Going for the masses I suppose.

Omega (atrauzzi) said : #2

I seriously can't accept that thought process as an answer considering that KVM is a major announcement in the release feature list page: http://www.ubuntu.com/testing/hardy/beta#head-93dfb0872d70d206c17444b8d379ee960c516f11
This page is linked to directly off the Ubuntu home page! Anyone who's interested in Hardy Heron is going to be seeing KVM highlighted as a feature. This is a highly visible feature that I can almost assure you will earn Ubuntu a lot of bad reviews if not implemented properly!

"KVM is now officially maintained within the Ubuntu kernel.

libvirt and virt-manager have been integrated in Ubuntu. They allow for easy guest creation and basic management of virtual machines out of the box. Virt-manager can be used to administer guests on a remote server.

The kernel also includes virtio, greatly improving I/O performance in guests."

With that kind of attention being focused on it, this package is going to see a lot of use and given my experiences with the Hardy beta so far, it is not ready for mainstream attention. Not the kind that Ubuntu has pleased for so long by "just working".

Harvey Muller (hlmuller) said : #3

Omega,

The answer to your question, "Is KVM really going to be this flakey at release?", is yes and no.

If I interpret the question as "Is the released KVM support going to be similar to what I am seeing in the beta versions?", then the answer is a resounding yes. The developers will continue to correct bugs in KVM that are reported up to the formal release of Hardy, but it is safe to assume that it will not look vastly different.

If I interpret the question as "Is KVM flakey now and will it be at release?", then my answer would be no. I have used KVM exclusively since Gutsy, and administer both XP and Vista guests successfully. I am not an expert, and have only done so for the learning experience.

Please do view the following as a personal attack. This is only offered constructively, in an attempt by one user to offer help to another.

From an outsider's perspective your question appears to take on the tone of a rant, instead of a question to be resolved. The title of the question is not a concise definition, and is subjective.

You mention four problems in the first paragraph "where it just didn't work", and only briefly described three of them:
  a. Required missing package
  b. Permission changes
  c. Can't configure networking

The other problem is lumped in a general statement, "any other intervention.

If you are attempting to obtain help with KVM, please refine the question further and provide greater detail on the issues encountered. A resource that I found invaluable when asking questions is this:

    http://catb.org/~esr/faqs/smart-questions.html

If you are attempting to further improve the Ubuntu KVM experience for the benefit of yourself and the community, I recommend you report bugs as you find them. Feature and policy discussions should be discussed on the ubuntu-devel-discuss mailing list:

    http://lists.ubuntu.com/mailman/listinfo/ubuntu-devel-discuss

If you wish to resolve immediate problems you are experiencing with KVM, please clarify the following:

1. What is the required missing package which you are referring to?

2. What is the issue with permissions?

3. What are you having problems with relative to configuring networking?

4. What is the unmentioned fourth issue?

If this question is just an expression of frustration, I can understand. But a more appropriate forum would be the ubuntu-devel-discuss mailing list.

Best regards,

Harvey

Omega (atrauzzi) said : #4

Harvey,

I don't like using mailing lists as they are a frustrating format to use for communication. Either way, I have already submitted bugs and most of what you've suggested is nothing new to me. I am a highly technical user and I am submitting this question in the hopes I can bring up some awareness as to how not-ready the current iterations of the broadly promoted KVM system are.

Don't take it from me now if you don't want to, I've made countless predictions and been bang on. I'm just trying to get the word out now because I love Ubuntu so much and hope that some people will notice and put something in place to at least sort out the ease of use shortly after release.

KVM as it is now will translate to bad reviews for Ubuntu and I think now is a time that the distro should not be chancing doing anything - especially a banner item like KVM - poorly.

Sincerely, it isn't a rant and if you make any effort with the current beta you can observe the same if not more issues than I have (I have a lot of experience in software and may have inadvertently sidestepped potential problems). It isn't a stretch to say that while posting bugs and "inconvenience issues", I came across other people having problems.

I've been using Linux since 1997 and have had exposure to it (I was young at the time) since it was little more than a newsgroup post. To say the least, I have much more than a mainstream grasp of just about anything that goes on in a system.
Running a VM isn't to be the easiest undertaking in using an ubuntu system, but if you compare the experience to vmware server, it's like night and day. They've made many efforts to ensure that getting the software on your machine and being able to configure it is as effortless as possible. While the tools found in Ubuntu are capable of adding up to a superior solution, they just simply aren't there yet.

I think a good answer here would be for some planners in Ubuntu to take ownership of these concerns and put some plans in to get KVM prepared for the harsh mainstream eye as soon as possible (within reason of course).

I do take your interpretation a bit worse than you seem to want to imply, sorry. Don't take anything I say as a rant because none of it is. I'm trying to raise some warning signals here. Prefacing any response that tries to spoon feed me information like that has no hope of seeming cordial.

Harvey Muller (hlmuller) said : #5

Omega,

I have to confess that "Please do view" in the preface you mention should read "Please do not view". I assure you the slip was only a mechanical one and not freudian. <grin>

I had no intent of either discounting your experience, nor that of being anything less than cordial. It was not clear to me based on what you wrote whether this was an actual need /request for help or something entirely different. I assumed because it was presented in this forum that there was an actual question to be better understood.

I understand now that it is not help that you desire, but that you wish to express your input on KVM and its development within Ubuntu to the responsible developers. Keeping in mind your dislike of mailing lists, perhaps a more direct approach would be to contact the members of the Ubuntu Virtualisation Team. It doesn't look like any of them are directly subscribed to this question.

As a general statement, I agree that KVM as a feature in Ubuntu does require more polishing. Getting it setup satisfactorily in Gutsy was not easy. I have yet to test the newly integrated virt-manager, but will be doing so this week prior to the final release. I have however successfully used my guest OSs in Hardy.

If there's anything I can do to help Omega with your KVM setup, please let me know. I maintained some pretty good notes of my initial experience. Otherwise I am stepping out of your way.

Best regards,

Harvey

Omega (atrauzzi) said : #6

Harvey,

Hey, no hard feelings! It's a community of good sentiment and I appreciate you being here to help out, that's awesome.

The virt-manager is for sure part of what I'm talking about as it seems like it will be the main UI for this functionality. Does the virtualization team maintain a page anywhere on the ubuntu site?

I'm guessing they've had many concerns forwarded to them and if so I want to add to that. It's just not ready and I will be very upset if Ubuntu gets bad press over something that could have been avoided.

I guess the most important thing here is, never be afraid to take a good hard look at yourself! ;)

Thank you :)

Harvey Muller (hlmuller) said : #7

Omega,

I took no offense, and was hoping you were not taking any either. I am all too familiar with the missing communication cues of the written medium.

This is where I found the team: https://launchpad.net/~ubuntu-virt

You would obviously have to click on each team member to learn their respective email addresses. If you prefer IRC, then it is possible you may be able to reach them on #ubuntu+1 or #ubuntu-devel. Their nicknames are identified on their respective pages.

Best wishes,

Harvey

Neal McBurnett (nealmcb) said : #8

Omega - thanks for your help and input.

My sense based on input from Harvey and many other users is that kvm is working well for many use cases, but apparently not for some of the stuff you're trying to do. Others who view this thread would benefit if you could link to the specific bugs you're most concerned about, or describe which things you're trying to do, so they can evaluate whether their use cases are more similar to yours or to Harvey and the many other successful users of kvm.

Some of the use cases (both server and desktop) we've kept in mind are at

 https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Virtualization

and further specs will be developed in late May at the Ubuntu Developers Summit. This is a good time to provide input.

Also see (and contribute to...) the documentation at

 https://wiki.ubuntu.com/KvmVirtManagerEtc

If you are an IRC user, please join us at #ubuntu-virt to help improve things further.

Thanks,
Neal

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