Tag Archives: rhel

libguestfs preview packages for RHEL 6.2

For RHEL 6.0 we delivered an old, very safe version of libguestfs (1.2). Even before RHEL 6.0 was out, we knew we wanted to radically update libguestfs because we had many major new features, and we had improved the speed of libguestfs by 4 or 5 times. Thus the RHEL 6.0 → 6.1 rebase was substantial.

For RHEL 6.2 we are not planning any big changes, but nevertheless we are going to pull in over 100 upstream patches and fix dozens of bugs.

RHEL 6.2 libguestfs will have the same official version 1.7.17 but in reality it will be very similar to the upstream stable branch version 1.8.11, the package which has been getting a lot of testing and feedback in Fedora 14.

If you are using libguestfs in RHEL 6.1 now and you want try out libguestfs as it will look in RHEL 6.2, have a look at these preview packages:


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libguestfs build — an open ended problem

librarian made a very true observation (Google translate) about libguestfs. It’s a Swiss army chainsaw, but it’s damn hard to build from source.

With RHEL and Fedora I’ve made it my aim that no one should need to build libguestfs from source, because we offer the highest quality packages with every feature compiled in. I also build Debian and Ubuntu packages when I can and until someone steps up to do that.

But why is libguestfs a difficult package to build?

The primary reason is that we package up, make an API for, and rigorously test, something like 200 different Linux packages. Essentially if you use (say) the guestfs_part_* API then in the background you’re using parted. If you’re using another API, you might be using e2fsck or resize2fs or lvm or grep or file or the kernel or any one of dozens of other programs. And to compound the problem, we don’t just “ship and forget”. We test these programs, and if they break, then we break. Our test suite has about 600 different tests and takes 2 hours to run.

And we test against Fedora Rawhide. The latest and buggiest.

Consequently we hit all the new bugs. Just today I hit a Linux 3.0 bug and another kernel/ftrace bug. Two weeks ago it was a bug in the file command, another bug in udev on Debian, and you can never exclude the possibility of stupidity by Ubuntu kernel maintainers.

It’s routine that I discover qemu, kernel and other bugs for the first time, because often a libguestfs build in Koji is the first build that boots up and runs the new software.

So what’s my point? It would be good if the Fedora kernel and qemu maintainers didn’t just push out a new package, but they tested that one can run inside the other. But while that would improve the situation for me, the real problem is that integrating software is hard, and it’s unfortunate that libguestfs has got into a situation where we are the first people to integrate and run Rawhide.

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RHEL 6.1 is out, new Virtualization Guide covers libguestfs

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.1 is out.

For this release the Virtualization guide was extensively updated. In particular I wrote a section on using libguestfs, guestfish and the virt tools for offline access to disk images.

I also managed to slip in a Perl joke …


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libguestfs RHEL 6.1 preview packages updated

The latest and hopefully final preview packages are available here:


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RHEL 6.1 beta – libguestfs changes

RHEL 6.1 beta is available for customers on RHN.

The version of libguestfs in RHEL 6.1 is 1.7.17, but with 77 patches on top of the tarball it is essentially the same as the upstream stable branch 1.8.

New features are too numerous to mention, but the main thing is greatly improved performance. It’s 4x or 5x faster than the RHEL 6.0 version.

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libguestfs 1.9.10 for RHEL 5.6

Here are some libguestfs packages for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.6:


Read the README file before attempting to use them.

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Updated libguestfs RHEL 6.1 preview packages

Updated packages are here now based on libguestfs 1.7.17.

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Changes ahead for libguestfs RHEL 6.1 package

I previously said that libguestfs in RHEL 6.1 would be based on the recent upstream 1.6 release.

This plans have had to change slightly. It looks like we’ll rebase to 1.7.16 (a development version).

The reason is simply that to get into the next release of RHEV we had to remove the Perl dependencies on a number of key programs, because the tiny RHEV-H hypervisor [PDF] doesn’t have space to include Perl. Several programs like virt-inspector and virt-df had to be rewritten in C. We could backport all of the changes but they amount to nearly every change since 1.6 anyway.

What I do have to do is to meticulously check each C program precisely matches the old Perl version, in terms of output, command line arguments and so on, so that scripts written against RHEL 6.0 won’t break. But that’s what you pay Red Hat for.

Preview packages will be available here.


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Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6

Looks like RHEL 6 is out.

Of course I’ve been using it for a while and it’s great.

This version has libguestfs-1.2.7-1.24.el6 (with backports) from back around April/May (when we started to stabilize and QA everything). Have fun using it, and when RHEL 6.1 ships it will come with libguestfs 1.6 which is much faster and more full-featured.

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libguestfs roadmap for 1.6, RHEL 6.1

We have mostly finalized the list of bugs and features that we will finish before the new stable branch of libguestfs (1.6) is created. You can view the list of 1.6 bugs and features here. Although I can’t promise exact dates, we’re hoping to have this out in November.

libguestfs is also due to be rebased for RHEL 6.1, and that will (probably) be based on upstream version 1.6. The new version is much faster (about 4x or 5x faster) than the version we are shipping in RHEL 6.0, and has a very large number of new features, but is backwards compatible with RHEL 6.0 so no code or script changes will be required.


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