[kata-dev] Supported OSes, packaging plans for the future & some ideas

Eric Ernst eric.g.ernst at gmail.com
Wed Aug 12 00:42:11 UTC 2020

Sorry I missed the call this morning. My takes below.


On Tue, Aug 11, 2020 at 2:09 PM Fabiano FidĂȘncio <fidencio at redhat.com>

> Folks!
> We have discussed during this week's Architecture's meeting what could
> be a plan for the future with regards to packaging and I'd like to
> drop a suggestion here and then have it discussed in the August 25th
> meeting.
> The current situation is that the kata project builds kata pieces
> (which may differ considering whether you're using 2.x or 1.x
> branches) and distributes those together with our own qemu built
> statically and the kernel / initrd / image to be used. And, sincerely,
> this is *a* *lot* to take care of.
> My suggestion would be to reduce the amount of work we do, the amount
> of things we build, and start relying more on what the distros can
> provide us. Let me explain.
> For instance, we could ...
> Stop building & distributing our own VMMs
> =================================
> While I understand the reason why it's done, it'd be better to rely on
> the VMMs shipped by the distros.
> In order to do this, we'd have to either approach the distros, or to
> do the tests ourselves, to ensure that their latest release has a VMM
> that's capable of running kata. If the distro has that, we document we
> support the distro. If the distro does not have that, we can provide
> instructions on how to build the VMM, but we take out of our back the
> work of building it statically and shipping to the consumers.
> With this, we can do better testing on specific distros and ensure to
> possible consumers of kata where they can run the project and, with
> that, also forward the non kata specific issues to the distros
> themselves.

I disagree on this. We are often relying on very recent features in each
VMM, and we are opinionated on how we build it (see Kconfig options,
configure flags). We want a very specific set of devices and features in
each of our VMMs; we don't care about running Windows 95, etc.

> Keep building the kernel
> ===================
> Differently than the suggestion about the VMM, the kernel bits, IMHO,
> should still be built. The kernels we build can be used upstream, but
> we must ensure those are under no circumstances ready for
> production.Why? Because we have no power to track and fix CVEs as the
> distros do.
> So, we can keep shipping our own kernel and testing using it, but we
> should also incentive distros to use (and test) their own kernels with
> kata. The reason I say this is because it'd help the project to *not*
> require a distro to ship a non-tested kernel, which would drop a
> little bit the barrier of accepting kata as their official packages.

Agreed that we should keep building the kernel (again, the config is
important, and this can be at least used as a reference).

> Stop building & distributing our own distro packages
> ========================================
> While I also understand that building the packages for several distros
> may help the users, I don't think this is something that should be on
> the kata developer's back.
> For this, I'd suggest we take advantage of the kata-operator, being
> worked by Harshal and Jens Freimann, and consolidate on that as the
> way to install kata in your distro.
> I foresee that we have to write some kind of "kata-osinfo" package (as
> in, a module, not as in an rpm or deb), where we can store information
> about the distro, which are the VMMs supported by the distro, which
> are the virt filesystems supported by that distro, etc;  By doing this
> we can rely on a good documentation, or even on the operator to
> install the packages based on the info of each distro, but the only
> bit we'll distribute will be the kata binaries themselves.
> Doing this, we can keep it simple on our side, while relying more on
> the distros.

I want input from users of Kata in production on this. My guess is that
most organizations are rolling their own packages or are building their own
binaries and deploying via an operator/daemonset like kata-deploy. But,
that's my guess. Let's hope that users chime in on this thread.

More specifically: as a user, do you use Kata provided packages? Do you use
distro packages? Do you build your own packages/deployment?

I'd also want to get an ACK from the SUSE folks, who worked to add package
support in the past.

Thanks for bringing this up Fabiano.


> Those things would already reduce the maintenance burden and, at the
> same time, show to our consumers what's supported and tested from our
> side.
Of course, it goes without saying, but here I'm hoping our tests will
> follow the same approach and will use the distro packages, ensuring
> the basics would be working there and also reporting issues against
> the distro packages when needed.
> Please, take some time to think about the proposal. I'd love to hear
> feedback here in the Mailing List, but if you have something to add,
> please, also consider joining the Architecture's meeting on August
> 25th so we can take our final decision on this topic.
> Best Regards,
> --
> Fabiano FidĂȘncio
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> kata-dev at lists.katacontainers.io
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