I've been having a really hard time trying to get a Xen HVM using pfSense 2 (based on FreeBSD 8.1) working.

I can make the machine run, and boot from an ISO image, but I cannot get I/O to work in the console, which makes it impossible to configure.

The dom0 is Ubuntu 12.04 LTS, and I'm using the xcp packages from the PPA at http://ppa.launchpad.net/ubuntu-xen-org/xcp-unstable/ubuntu

I've created a HVM guest that will boot from an ISO image containing pfSense 2, but when I use the console, I cannot send any input. I can watch the guest boot, but I cannot interact with it. Mouse and keyboard are completely ignored.

As an experiment to get I/O working, I wanted to try using SDL instead of VNC for the console, but I cannot figure out how to change the configuration of an existing domU in the xapi of xcp.

For instance, there is a great guide to creating a HVM configuration file at http://www.virtuatopia.com/index.php/Configuring_and_Installating_a_Xen_Hardware_Virtual_Machine_(HVM)_domainU_Guest, but it does me no good, if the HVM already exists, and I cannot find the configuration file.

Any advice is appreciated. Either how to fix my input in my console, or how to reconfigure my console so it will work (SDL, serial console via pty and minicom, etc. - doesn't matter).

It took me almost a day just to figure out how to reduce the RAM usage of dom0 down to a low enough value that I could even launch a guest domU. Once I got that done, I now have a worthless console! (I got it to work exactly ONCE, while I was switching the vm-param values from a HVM to a PV and back, and didn't finish configuring pfSense before I had to reboot the guest, and haven't been able to get it to work since).

  • I give up. It's just simply not worth it. All I really need is some 32-bit hypervisor running under Ubuntu 12.04 LTS. I would have used VMware Workstation 8, but it refuses to run on Linux on a processor that's not 64-bit (which is weird, because the Windows version of VMware Workstation 8 doesn't care and runs on 32-bit processors). I tried putting VMware Workstation 7.1.5 on the machine, but I couldn't compile the kernel modules for it under the Linux 3.2 kernel. So I gave up, and went to Xen. – chriv May 23 '12 at 23:32
  • When I had problems with Xen, I went to KVM. When I had problems with KVM, I went to VirtualBox. I don't need high performance or ParaVirtualization, I just need it to work. I've been messing around with VMware for a day, Xen for 3 days, and KVM for another day. I got it up and running on VirtualBox in minutes (and I'm not a fan of VirtualBox, believe me)... – chriv May 23 '12 at 23:49

I have a running pfsense 2.0 as a HVM guest with xen 4.0. on Debian, During the install I selected embeeded install to get the serial console.

Here is the configuration I used:

kernel = "/usr/lib/xen-default/boot/hvmloader"
memory = 256
name = "pf.openforce.com"
vif = [ 'type=ioemu, bridge=eth0' ]
disk = ['file:/opt/cloud/pfSense-2.0.1-RELEASE-amd64.iso,hdb:cdrom,r', 'phy:/dev/mapper/vg04-pf.openforce.com,hda,w', ]


After that I get a serial console with xm console.

  • serial='pty' is missing in most documentation. – Florian Heigl Feb 22 '14 at 1:14

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