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Run a Distribution-Supplied Kernel with PV-GRUB

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PV-GRUB makes it possible to run your own kernel on your Linode, instead of using a host-supplied kernel. This is useful in cases where you'd like to enable specific kernel features, or you'd prefer to handle kernel upgrades directly.

If you'd like to run a custom distro on your Linode in combination with PV-GRUB, please follow our Custom Distro guide before taking these steps.

Before you get started, make sure you follow the steps outlined in our Getting Started guide. Your Linode needs to be in a functional state. These steps should be performed as root on your Linode, via an SSH session.

Contents

Ubuntu 13.04 (Raring)

  1. Update your package repositories and upgrade your installed packages by issuing the following commands:

    apt-get update
    apt-get upgrade --show-upgraded
    
  2. Issue the following commands to install the default kernel for Ubuntu 13.04, uninstall grub2, and install grub:

    apt-get install linux-image-virtual
    apt-get purge grub2 grub-pc
    apt-get install grub
    mkdir /boot/grub
    update-grub
    

    When you are asked which devices you would like to install grub on, leave all listed devices unchecked and select Ok to continue. When you are asked whether you would like to continue without installing GRUB, answer yes. When you are asked to confirm removal of GRUB 2 from /boot/grub, answer yes. When you are asked whether you would like a menu.lst file generated for you, answer yes.

  3. Edit the /boot/grub/menu.lst file as follows. As noted in the file, please do not uncomment entries that begin with the # character. First, locate the following excerpt:

    File excerpt:/boot/grub/menu.lst

    timeout         3
    
  4. Change it to match the following excerpt. This will give you a bit of additional time at boot to select your desired kernel, in case you feel the need to go back to an older one in the future.

    File excerpt:/boot/grub/menu.lst

    timeout         10
    
  5. Next, locate the line containing kopt that resembles the following excerpt:

    File excerpt:/boot/grub/menu.lst

    # kopt=root=UUID=de400b9f-2578-488e-8664-250a8455a6fc ro
    
  6. Change it to match the following excerpt:

    File excerpt:/boot/grub/menu.lst

    # kopt=root=/dev/xvda console=hvc0 ro quiet
    
  7. Next, locate the line containing groot that resembles the following excerpt:

    File excerpt:/boot/grub/menu.lst

    # groot=(hd0,0)
    
  8. Change it to match the following excerpt:

    File excerpt:/boot/grub/menu.lst

    # groot=(hd0)
    
  9. Issue the following command to update grub:

    update-grub
    
  10. Next, open the file /etc/init/hvc0.conf and verify that it matches the following excerpt:

    File:/etc/init/hvc0.conf

    # hvc0 - getty
    #
    # This service maintains a getty on hvc0 from the point the system is
    # started until it is shut down again.
    
    start on stopped rc RUNLEVEL=[2345]
    stop on runlevel [!2345]
    
    respawn
    exec /sbin/getty -8 38400 hvc0
    
  11. In the Linode Manager, edit your Linode's configuration profile to use either pv-grub-x86_32 or pv-grub-x86_64 as the kernel, depending on the version of Ubuntu you have deployed (32-bit or 64-bit).

  12. Make sure the root device is specified as xvda.

  13. In the Filesystem/Boot Helpers section, disable the Xenify distro option.

  14. Save your changes by clicking Save Profile at the bottom of the page.

  15. Reboot your Linode from the Dashboard tab.

  16. Once your Linode has rebooted, log in via SSH and issue the following command:

    uname -a
    

    You should see output similar to the following, indicating that you're running the native kernel:

    Linux li63-119 3.8.0-29-generic #42-Ubuntu SMP Tue Aug 13 19:40:39 UTC 2013 x86_64 x86_64 x86_64 GNU/Linux
    

Ubuntu 12.04 (Precise)

  1. Update your package repositories and upgrade your installed packages by issuing the following commands:

    apt-get update
    apt-get upgrade --show-upgraded
    
  2. Issue the following commands to install the default kernel for Ubuntu 12.04, uninstall grub2, and install grub:

    apt-get install linux-virtual
    apt-get purge grub2 grub-pc
    apt-get install grub
    update-grub
    

    When you are asked which devices you would like to install grub on, leave all listed devices unchecked and select Ok to continue. When you are asked whether you would like to continue without installing GRUB, answer yes. When you are asked to confirm removal of GRUB 2 from /boot/grub, answer yes. When you are asked whether you would like a menu.lst file generated for you, answer yes.

  3. Edit the /boot/grub/menu.lst file as follows. As noted in the file, please do not uncomment entries that begin with the # character. First, locate the following excerpt:

    File excerpt:/boot/grub/menu.lst

    timeout         3
    
  4. Edit the file to match the following excerpt. This will give you a bit of additional time at boot to select your desired kernel, in case you feel the need to go back to an older one in the future.

    File excerpt:/boot/grub/menu.lst

    timeout         10
    
  5. Next, locate the line containing kopt that resembles the following excerpt:

    File excerpt:/boot/grub/menu.lst

    # kopt=root=UUID=de400b9f-2578-488e-8664-250a8455a6fc ro
    
  6. Edit it to match the following excerpt:

    File excerpt:/boot/grub/menu.lst

    # kopt=root=/dev/xvda console=hvc0 ro quiet
    
  7. Next, locate the line containing "groot" that resembles the following excerpt:

    File excerpt:/boot/grub/menu.lst

    # groot=(hd0,0)
    
  8. Change it to match the following excerpt:

    File excerpt:/boot/grub/menu.lst

    # groot=(hd0)
    
  9. Issue the following command to update grub:

    update-grub
    
  10. Next, open the file "/etc/init/hvc0.conf" and verify that it matches the following excerpt:

    File:/etc/init/hvc0.conf

    # hvc0 - getty
    #
    # This service maintains a getty on hvc0 from the point the system is
    # started until it is shut down again.
    
    start on stopped rc RUNLEVEL=[2345]
    stop on runlevel [!2345]
    
    respawn
    exec /sbin/getty -8 38400 hvc0
    
  11. In the Linode Manager, edit your Linode's configuration profile to use either pv-grub-x86_32 or pv-grub-x86_64 as the kernel, depending on the version of Ubuntu you have deployed (32-bit or 64-bit).

  12. Make sure the root device is specified as xvda.

  13. In the Filesystem/Boot Helpers section, disable the Xenify distro option.

  14. Save your changes by clicking Save Profile at the bottom of the page.

  15. Reboot your Linode from the Dashboard tab.

  16. Once your Linode has rebooted, log in via SSH and issue the following command:

    uname -a
    

    You should see output similar to the following, indicating you're running the native kernel:

    Linux localhost 3.2.0-52-virtual #78-Ubuntu SMP Fri Jul 26 16:45:00 UTC 2013 x86_64 x86_64 x86_64 GNU/Linux
    

Ubuntu 10.04 LTS (Lucid)

  1. Update your package repositories and upgrade your installed packages by issuing the following commands:

    apt-get update
    apt-get upgrade --show-upgraded
    
  2. Issue the following commands to install the default kernel for Ubuntu 10.04 LTS, uninstall grub2, and install grub:

    apt-get install linux-virtual
    apt-get purge grub2 grub-pc
    rm -f /boot/grub/*
    apt-get install grub
    update-grub
    

    When you are asked whether you would like to continue without installing GRUB, answer yes. When you are asked to confirm removal of GRUB 2 from /boot/grub, answer yes. When you are asked whether you would like a menu.lst file generated for you, answer yes.

  3. Edit the /boot/grub/menu.lst file as follows. As noted in the file, please do not uncomment entries that begin with the # character. First, locate the following excerpt:

    File excerpt:/boot/grub/menu.lst

    timeout         3
    
  4. Edit this line to match the following excerpt. This will give you a bit of additional time at boot to select your desired kernel, in case you feel the need to go back to an older one in the future.

    File excerpt:/boot/grub/menu.lst

    timeout         10
    
  5. Next, locate the line containing kopt that resembles the following excerpt:

    File excerpt:/boot/grub/menu.lst

    # kopt=root=UUID=de400b9f-2578-488e-8664-250a8455a6fc ro
    
  6. Change it to match the following excerpt:

    File excerpt:/boot/grub/menu.lst

    # kopt=root=/dev/xvda console=hvc0 ro quiet
    
  7. Next, locate the line containing groot that resembles the following excerpt:

    File excerpt:/boot/grub/menu.lst

    # groot=de400b9f-2578-488e-8664-250a8455a6fc
    
  8. Change it to match the following excerpt:

    File excerpt:/boot/grub/menu.lst

    # groot=(hd0)
    
  9. Issue the following command to update grub:

    update-grub
    
  10. Create the file /etc/init/hvc0.conf with the following contents:

    File:/etc/init/hvc0.conf

    # hvc0 - getty
    #
    # This service maintains a getty on hvc0 from the point the system is
    # started until it is shut down again.
    
    start on stopped rc RUNLEVEL=[2345]
    stop on runlevel [!2345]
    
    respawn
    exec /sbin/getty -8 38400 hvc0
    
  11. In the Linode Manager, edit your Linode's configuration profile to use either pv-grub-x86_32 or pv-grub-x86_64 as the kernel, depending on the version of Ubuntu you have deployed (32-bit or 64-bit).

  12. Make sure the root device is specified as xvda.

  13. In the Filesystem/Boot Helpers section, disable the Xenify distro option.

  14. Save your changes by clicking Save Profile at the bottom of the page.

  15. Reboot your Linode from the Dashboard tab.

  16. Once your Linode has rebooted, log in via SSH and issue the following command:

    uname -a
    

    You should see output similar to the following, indicating you're running the native kernel:

    Linux li263-140 2.6.32-31-generic-pae #61-Ubuntu SMP Fri Apr 8 20:00:13 UTC 2011 i686 GNU/Linux
    

Debian 7 (Wheezy)

  1. Update your package repositories and upgrade your installed packages by issuing the following commands:

    apt-get update
    apt-get upgrade --show-upgraded
    
  2. Issue the following commands to install the default kernel for Debian 7, along with the grub bootloader package:

    32-bit Debian:

    apt-get install linux-image-686-pae
    mkdir /boot/grub
    apt-get install grub-legacy
    

    64-bit Debian:

    apt-get install linux-image-amd64
    mkdir /boot/grub
    apt-get install grub-legacy
    
  3. Issue the following commands to generate an initial /boot/grub/menu.lst file:

    grub-set-default 1
    update-grub
    
  4. Edit the /boot/grub/menu.lst file as follows. As noted in the file, please do not uncomment entries that begin with the # character. First, locate the following excerpt:

    File excerpt:/boot/grub/menu.lst

    timeout         5
    
  5. Change it to match the following excerpt. This will give you a bit of additional time at boot to select your desired kernel, in case you feel the need to go back to an older one in the future.

    File excerpt:/boot/grub/menu.lst

    timeout         10
    
  6. Next, locate the line containing kopt that resembles the following excerpt:

    File excerpt:/boot/grub/menu.lst

    # kopt=root=UUID=de400b9f-2578-488e-8664-250a8455a6fc ro
    
  7. Change it to match the following excerpt:

    File excerpt:/boot/grub/menu.lst

    # kopt=root=/dev/xvda console=hvc0 ro quiet
    
  8. Next, locate the line containing groot= and verify that it matches the following excerpt:

    File excerpt:/boot/grub/menu.lst

    # groot=(hd0)
    
  9. Issue the following command to update grub:

    update-grub
    
  10. In the Linode Manager, edit your Linode's configuration profile to use either pv-grub-x86_32 or pv-grub-x86_64 as the kernel, depending on the version of Debian you have deployed (32-bit or 64-bit).

  11. Make sure the root device is specified as xvda.

  12. In the Filesystem/Boot Helpers section, disable the Xenify distro option.

  13. Save your changes by clicking Save Profile at the bottom of the page.

  14. Reboot your Linode from the Dashboard tab.

  15. Once your Linode has rebooted, log in via SSH and issue the following command:

    uname -a
    

    You should see output similar to the following, indicating you're running the native kernel:

    Linux li263-140 2.6.32-5-xen-686 #1 SMP Wed May 18 09:43:15 UTC 2011 i686 GNU/Linux
    

Debian 6 (Squeeze)

  1. Update your package repositories and upgrade your installed packages by issuing the following commands:

    apt-get update
    apt-get upgrade --show-upgraded
    
  2. Issue the following commands to install the default kernel for Debian 6, along with the grub bootloader package:

    32-bit Debian:

    apt-get install linux-image-xen-686
    mkdir /boot/grub
    apt-get install grub-legacy
    

    64-bit Debian:

    apt-get install linux-image-xen-amd64
    mkdir /boot/grub
    apt-get install grub-legacy
    
  3. Issue the following commands to generate an initial /boot/grub/menu.lst file:

    grub-set-default 1
    update-grub
    
  4. Edit the /boot/grub/menu.lst file as follows. As noted in the file, please do not uncomment entries that begin with the # character. First, locate the following excerpt:

    File excerpt:/boot/grub/menu.lst

    timeout         5
    
  5. Change it to match the following excerpt. This will give you a bit of additional time at boot to select your desired kernel, in case you feel the need to go back to an older one in the future:

    File excerpt:/boot/grub/menu.lst

    timeout         10
    
  6. Next, locate the line containing kopt that resembles the following excerpt:

    File excerpt:/boot/grub/menu.lst

    # kopt=root=UUID=de400b9f-2578-488e-8664-250a8455a6fc ro
    
  7. Change it to match the following excerpt:

    File excerpt:/boot/grub/menu.lst

    # kopt=root=/dev/xvda console=hvc0 ro quiet
    
  8. Next, locate the line containing groot= and verify that it matches the following excerpt:

    File excerpt:/boot/grub/menu.lst

    # groot=(hd0)
    
  9. Issue the following command to update grub:

    update-grub
    
  10. In the Linode Manager, edit your Linode's configuration profile to use either pv-grub-x86_32 or pv-grub-x86_64 as the kernel, depending on the version of Debian you have deployed (32-bit or 64-bit).

  11. Make sure the root device is specified as xvda.

  12. In the Filesystem/Boot Helpers section, disable the Xenify distro option.

  13. Save your changes by clicking Save Profile at the bottom of the page.

  14. Reboot your Linode from the Dashboard tab.

  15. Once your Linode has rebooted, log in via SSH and issue the following command:

    uname -a
    

    You should see output similar to the following, indicating you're running the native kernel:

    Linux li263-140 2.6.32-5-xen-686 #1 SMP Wed May 18 09:43:15 UTC 2011 i686 GNU/Linux
    

CentOS 6

  1. Make sure your package repositories and installed packages are up to date by issuing the following command:

    yum update
    
  2. Run the following command to identify the kernel your CentOS system has provided:

    uname -a
    
  3. This command should provide output similar to that shown below:

    Linux li63-119 2.6.32-358.14.1.el6.x86_64 #1 SMP Tue Jul 16 23:51:20 UTC 2013 x86_64 x86_64 x86_64 GNU/Linux
    
  4. Make a note of the kernel you're currently using (2.6.32-358.14.1.el6.x86_64 in our example). You will be replacing it with the kernel shown in the configuration below.

  5. Create a file named /boot/grub/menu.lst with the following contents. Adjust the title, kernel, and initrd lines to reflect the actual file names found in the /boot/ directory.

    File:/boot/grub/menu.lst

    timeout 10
    
    title           CentOS 6, kernel-2.6.32-358.14.1.el6.x86_64
    root            (hd0)
    kernel          /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.32-358.14.1.el6.x86_64 root=/dev/xvda ro quiet
    initrd          /boot/initramfs-2.6.32-358.14.1.el6.x86_64.img
    
  6. In the Linode Manager, edit your Linode's configuration profile to use either pv-grub-x86_32 or pv-grub-x86_64 as the Kernel, depending on the version of CentOS you have deployed (32-bit or 64-bit).

  7. Make sure the root device is specified as xvda.

  8. Save your changes by clicking Save Profile at the bottom of the page.

  9. Reboot your Linode from the Dashboard tab.

  10. Once your Linode has rebooted, log in via SSH and issue the following command:

    uname -a
    

    You should see output similar to the following, indicating you're running the native kernel:

    Linux li63-119 2.6.32-358.14.1.el6.x86_64 #1 SMP Tue Jul 16 23:51:20 UTC 2013 x86_64 x86_64 x86_64 GNU/Linux
    

CentOS 5

Warren Togami was kind enough to provide a script to automate getting a native CentOS 5 kernel up and running, including with SELinux support. We will use this script in the following instructions.

  1. Issue the following commands as root to retrieve and run the script:

    wget -O selinux.sh http://library.linode.com/assets/542-centos5-native-kernel-selinux-enforcing.sh
    chmod +x selinux.sh
    ./selinux.sh
    
  2. Once the script has finished, edit your Linode's configuration profile. Change the Kernel to pv-grub-x86_32 or pv-grub-x86_64, depending on which version of CentOS (32-bit or 64-bit) you're running.

  3. Set the Xenify Distro and Automount devtmpfs options to No.

  4. Click the Save Changes button.

  5. Reboot your Linode from the Dashboard tab.

  6. Once your Linode has rebooted, log in via SSH and issue the following command:

    restorecon -Rv /
    
  7. Your Linode should now be running a native CentOS 5 kernel. You can verify this by issuing the following command:

    uname -a
    

    You should see output similar to the following:

    Linux li181-194 2.6.18-194.26.1.el5xen #1 SMP Tue Nov 9 14:13:46 EST 2010 i686 i686 i386 GNU/Linux
    

Fedora 17

  1. Make sure your package repositories and installed packages are up to date by issuing the following command:

    yum update
    
  2. Issue the following command to install the default kernel for Fedora 13:

    32-bit Fedora:

    yum install kernel-PAE.i686
    

    64-bit Fedora:

    yum install kernel.x86_64
    
  3. Create a file named /boot/grub/menu.lst with the following contents. Adjust the title, kernel, and initrd lines to reflect the actual file names found in the /boot/ directory.

    File:/boot/grub/menu.lst

    timeout 5
    
    title           Fedora 17, kernel 3.9.10-100.fc17.x86_64
    root            (hd0)
    kernel          /boot/vmlinuz-3.9.10-100.fc17.x86_64 root=/dev/xvda ro quiet
    initrd          /boot/initramfs-3.9.10-100.fc17.x86_64.img
    
  4. In the Linode Manager, edit your Linode's configuration profile to use either pv-grub-x86_32 or pv-grub-x86_64 as the Kernel, depending on the version of Fedora you have deployed (32-bit or 64-bit).

  5. Make sure the root device is specified as xvda.

  6. Save your changes by clicking Save Profile at the bottom of the page.

  7. Reboot your Linode from the Dashboard tab.

  8. Once your Linode has rebooted, log in via SSH and issue the following command:

    uname -a
    

    You should see output similar to the following, indicating you're running the native kernel:

    Linux li63-119 3.9.10-100.fc17.x86_64 #1 SMP Sun Jul 14 01:31:27 UTC 2013 x86_64 x86_64 x86_64 GNU/Linux
    

Note that if you later install an updated kernel, you'll need to add an entry for it to your menu.lst file. By default, the first kernel in the list will be booted.

Creative Commons License

This guide is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 United States License.

Last edited by Nick Atzert on Friday, February 7th, 2014 (r4217).