We have updated our Arch Linux image and the Arch Linux install ISO to 2020.03.01 and made minor modifications to the remainder of the Linux based images.

The Arch Linux image comes with systemd version 245. Version 245 has two notable changes. The first is systemd-homed, which can safely be ignored. The second is systemd-repart, which is capable of growing disk partitions or adding disk partitions at boot. The boot message for systemd-repart is: “Starting Repartition Root Disk”.

Due to a customer request, our Debian and Ubuntu images received a round of internal cleanup. The following files were removed from the pre-installed prgmr-pv-domu package in favor of modifying them from preseed:

  • /etc/default/grub
  • /etc/ssh/sshd_config
  • /etc/hosts
  • /etc/hostname
  • /etc/network/interfaces

The default CentOS 6 sshd configuration was updated to more closely comply with Mozilla’s guidelines.

Finally, we eliminated a cause of boot delays for HVM Linux guests. By default, Linux loads a driver called xen_kbdfront. During initialization, the driver waits up to 30 seconds to detect a keyboard before giving up. Since a prgmr.com VPS has no keyboard, this probing unnecessarily delays the boot sequence.

Where possible, we have blacklisted the xen_kbdfront module. This works for Arch Linux, Fedora, and CentOS. Debian and Ubuntu build the module into their kernels. In those cases, we use the initcall_blacklist kernel command line parameter to prevent the driver’s initialization function from executing. This effectively blacklists a built-in driver.

Our distribution images and netboot installers are available from the management console of any Prgmr.com VPS.

Note that Arch Linux is only available to customers with a VPS using HVM virtualization. To check the virtualization mode of existing services, log in to the management console, select “system details”, and check the virtualization mode.