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SubjectRe: Linux Kernel Wish-List
In <Pine.LNX.3.95.980918201950.408E-100000@deathstar.healey.com.au>, on
09/18/98
at 08:23 PM, Benjamin Grosman <bgrosman@healey.com.au> said:
>Hello All,

>The Linux Kernel Wish List contains the following item:

>Java or Forth interpreter in kernel for device drivers. This lets vendors
>write binary drivers that will work for Intel, Alpha, and whatever else
>uses the same bus. An interpreted driver without source code is better
>than no driver at all.

>A few questions on this then:

>1) Is this a serious wish?
Depends on who wrote it. I think interpreters are too slow for this
purpose. A hopelessly slow cpu-killing device is worse than no device at
all, considering the fact that
good drivers exist for plenty of devices already.

Vendors can write drivers in C for Intel, Alpha, and whatever already. A
interpreted language isn't necessary, because compiled C is supported on
all platforms. It is fast and doesn't need an emulator.
The vendor may release the source, or distribute binary modules (compiled
driver files)
if the source contains trade secrets. Its the vendors choice, and we can
get a driver either way.

I believe releasing driver source will become more common as
devices get more complicated. This because the performance
(and trade secrets) will be in the complex device electronics, not in
cleverly written driver code. So it won't matter if competitors copy
code when they can't copy the chip.

Helge Hafting
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helge.hafting@daldata.no
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