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SubjectRe: [Announce] BKL shifting into drivers and filesystems - beware


Linus Torvalds wrote:
>
>
>
> What would help would be more modular releases: smaller pieces of the
> kernel getting released independently, allowing for smaller and shorter
> release cycles. In Linux at least we don't have the "whole world" release
> issue that most other OS people have (including the free ones: I think the
> BSD "world" approach is horrible partly because of the release issues),
> but even just the kernel is so big that it would be nice to be able to see
> it as multiple independent projects.
>
> At the same time it's obviously not true that there are independent
> projects, and especially drivers (which _sound_ independent) are very
> likely to be impacted quite a lot by infrastructure changes. There are no
> really clear lines to split development up by, and the cures are worse
> than the disease ("microkernels", I hear somebody shout. But that approach
> would just make it impossible to do the kinds of improvements we _have_
> done and probably will continue to do).
>
> Linus
>

Breaking the device drivers, protocol stacks, disk drivers, file
systems, etc. out of the kernel proper and forcing them to always be
loadable modules would achieve this end with the added benefit of
allowing folks to plug in their own optimized binary versions -- Like
NetWare and NT are today. The only nasty place I can think of where
this won't work well is the incestuous hooking of block_read/block_write
functions which seens prevalant in the drivers to always force drivers
into the buffer cache. Having an alternate debugger interface in the
kernel that's loadable would also be really nice since it would allow me
to plug in the MANOS kernel debugger into the kernel proper (and speed
up our development by a factor of 20) rather than forcing us to use code
reviews and that putrid hacked up gdb variant to debug the kernel (which
is useless for SMP drivers).

Jeff

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