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SubjectRe: [RFC] Splitting kernel headers and deprecating __KERNEL__
On Sunday 28 November 2004 11:36 pm, Jeff Garzik wrote:
> Linus Torvalds wrote:
> > In short: having the kernel use the same names as user space is ACTIVELY
> > BAD, exactly because those names have standards-defined visibility, which
> > means that the kernel _cannot_ use them in all places anyway. So don't
> > even _try_.
> >
> > On the bigger question of what to do with kernel headers in general,
> > let's just make one thing clear: the kernel headers are for the kernel,
> > and big and painful re-organizations that don't help _existing_ user
> > space are not going to happen.
> >
> > In particular, any re-organization that breaks _existing_ uses is totally
> > pointless. If you break existing uses, you might as well _not_ re-
> > organize, since if you consider kernel headers to be purely kernel-
> > internal (like they should be, but hey, reality trumps any wishes we
> > might have), then the current organization is perfectly fine.
> I don't think any drastic reorganization is even necessary.
> Mariusz Mazur <> updates
> for each 2.6.x
> kernel release. linux-libc-headers are the kernel headers, with all the
> kernel-specific stuff stripped out. i.e. userland ABI only. Not sure
> how many distros have started picking that up yet... I think Arjan said
> Fedora Core had, or would.

I've got a problem that mmazur's headers come down on one side of and Eric
Andersen of the busybox project comes down on the other side of. How the
heck do you implement losetup without including linux/loop.h?

The way both busybox and util-linux do it is the to block copy out lots of
ugly crap, include linux/version.h, and have #ifdefs to fix up differences
between known kernel versions. I'm serious. This is from
busybox/libbb/loop.c, but you can get an even more obfuscated variant of it
out of util-linux:


/* Grumble... The 2.6.x kernel breaks asm/posix_types.h
* so we get to try and cope as best we can... */
#include <linux/version.h>
#include <asm/posix_types.h>

#define __bb_kernel_dev_t __kernel_old_dev_t
#define __bb_kernel_dev_t __kernel_dev_t
#define __bb_kernel_dev_t unsigned short

/* Stuff stolen from linux/loop.h */
#define LO_NAME_SIZE 64
#define LO_KEY_SIZE 32
#define LOOP_SET_FD 0x4C00
#define LOOP_CLR_FD 0x4C01
#define LOOP_SET_STATUS 0x4C02
#define LOOP_GET_STATUS 0x4C03
struct loop_info {
int lo_number;
__bb_kernel_dev_t lo_device;
unsigned long lo_inode;
__bb_kernel_dev_t lo_rdevice;
int lo_offset;
int lo_encrypt_type;
int lo_encrypt_key_size;
int lo_flags;
char lo_name[LO_NAME_SIZE];
unsigned char lo_encrypt_key[LO_KEY_SIZE];
unsigned long lo_init[2];
char reserved[4];


When I submitted a patch to clean it up on the busybox list (fixing a real
compile problem I had with maszur's kernel headers):

I got this response:

> No no no no no no no no no!
> Rule #1: Never ever include kernel header files in user space.
> Rule #2: See Rule #1
> Rule #3: See Rule #2

Apparently, linux/version.h isn't considered a kernel header?

Somehow, including linux/loop.h is considered bad, but including
linux/version.h and having version specific #ifdefs in our code to fix up a
block copied header for the specific kernel versions we know about is LESS
incestuous knowledge. (After all, the above will OBVIOUSLY work on BSD, is
guaranteed to continue to compile without modification under the 2.8 kernel,
and is in generally much cleaner than deleting all that crap and just
including linux/loop.h.)

I still don't understand the reasoning here. Mazur's cleaned-up kernel
headers include a cleaned up version of linux/loop.h because loop_info simply
isn't defined anywhere else we can #include, and it's something you need in
order to set up loop devices. It's a structure userspace and the kernel use
to pass data back and forth, both need to include it. Any _new_ header file
created won't exist on 2.4, but this header IS there on 2.4, and 2.2, and
2.6. Including linux/loop.h is the only thing that will _work_, both in
current and in future versions.

How is this _supposed_ to be done?

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