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SubjectRe: Driver optimization.
On Sun, 30 Jun 1996, Rogier Wolff wrote:

> I was reading some NT sources (No, please don't shoot me :-), and
> found something that Linux should've had for quite a while now.

On a similar note, I was speaking to a friend who is fairly familiar with
NT. He states that you can install NT 3.5/4.0 on computer A, a 586, and
also on computer B, a DEC alpha, and also computer C, a PowerPC RS/6000.

Then you can go to a store and buy Word or Office for NT, and install the
same software on computer A and on computer B and on computer C.

Now I must admit this sounded really unlikely; after all, what kind of
binary format could be implemented to generate code that is acceptable to
a DEC Alpha, a Pentium, and a PowerPC?

My friend attributed this to a "Hardware Abstraction Layer", which I
simply read as being a microkernel based approach to solving processor
and platform differences, and what came to mind was mklinux running on a

Yet, when I got an mklinux box up, and transfered an x86 binary to it, and
tried to run it, no go!

% file foobar
foobar: ELF 32-bit LSB executable i386 (386 and up) Version 1

What is it that NT has supposedly implemented?

What does it take to do "binary compatibility" across platforms? (i.e.
what does it take to run the *same* binary on x86, 68k, alpha, ppc?

It would be nice to be able to say, "hey, if you install Linux on your
machine, it will run all the code for Linux, whether compiled on PowerMac
or on a Pentium"...

How can a microkernel approach be modified to allow binary compatibility?

Is this an appropriate thing to have on a wish-list for 2.1?
Hopefully, NT on a PowerPC or a DEC box isn't *emulating* x86 code;
otherwise we see the horrendous performance you see on a PowerMac trying
to execute 68k code!

It appears to me that NT has a technical advantage if what my friend says
is true?


Khan Klatt
Applications Director,
Pacific Rim Network, Inc.
725 N. State St. Phone: (360) 650-0442 x.13
Bellingham WA 98225 Fax: (360) 738-8315

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