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    SubjectPROPOSAL: /proc/dev
      Hi, all. My recent work on the /proc/mtrr interface has gotten me
    thinking about an old discussion: configuring /dev entries. Instead of
    complicated schemes for determining what devices are available and
    automagically creating /dev entries, how about creating entries in
    /proc/dev instead?

    Take for example a miscellaneous character device driver such as the
    PC watchdog. Instead of calling <misc_register> it would call
    <proc_register> instead, creating a /proc/dev/pcwd entry rather than
    relying on /dev/pcwd to exist and have the correct major & minor
    numbers. When writing a new driver you would no longer have to worry
    about allocating major & minor numbers. Another benefit is that
    /prov/dev device entries only exist when the device is available,
    which is kind of neat. Done properly, this should take no more kernel
    memory than the existing major&minor /dev entries.

    All that would be needed is a few simple support functions to make it
    easy to register and unregister /proc/dev entries (for example using a
    common struct inode_operations to conserve kernel memory).

    I know that some may think that this is a departure from the
    "original" philosophy of /proc, but IMHO /proc is a really powerful
    interface with plenty of untapped potential.

    If I get general approval from the main kernel hackers, I can put out
    a patch which adds the support functions and modifies some existing
    drivers (pcwd for example). I think it would be good to add a config
    option (CONFIG_PROC_DEV) which if disabled (the default) drivers would
    call <misc_register> as they do now. Enabling CONFIG_PROC_DEV would
    make those drivers which have been patched register a /proc/dev entry
    instead. The documentation for CONFIG_PROC_DEV would tell the sysadmin
    to create symlinks in /dev for compatibility, and should maintain a
    list of which drivers have been converted.

    So, kernel gurus, what do you think?



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