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SubjectRe: Some very thought-provoking ideas about OS architecture.
On Sun, Jun 20, 1999 at 10:09:55PM +0200, Pavel Machek wrote:
> Well - there is. Because function calling leads to things like
> ioctl(). And ioctl() is _evil_. Yes, linux-kernel interface without
> ioctl-like things would be ok with me. Even ioctl() which is _always_
> given a structure which begins with its own length would be ok. But
> ioctl() as it is today is evil, because you may pass horrible things
> like linklist of things to do. And it is hard to marshall _that_.

Surely the sensible way of doing this is to define an ioctl2() system
call which is given a length. I imagine we would then add an ioctl2()
method to struct file_operations, and fall back to ioctl() (trimming
off the length word) for compatibility.

I wonder if we can do this in a clever enough way to renumber all the
old definitions of ioctl numbers.


#define LOOP_SET_FD 0x4C00


#define VIDIOCGCAP _IOR('v',1,struct video_capability)


The alternative would be to drop ioctl altogether and replace it with a
different interface. plan9 uses ctl files -- you write strings to them
to perform commands. But I'm not sure people are willing to make that
kind of radical change (certainly not within the 2.3 timeframe).

Matthew Wilcox <>
"Windows and MacOS are products, contrived by engineers in the service of
specific companies. Unix, by contrast, is not so much a product as it is a
painstakingly compiled oral history of the hacker subculture." - N Stephenson

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