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SubjectRe: ANNOUNCE: Linux Kernel ORB: kORBit


On Wed, 13 Dec 2000, Chris Lattner wrote:

> > > Err... how about this: Give me two or three kORBit syscalls and I can get
> > > rid of all the other 100+ syscalls! :)
>
> > Like it ioctl() does it? Number of entry points is _not_ an issue. Diversity
> > of the API is. Technically, kernel has 1 (_o_n_e_) entry point as far as
> > userland is concerned. int 0x80 on x86. Can't beat that, can you?
>
> Err shame on you, don't forget about lcall and exceptions, and interrupts,
> and... That is technically more than _o_n_e_ "entry point". :) Oh wait,
> what about sysenter/exit too? :)

OK, you got me on lcall (however, that's iBCS-only, IIRC), but the rest...
what the hell does userland to interrupts? <thinks> OK, make it 2 - pagefault
can be arguably used in that way.

> No I can't beat that. But if you look at the hack job of a system call
> table we have, you can see that there is no _really_ standard way of
> passing parameters. Oh sure, most of the time, stuff is passed in
> registers. Sometimes we get a pointer to an argument struct. Because of
> this wonderful design we get all kinds of stuff like sys_oldumount vs
> sys_umount and others...

Check how often anything uses the majority of that stuff...

> > Yes, standard RPC mechanism would be nice. No, CORBA is not a good candidate -
> > too baroque and actually known to lead to extremely tasteless APIs being
> > implemented over it. Yes, I mean GNOME. So sue me.
>
> Hrm... because I'm stupid, please explain how CORBA is too baroque... I

Check 9P and compare. Really. Section 5 of Plan 9 manpages. Available on
plan-9.bell-labs.com/sys/man/

> have no problem with you not liking GNOME... you're a kernel hacker, so
> you're not supposed to like GUI's. :) [just kidding!!!] CORBA doesn't
> preclude nasty APIs any more than C does. It also doesn't preclude *nice*
> APIs that are upgradable and extensible in the future (and that means
> without breaking backwards compatibility). Please don't tell me that OOP
> is bad... or else we will have the eviscerate the VFS layer from the
> kernel (amount other subsystems)... :)

OOP is a nice tool. However, it's a tool that has incredible potential of
shooting one's foot. It's wonderful if you have sane set of methods. And
that's a _big_ if. "Easily extensible" is not an absolutely good thing -
C++ wankers all over the world are busily proving it every day. Heck, they
make a living out of that. IOW, the problem with interface changes is _not_
in converting the old code. It's in choosing the right changes. And that
part of the game can't be simplified.

> > I would take 9P over that any day, thank you very much.
>
> Like I mentioned in a previous email, CORBA does not preclude 9P. What
> it does buy you though, is compatibility with LOTS of preexisting CORBA
> tools. How much development infrastructure is there for 9P? I thought
> so. :)

All UNIX userland on the client side. lib9p on the server side (23Kb of sparse
C). Examples of use in servers - see the aforementioned site.

> For one of our demos, we ran a file server on a remote linux box (that we
> just had a user account on), mounted it on a kORBit'ized box, and ran
> programs on SPARC Solaris that accessed the kORBit'ized linux box's file
> syscalls. If nothing else, it's pretty nifty what you can do in little
> code...

Duh. And what's new about that?

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