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    SubjectRe: what's next for the linux kernel?
    On Mon, 3 Oct 2005, Luke Kenneth Casson Leighton wrote:

    > On Sun, Oct 02, 2005 at 05:05:42PM -0400, Rik van Riel wrote:
    > > On Sun, 2 Oct 2005, Luke Kenneth Casson Leighton wrote:
    > >
    > > > and, what is the linux kernel?
    > > >
    > > > it's a daft, monolithic design that is suitable and faster on
    > > > single-processor systems, and that design is going to look _really_
    > > > outdated, really soon.
    > >
    > > Linux already has a number of scalable SMP synchronisation
    > > mechanisms.
    > ... and you are tied in to the decisions made by the linux kernel
    > developers.
    > whereas, if you allow something like a message-passing design (such as
    > in the port of the linux kernel to l4), you have the option to try out
    > different underlying structures - _without_ having to totally redesign
    > the infrastructure.
    > several people involved with the l4linux project have already done
    > that: as i mentioned in the original post, there are about three or
    > four different and separate l4 microkernels available for download
    > (GPL) and one of them is ported to stacks of different architectures,
    > and one of them is SMP capable and even includes a virtual machine
    > environment.
    > and they're only approx 30-40,000 lines each, btw.
    > also, what about architectures that have features over-and-above SMP?
    > in the original design of SMP it was assumed that if you have
    > N processors that you have N-way access to memory.
    > what if, therefore, someone comes up with an architecture that is
    > better than or improves greatly upon SMP?

    Like NUMA?

    > they will need to make _significant_ inroads into the linux kernel
    > code, whereas if, say, you oh i dunno provide hardware-accelerated
    > parallel support for a nanokernel (such as l4) which just _happens_
    > to be better than SMP then running anything which is l4 compliant gets
    > the benefit.
    > the reason i mention this is because arguments about saying "SMP is it,
    > SMP is great, SMP is everything, we're improving our SMP design" don't
    > entirely cut it, because SMP has limitations that don't scale properly
    > to say 64 or 128 processors: sooner or later someone's going to come up
    > with something better than SMP and all the efforts focussed on making
    > SMP better in the linux kernel are going to look lame.
    > l.
    > p.s. yes i do know of a company that has improved on SMP.
    > -

    -Vadim Lobanov
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