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SubjectRe: Why no XML in the Kernel?
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On Mon, 3 Oct 2005, Nix wrote:

> On Mon, 3 Oct 2005, Al Viro moaned:
>> Another fun consideration in that area is that XML (or s-exp, or trees,
>> whatever representation you prefer) has nothing to help with dynamic data
>> structures. Exporting snapshots does not work since the real state
>> includes the information about locks being held - without that you
>> can't tell which invariants hold at the moment, since the real ones
>> include lock state.
>
> Oh yes; the only practical way to get the system into a consistent state
> would be to take out the BKL (the old, non-preemptible variant),
> generate all that XML (for all of /proc and all of /sys!) and then
> release it again.
>
> Efficient this is *not*.
>
> (at least, not the loony everything-in-one-big-file variant. Keeping the
> current smaller files but making them XML is possible, but pointless:
> the filesystem already provides the hierarchical structure in /sys, and
> nothing can make /proc regular, so what's the point of adding an extra
> layer of hierarchy that serves only to complicate parsing and make it
> hard for *humans* to use?)
>
>> And forcing all locks involved into known state
>> is nowhere near feasible, of course. OTOH, exporting dynamic state
>> including locks and walking the damn thing is
>> a) not feasible with XML
>
> It's feasible, if you don't mind ps(1) becoming a DoS attack, and one
> running instance of top(1) damn-nearly freezing the system.
>
> It's just not *sane*.
>
>> b) would require giving userland way too much access to locking,
>> creating a nightmare wrt deadlock potential.
>
> Indeed.
>
> (Current rant: DRM churn, forcing one of abandonment of decent 3D
> support, or upgrading of the X server to the bleeding-edge, or using an
> old kernel with known security holes, or becoming enough of a DRI
> developer to backport the changes, or using nothing but distro kernels
> <=2.6.11. Most of these are not terribly feasible for me right now. Ah
> well, my 3D card is total crap anyway. It's just a shame the X server
> crashes whenever asked to do in-software 3D rendering... time to
> debug. I thought I might actually get some work done this evening. Fat
> chance.)
>

...could get rid of all the kernel function codes and just put a
XML interpreter inside the kernel. That way, web-page designers
could become kernel developers overnight.

> --

> `Next: FEMA neglects to take into account the possibility of
> fire in Old Balsawood Town (currently in its fifth year of drought
> and home of the General Grant Home for Compulsive Arsonists).'
> --- James Nicoll
> -

XML inside the kernel is like BASIC inside the kernel. It
just doesn't belong there, even though it would work.


Cheers,
Dick Johnson
Penguin : Linux version 2.6.13 on an i686 machine (5589.55 BogoMips).
Warning : 98.36% of all statistics are fiction.

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