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    SubjectRe: Can we move device drivers into user-space?
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    On Wed, Feb 22, 2012 at 11:56 PM, Jidong Xiao <jidong.xiao@gmail.com> wrote:
    > Hi,
    >
    > I am just curious. Since the concept user-space device drivers has
    > been proposed for several years, and some related projects and
    > research papers have demonstrated the feasibility of of moving device
    > drivers into use space. In particular, this paper:
    >
    > Tolerating Malicious Device Drivers in Linux.
    > http://pdos.csail.mit.edu/papers/sud:usenix10.pdf
    >
    > In this paper, existing device driver code need not to be changed,
    > which should help the idea to be applied in practice.
    >
    > The advantage and disadvantage of move device drivers into use space
    > of both obvious:
    >
    > Advantage: Since most of kernel bugs are caused by device drivers
    > issues, moving device drivers into user space can reduce the impact of
    > device driver bugs. From security perspective, the system can be more
    > secure and robust if most device drivers are working in user space.
    > Disadvantage: At least, existing techniques as well as the above paper
    > showed a relatively high overhead.
    >
    > So is it mainly because the high overhead that prevents the user-space
    > device drivers ideas being accepted in Linux?
    >

    Actually, my major concern is, since UIO has been accepted, then why
    don't we move all the rest device drivers into user space as well. As
    I understand, currently, some of device drivers are running on user
    space, while the other (or say the majority of) device drivers are
    running on kernel space, so why don't we maintain a consistent device
    drivers infrastructure, say, either all in user space, or all in
    kernel space. (Sure some critical device drivers still need to be kept
    in kernel space.)

    -Jidong


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