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SubjectRe: Can we move device drivers into user-space?
On Wed, Feb 22, 2012 at 11:56 PM, Jidong Xiao <> 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.
> 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.)


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