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Re: Device drivers in Mach?

From: Richard Braun
Subject: Re: Device drivers in Mach?
Date: Wed, 21 Mar 2007 22:00:29 +0100
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.9i

On Wed, Mar 21, 2007 at 08:54:24PM +0100, leslie.polzer@gmx.net wrote:
> On Wed, Mar 21, 2007 at 09:01:35PM +0200, Constantine Kousoulos wrote:
> > Your observation is correct. All of Mach's drivers currently reside
> > inside the kernel. AFAIK, Mach's IPC is too slow to support user
> > space drivers.
> Phew.  Don't they have that in Minix?  I think I remember starting the
> Realtek network driver in user space.  What a delighting experience.
> > However, processors have gotten *a lot* faster the last ten years
> > since Mach's creation, so i have a few reservations if the current IPC
> > system is completely unusable with user space drivers. Once again, the
> > senior members of this project can shed more light on the subject.
> The only reason for me that would make me start helping with GNU/Hurd
> would be device drivers (and most of the other stuff) in user space,
> since Linux crashes too often when faulty hardware or drivers are at
> play...
> I'd appreciate more input on this, and why I would want a microkernel
> architecture that isn't really one (IMHO)...

Mach is old, and hasn't been actively maintained for a long time. I
guess writing a glue code for in kernel device drivers was just the
solution that required the least work. I don't know how much work
it would require to design an interface and write a glue code that
would allow unmodified Linux or BSD drivers to run in user space, but
I guess it's not that simple.

Concerning L4, there is a l4-hurd mailing list, but the Hurd on L4
project is stalled because of design issues. L4 is actually a second
generation microkernel, while Mach is a first generation, which can
explain why you feel Mach isn't really a microkernel.

Richard Braun

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