vkernel & GSoC, some questions

Peter Jeremy peterjeremy at optushome.com.au
Tue Mar 18 07:43:38 UTC 2008

On Mon, Mar 17, 2008 at 01:16:41PM -0700, Matthew Dillon wrote:
>    This reminds me of XEN.  Basically instead of trying to rewrite
>    instructions or do 100% hardware emulation it sounds like they are
>    providing XEN-like functionality where the target OS is aware it is
>    running inside a hypervisor and can make explicit 'shortcut' calls to
>    the hypervisor instead of attempting to access the resource via
>    emulated hardware.

That reminds me of IBM VM/CMS: CP (the hypervisor) had a variety of
magic "syscalls" (via the DIAGNOSE instruction) that CMS would use
to perform (eg) real I/O.

>    Frankly, I would love to see something like VMWare force an industry-wide
>    API for machine access which bypasses the holy hell of a mess we have

It would need to be open and I can't see any particular driver for
VMWare (or anyone else) to force this.

>    with the BIOS, and see BIOSes then respec to a new far cleaner API.  The
>    BIOS is the stinking pile of horseshit that has held back OS development
>    for the last 15 years.

I'd go further and say that BIOSes are getting worse: Back in the
AT-clone days, you could just totally ignore the BIOS once you'd
gotten the kernel loaded.  Now you _have_ to keep talking to the
BIOS for things like ACPI - but the BIOSes are still just as broken
as they used to be.

Peter Jeremy
Please excuse any delays as the result of my ISP's inability to implement
an MTA that is either RFC2821-compliant or matches their claimed behaviour.
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