Subject: Re: LKMs
To: Ben Elliston <>
From: Al B. Snell <>
List: tech-kern
Date: 11/25/2000 03:50:55
On Sat, 25 Nov 2000, Ben Elliston wrote:

> As a youngster, I used to dream about tiny Linux kernel distributions with
> loadable kernel modules available separately. :-)  Unfortunately, this still
> doesn't happen -- I hope that if this direction was persued, that NetBSD
> could Get It Right.

Same here. I think there are two questions:

1) Is it really the right way to go, technically? It's a kind of tradeoff
between microkernel and monolithic... I think it's a good tradeoff,
especially since it allows for experimention into more microkernel
directions if that turns out to be desirable, since one could write a
filesystem LKM that adds some syscalls to enable userland filesystems,

2) Is it doable? I imagine that NetBSD is the best monolithic-kernel
system to move in this kind of direction since the kernel is supposed to
be relatively modularised anyway. I can't see Linux being properly split
up any time soon - too much interdependency!

Perhaps the biggest advantage of a LKMized system (what to call
it... schizokernel? :-) would be that people could make drivers available
for bits of hardware and the like that users could just drop into a
directory and either reboot or manually load (yep, zero reboot driver
installation - nice!). This would be Nice.

> Ben


                               Alaric B. Snell
   Any sufficiently advanced technology can be emulated in software