Thu Jun 3 16:43:52 EDT 2004
On Jun 3, 2004, at 3:27 PM, Pete Wright wrote:
> yea this is crazy. this bantering doesn't even relate to the
> article/thread either :( i was hoping people would more interested in
> the micro v. monolithic kernel issues, esp. seeing that apple has
> adopted MACH. sigh.
Personally I prefer microkernel architectures because they're easier to
work with (as a developer). They also offer loads of practical and
theoretical advantages. The discussion in the article is really about
modular versus static (an implementation detail), not micro versus
monolithic (a major architectural decision).
The security argument is kind of silly, because if that really was a
concern you could add a sysctl that lets you turn module loading off
(forever) at runtime. So you boot up, load your modules, and turn
module loading off. In practice, nobody really does this (as far as I
know) because only root can load kernel modules and root can do
whatever he wants anyway, whether or not the kernel is split into 1 or
The supported configuration argument is also silly. The only
difference is that OpenBSD is only configurable at compile time, where
others are configurable at runtime. Since it is open source software,
the user is still free to alter (or more likely, NOT alter) that
configuration in both cases.
However, with the development tools we have today, static kernels can
offer several obvious slight advantages.
- marginally better performance on average
- easier to install/upgrade (just one file)
- can be easier to debug with tools that don't know what kernel modules
are (the addresses of symbols never change)
All three of these are minor though. The latter two are solved with
better tools (that pretty much already exist), while fixing the first
could be lifted with a lot of work by using JIT techniques.. but it
would be really hard to implement correctly and the performance
improvement is very marginal.
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