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osOpinion: Extending Linux to Exploit Code Morphing

Feb 05, 2000, 00:46 (1 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Trevor Turton)

"Now that Transmeta have laid their cards on the table, it seems to me a good time to start a debate about whether and how Linux should be extended to better exploit code morphing processors."

"...as with most ideas in IT, nothing is quite as novel as you might think. The code morphing concept has been around for a surprisingly long time in various guises."

"The Java JIT Compilers. Java has been around for about 5 years. Java source is compiled to Java machine language (JML). There's hardly any hardware on earth that can execute JML natively, and yet Java runs on almost every hardware platform in use today."

"IBM's AS/400. ... This approach has enabled IBM to continuously upgrade its AS/400 line over the course of many years without once forcing a (visible) recompile of all of the legacy AS/400 code. Such recompiles as were necessitated by hardware changes have all happened automatically. This allowed IBM for example to change the AS/400 from a 48 bit CISC chipset to a 64 bit RISC chipset more rapidly than IBM's RS/6000 division (or Sun's SPARC division) could deploy 64 bit versions of their RISC machines."

"My plea is that the Linux community should be open to developments of this sort and to foster them in exactly the same open way that all other Linux developments have taken place. Failure to do so will lay us open to charges of divisiveness when various hardware vendors start solving these problems independently of one another. The fact that Linus Torvalds happens to work for Transmeta should not be allowed to cloud our judgment -- or anyone else's."

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