"he kernel has historically been developed independently of
anything that runs in user space. The well-defined kernel ABI,
built around the POSIX standard, has allowed for a nearly absolute
separation between the kernel and the rest of the system. Linux is
nearly unique, however, in its division of kernel and user-space
development. Proprietary operating systems have always been managed
as a single project encompassing both user and kernel space; other
free systems (the BSDs, for example) are run that way as well.
Might Linux ever take a more integrated approach?
"Christopher Yeoh's cross-memory attach patch was covered here
last September. He recently sent out a new version of the patch,
wondering, in the process, how he could get a response other than
silence. Andrew Morton answered that new system calls are
increasingly hard to get into the mainline:
"We have a bit of a track record of adding cool-looking syscalls
and then regretting it a few years later. Few people use them, and
maybe they weren't so cool after all, and we have to maintain them
for ever. Bugs (sometimes security-relevant ones) remain
undiscovered for long periods because few people use (or care
about) the code."
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