Mill Computing, Inc. › Forums › The Mill › Tools › Operating Systems › Microkernels vs Monolithic
- sonictoothParticipantMay 26, 2014 at 3:00 amPost count: 2#1084 |
I watched all the talks with great interest (although I’d lie if I said I got 100% of the details) – it’s incredibly refreshing to see *actual* innovation, once in a while. One thing that fascinates me is the idea of the Mill bringing advances in mainstream OSes much like the 386, virtual memory, etc. did in the late ’80s/early ’90s. In particular, it is pretty apparent (especially from the ‘Security’ talk) that the Mill architecture, with all the security infrastructure and the ultra-fast context switching, would be pretty ideal for (finally) implementing a secure, efficient microkernel. On the other hand, there are *heavily* compelling business reasons for having old monolithic Linux running on it and I guess that is going to be your first target, but are there any plans to have an actual microkernel OS running on the Mill at some point in time? What would it look like? I know that these questions really are kind of premature, but on the other hand all these revolutionary features aren’t much use without an OS supporting them 🙂
- Will_EdwardsModeratorMay 26, 2014 at 3:11 amPost count: 98
Its not at all premature to be asking this 🙂
We are porting L4 which is a microkernel. We anticipate that other microkernels will also be ported.
There Are a couple of new opportunities too:
Even if you have a monolithic kernel, you can start to adopt finer-grained isolation on the Mill and become more microkernel-like, or even split up user apps into services.
There is also the exciting possibility to keep isolation without actually going via syscalls for IPC: with the Mill, you can build a new kind of OS where calls between clients and servers – or peers – goes straight across in the same thread via portals. However, this challenges how a lot of conventional OSes think about thread to process/task mappings and what kill() does and preemption and time sharing accounting and so on. So an exciting future research area!
Classic monolithic and micro- kernels will run as-is on the Mill architecture and run very well. The Mill allows for a evolutionary migration to greater isolation too. But the Mill also makes technical room for new innovation and experimentation 🙂
- sonictoothParticipantMay 26, 2014 at 5:29 amPost count: 2
Thank you. That’s pretty much what I wished to hear 🙂 I never heard about L4: is your implementation going to be source-compatible with Linux or at least POSIX?
- Will_EdwardsModeratorMay 26, 2014 at 7:43 amPost count: 98
We plan to run Linux initially as an L4 guest.
The L4 port is really to provide a base for testing; we anticipate Linux to be one of the very first other OS to also be ported and optimized too, but there is no reason to not port all other mainstream and customers desired OSes.
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