ACMES team

Samovar lab

On micro-kernel construction

Reading group: Timothée Zerbib presented "On micro-kernel construction" (SOSP'95) at 4A312 the 29/4/2022 at 10h00.


From a software-technology point of view, the p-kernel concept is superior to large integrated kernels. On the other hand, it is widely believed that (a) p-kernel based systems are inherently inefficient and (b) they are not sufficiently flexible. Contradictory to this belief, we show and support by documentary evidence that inefficiency and inflexibility of  urrent p-kernels is not inherited from the basic idea but mostly from overloading the kernel and/or from improper implementation.

Based on functional reasons, we describe some concepts which must be implemented by a p-kernel and illustrate their flexibility. Then, we analyze the performance critical points. We show what performance is achievable, that the efficiency is sufficient with respect to macro-kernels and why some published contradictory measurements are not evident. Furthermore, we describe some implementation techniques and illustrate why p-kernels are inherently not port able, although they improve portability of the whole system.