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Linux 2008
Conference and Workshop
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Friday 7th - Sunday 9th November
Manchester

Linux 2008

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Kyle McMartin - Red Hat

A Whole Family of Penguins

Linus originally wrote Linux as a terminal emulator on his 386, but in the 17 years since, it has grown to be the most portable operating system every written. This session examines the implications of this widespread porting, and the issues faced by hackers writing new code, whether it be new drivers, adding a new system call, or some new piece of user-space code.

A variety of specific examples will be investigated, ranging from how issues such as PCI write queues or IOMMUs affect driver authors, to how the various calling conventions of some of the more esoteric architectures impact the design of new syscalls, to how seemingly reasonable user-space code can SIGBUS when run on a new platform.

The overarching theme of this talk will be how these ports have improved the code quality of Linux through abstracting architecture dependent parts out of common code. Also explored will be how the RISC architectures of yesterday have enabled the mainstream (read: x86) architectures to stay ahead of the curve with new hardware.



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