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Re: SEUL: Auto-compilation/Is it possible ?
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Cc: "Aldo-Pier Solari" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sat, 09 Aug 1997 00:10:16 -0700
From: Erik Walthinsen <email@example.com>
> Is is possible to have a kind of 'point'n'click' function to get the
> SEUL/Linux kernel 'auto-compiled' for the particular
> machine/processor/RAM/etc. a particular user may have ?
It would almost be trivial, once the appropriate data is gathered for the
system. The system would run a completely modular kernel on install, then
once it has figured things out it could schedule a true background kernel
First, the build: A good way to do this would be to have a standard config
that is completely modular, then apply diffs for the hardware in question.
In other words, the standard config has, say, the 3c905 driver built as a
module. If the user has a 3c905, the build would have that built into the
In reality, only a few drivers would need to be built into the kernel, mostly
ether and scsi drivers. Everything else would stay modular, as modular
kernels are generally considered '*the* way to go'. The main reason to build
a 'custom' kernel is to eliminate things that the user doesn't need, such as
multiport cards, and change certain things, like the chip that's being built
for (Pentium vs. 386 does improve performance some...).
Another soltion is to provide one "universal" kernel for the install
(and as a backup), and some optimized kernels the user (or a program
reading /proc) would choose for normal use. With modules you don't
need much more than about half a dozen kernels to cover all the needs.
Now to the scheduling for background build part: As part of the admin
backend, the system will be doing a lot of automatic things. Some of these
will be quite lengthy, which the user doesn't want to sit through. Examples
of these in the Doze* environment include booting, disk defrag, etc. As we
happen to have a *real* OS, we can do these in the background.
What could be done is to schedule a process (make zImage) with a really low
priority (nice 20, or even better). Some time after the admin backend starts
learning usage patterns (yes, a little AI will do us a lot of good), it can
start a kernel build. Due to the nature of make, this can be stopped at any
point and restarted later, assuming the clock retains it's setting.
Now the AI part... Not really AI, more of a high-level record of who does
what, when, etc. Record when each user logs in and out, what kind of apps
they use, etc. This data will not be sent to a central repository, like an
un-named Redmond-based company is rumored to have coded into their "OS".
Rather, it will be used to allow the computer to function somewhat more
usefully. The current example is the building of a kernel.
Say our user has a certain schedule. He gets up in the morning, resumes
(APM) his system and has it configured (via more pseudo-AI stuff) to connect
and retrieve mail at that time. He goes and makes coffee, comes back and
reads his mail. He then logs out, suspends the box, and goes to work.
In this example, the admin backend would have gathered enough data (assuming
a pattern develops) to know to *not* kick off the kernel build, or anything
else that's scheduled for background, during this time. The time it uses to
start the build would be after dinner, around 7:00pm, when the user in
question checks his mail, reads through usenet, and surfs a little. Nice low
utilization (except for Navigator) time that can be used without impacting
OK, I may be crazy (in fact, I know I am), and this may be a stupid idea. In
that case, please break the news to me kindly. If it's a good idea, be loud
and verbose in your praise... 8-)
(Muhahahahah! Hey, why the straightjacket? He.!.mmmfff! Mmmmfffmmff! ????)
Yes. You are crazy. You need an electroshock. Shutdown your
computer (to avoid data corruption). Plug it out. Then insert your
fingers in the plug. Wait a couple of minutes. Remove your fingers
from the plug. It works better with the 220V we have in Europe. :-)
People using their computers at home do not let their computers
powered during the night. They pay the bills.
Building a kernel takes 12 minutes on a P75. So put an OPTIMIZE
KERNEL entry in the root menus and if clicked present the user with a
simplified version of xconfig: CPU can be autodetected (well Intel
CPUs) and we will be using modules, so the only choices the user will
have to do would be about non-modular, non-autodetectable things.
Jean Francois Martinez
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