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Re: Why *are* the kernels monolithic?

Ben Goren wrote:
On 2004 Jun 1, at 10:41 PM, Damien Miller wrote:

One of the best things about OpenBSD is that it works out of the box. I
don't have to worry about kernel modules not matching my kernel,
runtime-loaded kernel rootkits or obscure module dependancy bugs. I
can't recall one occasion where I have /wished/ for a particular driver
to be a module.

Surely such a kernel would be compilable with or without loadable module feature, allowing choice.

Hear, hear. Back in the day, I wasted far more time screwing around with compiling Linux kernels--and the modules were the worst part--than I ever saved by even the more aggressive performance boost. And those loadable modules didn't give me anything in convenience, either; quite the contrary. Ethernet modules refused to load, and more....

Sure, if you're running at the margins, you might need a custom kernel. But, if you're running at the margins, you're in the minority (by definition), and you either know what you're doing, or you have the money or the time to learn.

But isn't there a benefit of getting companies to release binary module drivers that they would otherwise not release? There is also an added convenience of allowing people who are not technically proficient to load drivers without recompiling their kernel. Granted OpenBSD does not cater to that crowd, I would still think it's a useful feature. Also, mission critical systems with huge uptimes don't like to be rebooted, where again loadable modules become useful. Again, openbsd does not cater to that crowd, but to say that there is no "convenience" in it is just plain wrong. It is both convenient and useful. Maybe not to you, and that's ok, but I think there are many reasons to support such a feature.

However, I understand that openbsd team doesn't care for this feature, and that's ok.


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