Systems, Science, and FreeBSD

Here is a presentation by Neville-Neil about Systems, Science, and FreeBSD.

Here are two of my most interested ideas:

  1. Netmap.  By mapping the NIC to a process memory space, user-space applications can send and receive Ethernet (?) frames directly.  This avoids going through the operating system network stack for every and single frame, and this saves a lot of system resources.
  2. OSv.  By rebuilding an operating system specifically for Java and virtualised environment, and combining the application with base operating system, the whole thing becomes leaner and simpler to use.  There are much less items to tune (like maximum heap size, like the Minecraft exercise), more performance to be readable, and the system management in overall is simplified.

Netmap is going to be useful not just in FreeBSD, but other operating systems, as long as it is adopted.  In my career, I once saw a product building a user-space network router for turn-key quality-of-service.  I guess such systems would be amazingly fast if they ditch their current operating system (?) and use Netmap…

I had been thinking of building an operating system from scratch.  Has the OSv already built something I had been dreaming of?  Let me check and time will tell.


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