Posts

MIPS: non-virtualizable architecture (Part 1)

MIPS is a wonderful architecture. But when it was design virtualization wasn't much in the air. As a result, this architecture isn't compleletly virtualizable. It isn't as notorious as x86. One requirement for virtualization is the access priviledges to syste registers. MIPS does provide this. All system registers are in CP0. Any access from user space will falt. Modification access to TLBs will also fault. Then what is the problem? The problem is with the way virtual address space is laid out. For 32 bit architecture 4 GB virtual address space is available. MIPS specification reserve upper 2 GB for kernel/supervisor mode. Any access to 3rd GB in kernel mode will go untranslated by MMU. The last 4th GB will go via MMU but is only usable in kernel mode. For running a guest, only first 2 GB is available. Both guest and its userspace programs can only have 2GB of virtual address space. Linux assumes many things about address space layout. It is linked in kseg0. Kmap a

Making of Hyperthreads

I have been working on a fun project where I am trying to virtualize a MIPS machine. For a QEMU emulated NE2000 based network device and for couple of system daemons, I needed a light threaded framework. While the earlier design was that anything in hypervisor context was run on CPU and thus was completely serialized. So we decided on doing something differently here. We created a virtual CPU and named it hypercore. This virtual CPU is supposed to run anything in context of hypervisor. This virtual CPU, whenever scheduled, always works in kernel mode. The idea was simple, anything of _maintenance_ sort was scheduled later on that hypercore. I then went on implementing the threading mechanism. Its very similar to what is know as kernel threads in Linux(R) world. There is one function which the thread is supposed to execute. Threads have a lifetime: they are created, run, paused, run again and then finally destroyed. Initial implementation was non-preemtible. This means that threa

Null Trace domain registered today

Today I have registered the NullTrace domain. Since I did it with google's help, google app came along. Every thing was a breeze. So you can access this blog at www[dot]nulltrace[dot]org. I *think* I will write some random rants, kernel topics and the posts that won't fit in twitter ;-)