Reply to post: Re: Moving out of the kernel to improve performance?

BBC bypasses Linux kernel to make streaming videos flow


Re: Moving out of the kernel to improve performance?

I don't think you are correct.

1. A userspace driver has to go through the kernel every time it tries to access the hardware, resulting in a context switch which slows things down compared to direct kernel access

2. A userspace program accessing hardware requires the kernel to drop into (and then out of) supervisor mode each time it does so, these switches in/out of that mode add additional latency compared to a kernel thread, which stays in supervisor mode

3. Userspace code never accesses RAM directly, it does it via the VMM, which itself uses the MMU for translation. The kernel does not use the VMM, so in theory it is a bit faster, but the primary benefit here is being able to directly get/access physical memory addresses, and for things like DMA.

Sure, machines may have gotten so fast that all the above is barely noticeable overhead in general use cases, but it doesn't mean said overhead doesn't exist.

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