Harti Brandt wrote:
> In MHO this idea is based on a fundamental misunderstanding of what a
> device is under unix. If you need such a behaviour you should put another
> abstraction on top of you devices (as the filesystem is put on top of
> disks and sockets on top of network devices), that handle multiple
> contexts for multiple processes. A device is just a device...

I really disagree with this.  SVR4 and AIX have supported clone
devices for a very long time now, starting with support for pty's.

Cloning eliminates several things:

o       The search requirement for allocating an instance of a
        device type; this is generally a linear search, through
        an O(n^2) interface, e.g. looking up the next pty in the
        space defined by /dev/pty*

o       The normal limit on the number of devices that's imposed
        because of both the namespace limits, and on static
        declaration of things that should be allocated on a per
        instance bases, up to the limits of system resources

o       The system dependence on naming that goes into building
        code that it portable between systems.

For pty's, in particular, instance is identified via minor number;
the need to actually try to open and obtain exclusive use of the
master pty, up to the first unallocated one, and the fact that
when you run out of names, you run out of pty's, are both enough,
each on their own, to justify cloning devices.

FreeBSD today can not run more than one VMWare seassion at a time
because it lacks the ability to distinguish open instances to the
device that exports the VMWare kernel context information to the
user space application: because FreeBSD lacks device cloning.

Rather than trying to say what someone should do, it'd be nice,
at least in the case of commercial code that can't be demanded to
be rewritten, and which runs under a non-native ABI on FreeBSD,
to be able to support all of the functionality of the OS whose
ABI is being emulated, and thus, if for no other reason, to
support device cloning.

It's not like third parties are going to be willing to port their
code to FreeBSD, particularly after the last 6 years or so of
being told *by FreeBSD people* to target the Linux ABI.

So trying to change people wanting cloning in the first place is
not really a winable fight.

-- Terry

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