Interesting Emulation/Project idea for Linux.

Elijah L. Wright (
Sun, 6 Apr 1997 15:49:23 -0500 (CDT)


My attention has been garnered by the quasi-announcement of x86-ELF
emulation on the Alpha. I was listing off all the environments for which
we can, in one form or another, run some sort of emulator... Macs
(executor), Amigas (UAE), HP48 calculators, x86-ELF Linux binaries,
Commodore-64 machines, et cetera. In short, we have support of some
variety or another for a LOT of current (and dead/dying) platforms. Now,
since we have (Most of) the source to emulation environments for these
various platforms available, what is stopping someone from adding hooks to
the kernel to provide low-level system services to these emulators? Seems
to me that doing some of the work at the kernel-level would be a heck of a
lot faster than relying entirely upon user-level programming to provide
emulation. Adding this functionality as a module subsystem is probably
the most acceptable route, since that would reduce the necessary code
bloat that would go along with including this in a kernel-level system.
Another handy feature provided by doing something like this would be
increased opportunities for folks doing embedded work to use Linux as a
platform. The _ELKS_ project might also benefit from work projected in
such directions, since that would alleviate the need for them to actually
do all their development on the projected hardware platforms. A little
CPU, MMU, and io-controller emulator could be really handy.

A generic core of code might be a good start here. It seems that a lot of
the work done by hardware is pretty common to various platforms with only
the specifics differing.

Now, obviously I'm not a wonderful enough programmer to actually make
any or all of this come to pass. In fact, this is WAAAAAY bigger than
anything I'd even want to consider taking on. =) But, it could be cool.


Linus may nix this whole idea as being completely silly. Opinions
requested, please; flames to /dev/null.