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UML maintainer Jeff Dike makes virtualization predictions

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Software

One of the great things about Linux.conf.au is the chance to mingle with some of the brightest lights in the open source community. For example, Jeff Dike, author and maintainer of User-Mode Linux is here this week to talk about UML and the Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM). During one of the breaks on Monday, I sat down with Dike to talk about UML's immediate future, and picked his brain about other virtualization technologies.

During his talk, Dike discussed recent work to allow UML to use hardware virtualization extensions added to x86 processors by Intel and AMD. Dike says that the extensions are largely compatible between Intel and AMD CPUs, and will allow UML to intercept system calls directly rather than using ptrace.

Dike says letting UML handle system calls directly will improve performance. It will be some time before UML can handle all system calls, but Dike predicts a "shrinking set of system calls that need to be ptraced, and a growing host of system calls that will run full speed."

Dike's talk Monday touched on the topic of management tools for UML and other virtualization software.

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