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Is it possible to install drivers in userspace instead of kernel space?

justy123 - about 1 month ago -

In the Redox OS project https://www.redox-os.org you are able to install drivers in userspace.

I have a wifi adapter that does not work with this distro due to a lack of binary blobs. If I manually install the wifi driver, is it possible to somehow install it in the userspace rather than the kernel space and if so is it possible to isolate it as much as possible so it does not have access to other parts of the userspace such as directories and an Internet connection etc? I am not that technical so maybe the way I phrase it might not be correct.


Replies (7)

RE: Is it possible to install drivers in userspace instead of kernel space? - bill-auger - about 1 month ago -

linux-libre will not load non-free drivers - even if your suggestion were possible, we could not help you accomplish it nor describe how - the only way to use that device with parabola would be to remove 'your-freedom' and use the arch kernel - we recommend that you do not though - the usual suggestion is to get a supported USB replacement - we can help you with that - you can usually find them for cheap with a bit of searching - or buy a new one from one of the online libre shops

the following online shops exclusively sell computers and computing hardware that is compatible with 100% free operating systems such as parabola:

RE: Is it possible to install drivers in userspace instead of kernel space? - justy123 - about 1 month ago -

Hi, sorry for not understanding this correctly but what do you mean by getting a USB replacement? The wifi adapter is built right inside the laptop and I don't believe it is connected by a USB?

RE: Is it possible to install drivers in userspace instead of kernel space? - bill-auger - about 1 month ago -

the internal wifi can be replaced also, if you are handy with a
screwdriver - but if your laptop has a USB port, you can use a
little nubby thingy like this one:

https://www.thinkpenguin.com/files/imagecache/product/bluetooth-4.0_0.jpg

RE: Is it possible to install drivers in userspace instead of kernel space? - justy123 - about 1 month ago -

I haven't really built a computer before so forgive me for my lack of knowledge but if I removed the internal wifi adapter, would any wifi adapter physically connect with my laptop and would any of it be supported by the motherboard?

RE: Is it possible to install drivers in userspace instead of kernel space? - oaken-source - about 1 month ago -

to answer the original question:

Linux, and by extension Linux-libre, is a "monolithic" kernel, which means that most of its components are inseperable parts of the kernel and thus run in kernel mode, or "protected" mode. Drivers are one such compontent, with the extension of printer drivers, which are usermode components.

There are operating systems, where drivers are contained in usermode processes, these systems are called "microkernel" systems. I refer you to the internet search engine of your choice for examples :)

In short, no, it is not possible to run arbitrary device drivers on Linux(-libre), because it is not a microkernel.

RE: Is it possible to install drivers in userspace instead of kernel space? - bill-auger - about 1 month ago -

yes, if you find the proper model - a USB adapter is easiest
though

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