Linux and O/S Research, or, How Linux Saved My Network

By Martin Houston

Matt Welsh, the author of the best-selling book 'Running Linux' came to the Institute of Education in London to give a presentation.

The event was organised by the London Unix Users Group, A local chapter of the Uk Unix Users Group. Apart from Matt himself the attractiveness of the event was enhanced by the prescience of O'Reilly & Associates, the publishers of Matt's book 'Running Linux' who were selling a groaning table full of books at a very attractive 25% discount!

The talk was originally scheduled for a reasonably large room but before the talk was due to begin this had filled to capacity with a queue forming down the corridor. Some hasty re-organisation was done and the proceedings were moved to one of the main lecture theatres, which also filled up to the point that people were sitting in the isles!

Matt, who was traveling from Cambridge, was somewhat delayed so proceedings started with an open question and answer session which concentrated on the issues of getting Linux to integrate into and support Windows NT environments using free technologies such as Samba.

Matt finally arrived to a packed auditorium and gave his presentation. The talk was more about the problems of high speed networking than Linux in particular. The U-net project was concerned with providing the facilities for user applications to be as near as possible to the network hardware for benefits of low latency and high bandwidth. The important technology of the U-net system is that it provided mechanisms for multiple applications to have almost 'raw' access to sending and receiving packets on the network but at the same time being protected from each other in being able to alter or corrupt other applications traffic. The network interface presented to applications is primitive in that there are no concepts like flow-control or error correction but speed is much closer to the maximum possible with the hardware than TCP/IP can achieve.

The important point was that the detailed kernel work with memory management essential to the U-net project simply would not have been possible without the full source code and therefore ability to have full knowledge that Linux provides. The successful implementation of U-net on Linux paved the way to secondary implementation on Windows NT, although Linux has a much lower system call overhead so is still faster.

If you want to follow links to the slides for this and other talks that Matt has given, or just find out more about him; then visit his home page *

Many thanks to the UKUUG for organising the event. If you are interested in joining the UKUUG and finding out what other Linux related events are in the pipeline then you can visit the web site * or phone on 01763 273475.

The Current Issue

Announcing issue .01 of Linux World!

March 1997

Please note that this is not first issue. First issue was 'Launch Issue',
dated November 1996.

(Some copies of launch issue still available)

In issue .01:

Don't be a mug! Have a cuppa... or Yet More Java Stuff!

Regulars: *Alan Cox, *Martin Houston et al...

News and Views: *Apples NeXT OS is not Linux :-(

Various Artists: Linux Distributions

RDBM Hands-On with Andrew Whaley

Books for Linux users: Classics

Index of Commercial Linux Vendors

And more....

And on issue .01's cover CD:


Official Debian Linux. This CD was cut on Christmass Eve 1996!

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