How CPU's work (was Re: Hi, I'm new...)

William Donzelli wdonzelli at
Sun Aug 6 22:52:05 CDT 2006

> In another thread, the discussion is centering around Microkernels (been
> there, done that on a mainframe) and the need to keep I/O drivers as part
> of the kernel.  Why?  Why should the CPU even have access to I/O ports and
> interrupts?  Why doesn't every device have its own I/O processor with
> access to CPU memory?  Or better yet, why not a pool of communicating I/O
> processors that can be allocated to the tasks at hand, leaving the CPU to
> do what it does best?  Is silicon now so expensive that we can't advance to
> an idea that's more than 40 years old?

I say blame the humans.

The people driving the micro developments are mostly Unix and Windows
types, and they have a history of ignoring the mainframes. They often
claim that their little Linux box with a zillion horsepower would put
the biggest IBM to shame. They think that mainframes died in the
1980s, and are not worth looking at today, even if the hardware and
software has advanced. THEY can do better. The mainframe folks, on the
other hand, discount the micros as worthless toys that should only be
used for video games. They can not grasp that those little machines
have advanced beyond Windows 3.0, and are only good for sorting
recipes. THEY can do better.

So what we have here is a lack of communication...

Both schools have their strengths, and things would be awesome if they
merged - but that will never happen. Only a small drip of cross

I suspect that one day micros will get some I/O help - they will give
it a fancy name like "communications protocol micro core" or
something, and the mainframe guys will say "Oh, a channel director".


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