Zack's Kernel News

Community Notebook: Kernel News

Article from Issue 123/2011

Chronicler Zack Brown reports on the latest news, views, dilemmas, and developments within the Linux kernel community.

Premium Real-Time Mode Support

Vernon Mauery submitted his IBM Real-Time “SMI Free” mode driver for inclusion in the official kernel. The driver would provide a SysFS interface to switch the entire system into and out of IBM Premium Real-Time Mode (PRTM) on x86 hardware that supports it. This functionality would allow user code to disable System Management Interrupts (SMIs), thus allowing the code to decouple itself from the operating system’s normal security and resource allocation controls and interact directly with the hardware in otherwise impossible ways. This feature can do lots of fun things. It can provide an environment for real-time applications to run without fear of being interrupted; it can allow debuggers to do neat stuff; and it can allow really spectacular security breaches on the system.

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