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A Bootable Perl

by diskcrash (Hermit)
on Mar 12, 2001 at 05:09 UTC ( #63707=perlquestion: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??
diskcrash has asked for the wisdom of the Perl Monks concerning the following question:

Friend Monks, I searched the caves here and at CPAN for the concept of a bootable Perl. Haven't found it. Perl depends upon the resources of the underlying OS, but often a small subset of it. Perl is often said not to be a good choice for "realtime" work, but fortune favors the brave and machines get faster all of the time. It would be great to have a builder that bundles only needed OS components, the Perl base and your custom code. The intent would be to run from a booted floopy on an Intel box. The use would be for bounded, quasi- realtime apps. Trinix is similarly crafted and boots from three floppies. Is there a Perl that runs on Trinix? Being a lowly initiate with <3 months Perl exposure I could easily have missed this capability. Opinions and opprobrium? - Diskcrask

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Re: A Bootable Perl
by AgentM (Curate) on Mar 12, 2001 at 05:35 UTC
    However implausible that sounds, one must admit- that sounds pretty cool. Having a OS native to Perl code would certainly mean a speed boost (kernel embedded Perl interpreter? THAT'S NUTS!), as well as slick Perl-native API. The OS could even specify various atomic operators and functions, hence making PerlThreads a reality. I would love to see such a beast, but I wouldn't want to work on it. Look at the complexity of the Linux or AtheOS kernels. Brutal! While a good chunk may or may not be replaceable with legible Perl code, the benefits of such an OS are probably overrated and minimal (as I described above). I do believe that there is a PerlFS (not yet functional?) which would be an obvious start.

    What I would really like to see is a boot-floppy which mounts Linux partitions, includes a tar-gzipped Perl with appropriate libs which would then autorun some Perl script on the disk. Then you could do stuff like reconfigure an entire room of computters (sic) with the bootdiskette where you don't have insecure/slow apps like NetInstall running. I'm simply not knowledgable enough about bootable systems to come up with something like this.

    AgentM Systems nor Nasca Enterprises nor Bone::Easy nor Macperl is responsible for the comments made by AgentM. Remember, you can build any logical system with NOR.
Re: A Bootable Perl
by Anonymous Monk on Mar 12, 2001 at 06:49 UTC
    If memory does server, I do recall the lisp hackers at MIT having native lisp machines in the wayback; and they were fairly on the kludgy side. As for "quasi- realtime", that is totaly up to what ever scheduling mechinism that you implimented presumeably on a lower ring level, and doesn't realy have any bareing on how you wrote your script. As for real time (hard or soft) scheduling with trinux, and linux in gerneral, is not obtainable without hevy modification (ie the RT patches). As for having it kernelised, which is what I think you ment, for the love of allah, why? Just becuse you could prossiably kludge micoperl's binary image objects into the kernel image doesn't by any means you should. As Cobato taught us, complex system design is bound to fail ultimately. I'll spare you the spiel about value of seperating the method form the polocy.
Re: A Bootable Perl
by jmcnamara (Monsignor) on Mar 12, 2001 at 14:09 UTC
    In addition to Perlix (can't find a link) and the Perl shell which are discussed in The Perl Journal #18 (no longer on-line) there is Claudio Calavelli's file system written in Perl.

    The thought of this hurts my brain even more than the thought of his INTERCAL compiler written in Perl.

    And the eighth and final rule, if this is your first time using Perl, you will have to write code.
Re: A Bootable Perl
by ssotka (Initiate) on Mar 12, 2001 at 06:56 UTC
    I can't find the issue at the moment, and seems to be down, but I think Siman Cozens did an article a while back on this. In fact he had even started some of it. Does anyone happen to know which issue it was?
      Simon Cozens wrote about Perlix in TPJ #18. The link seems to be down, however. Sourceforge shows another Perlix, though it looks to be a separate project. Simon's Perlix was to create a Perl user-space (using Perl Power Tools and the Perl Shell on top of the Linux kernel). The Perlix on sourceforge seems to be an actual Perl kernel, though it doesn't have any files available yet.

      I believe that article was an April Fool's piece.
Re: A Bootable Perl
by strredwolf (Chaplain) on Mar 13, 2001 at 05:35 UTC
    I'm very tempted to replace everything, save for the kernel, with Perl scripts. Have init be a Perl script.


      Make gcc spit out perl. Compile gcc as a perl program. Then build a small, statically linked distro. Should work. ;-)

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