1995 Fools: Linus reveals: Linux creates memory!
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Kristian Koehntopp)
Subject: Linus reveals: Linux creates memory!
Date: 1 Apr 1995 00:34:51 +0200
Organization: Toppoint Mailbox e.V.
Linux Torvalds and Richard M. Stallman present
revolutionary memory managment scheme:
SMMP: Simple Memory Managment Protocol allows distribution of expansion RAM
over Internet connections.
Richard M. Stallman, genial author of the popular C-Compiler and the Emacs
editor, founder of the GNU project, just released his RFC of the Internet
SMM protocol. SMMP, the simple memory managment protocol, allows the
distribution of local RAM to remote hosts via the popular Internet protocol
suite. Just as other Internet protocols allow the distribution of local
files, printers, mail or graphics with other hosts on the net, SMMP allows
the sharing of RAM.
"This is just the final step on the long road towards the virtualization of
system ressources", Stallman says. "With standard Internet protocols users
are already able to construct machines with virtual disk drives, virtual
displays and virtual printers. For example, if you need additional disk
space just to finish an important task, you just mount it over from another
machine somewhere on the net. Your final files go again over the net towards
some remote printer and with X you can even send your application windows
over the network. But the final step was always missing."
Stallman just finished the work on his Simple Memory Managment Protocol RFC.
RFCs are the standardization documents of the Internet, specifying protocols
and other technical details and procedures. "With any SMMP conformant
implementation, operating systems can mount RAM from other machines just as
disk space. They are able to share memory over the network just like they
can share printers". With Stallmans protocol the road for implementations is
open. Stallman emphasizes, that SMMP is completely independent of the
underlying operating system technology. "With SMMP, a UNIX server could
easily export its memory to VMS or MS-Windows clients, even to Apple
machines. Best of all, SMMP is not even hindered by MS-DOS infamous 640 KB
barrier. So SMMP is probably the best way to expand a DOS machines memory.",
Stallman points out.
Finnish computer geek Linus Torvalds, author of the freely available Linux
operating system, got his hands on a prerelease of Stallmans specs. "I was
completely stunned. Richards idea is completely obvious once you understand
its basic principle of operation.", Torvalds told us. "I was able to
implement basic SMMP support for Linux in just about a weekends work. SMMP
integrates smoothly with the internetworking and the memory manager of
Linux. I only had to make some minor modifications to the page fault
handler, the rest was straightforward implementation of Richards SMMP
primitives." This is because of Linux highly sophisticated memory managment
system dealing easily with different types of RAM. "Older 16 bit based
operating systems such as DOS will probably require much more work. They are
best used as SMMP clients, though.", Linus notes.
Linus has already integrated basic SMMP support into the coming 1.3.1
release of his Linux operating system, although there will be only SMMP
client support in the first releases with an SMMP server being "in the
works". Public Linux versions with complete SMMP support are exspected to
arrive within this month as Torvalds announced. Some major UNIX vendors
already reacted to Stallmans announcement.
Digital Equipment Corporation donated a whole 50 Gigs of memory at it's
decwrl network center for public use with SMMP. DEC CEO Bob Palmer announced
Digitals move: "DEC always had a strong commitment to the Internet community
and decwrl as one of the networks largest news hubs is perfectly located for
such a service. DECs memory, driven by our newest line of 275 MHz Alpha
processors, will also be one of the fastest in the world." By donating
memory to the public, DEC hopes to push its line of Alpha processors and its
OSF/1 operating system, which are the fastest currently available in the
world but a complete marketing failure, too. Other majors vendors such as
HP, IBM and SUN also announced public free memory pools, with IBMs journaled
memory, a derivation of their journaled file system, being even crash
resistent. SUNs CEO Bill Joy announced the SUN Online Memory Suite allowing
for graphical administration of system memory, RAID-style mirroring of
memory over the network and a technique called "memory striping and
But the most interesting announcement came from virtual reality specialist
Silicon Graphics, who gave some megabytes of Z-buffer memory to the network.
SGIs memory will enable even slow PCs with common VGA cards to render
photorealistic pictures and animations without hardware modifications. SMMP
also greatly simplifies updates of networked hardware. Telebit and Cisco,
manufacturers of Internet routing equipment, both plan to export the boot
ROM code for their hardware read-only to the network. This scheme makes
their hardware completely unhackable, but allows for easy, automated
software updates without manual interception.
First pre-alpha patches for the Linux memory handler are available from the
usual FTP archives, that is from
and all their mirrors. The current SMMP announcements can be obtained from
vendor web servers such as
Microsoft plans to implement a different protocol of similar functionalitiy
with Windows 95, to be released 2Q96. A description of Microsofts Memory
Protocol, MMP, available over Microsoft Network (MSN) can be obtained
RFCs 1870/71 describe SMMP with RFC 1870 discussing SMMP itself and
RFC 1871 covering the security aspects of a memory sharing protocol.
for complete coverage of all SMMP related topics.
Kristian Koehntopp, 24114 Kiel