Mac OS X Leopard to give Apple huge head-start on hypervised OS?
Thursday, May 18, 2006 - 09:17 AM EDT
"Speculation is rampant that Mach, which is a component of the OS X kernel, will be axed from OS X 10.5 Leopard," Tom Yager writes for InfoWorld. "I don't ponder whether Mach will survive in Leopard. I see Mach as a placeholder for a hypervisor. Working from a set of policies set by the administrator, a hypervisor can transparently allow, refuse or reroute privileged operations. The hypervisor alone has the authority to manage CPU privilege levels. In a system with a hypervisor, with each system power-up or reset, a signed OS boot loader or hypervisor is located, validated and loaded atomically, meaning that there's no opportunity to subvert the process."
Yager writes, "The Mach API (application programming interface) could create a painless path to a potent and extremely secure hypervisor foundation for Apple's OS. OS X's privileged code already puts Mach in charge of physical resources and sets up a sort of mailbox infrastructure for passing commands and data in and out of Mach. If Apple stays true to the Mach API, which is extremely simple, Leopard can boot to an inviolably trustworthy, policy-controlled environment with no changes even to device drivers and the BSD kernel. From a hypervisor, it's a far shorter and safer leap to running multiple simultaneous OS instances without the necessity for, or with diminished need of, software host/guest virtualization."
"Is a hypervisor part of an OS's kernel? Can't you boot a monolithic OS on a hypervisor and still say you have a monolithic OS kernel? If such questions are important to you, I'll leave it to you to work them out. I know that Microsoft is scrambling to build a hypervisor into Longhorn Server. I know that OSes need hypervisors to keep them secure and to give administrators a single, trusted, low-level interface for the granting of access rights and the allocation of resources. Mach, the Mac's TPM and the Intel virtualization extensions give Apple a huge head-start on a hypervised OS."
Full article with much more - best read in full - here.