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Re: Forward: some thoughts about map vs. copy vs. membranes

From: Jonathan S. Shapiro
Subject: Re: Forward: some thoughts about map vs. copy vs. membranes
Date: Thu, 06 Sep 2007 12:33:40 -0400

On Thu, 2007-09-06 at 05:00 +0200, Marcus Brinkmann wrote:
> At Wed, 05 Sep 2007 14:48:40 -0400,
> "Jonathan S. Shapiro" <address@hidden> wrote:
> > 
> >     cresult = c0->method(data args, c0, c1, ..., cn)
> I think the example you are bringing up is interesting.  However, I am
> not sure why you think that cresult in your example should generally
> be limited by any other capability than c0.  There are peculiarly few
> operations involving capabilities as arguments, and even less return
> capabilities, so use cases to analyze are rare....

I think this because the membrane that has been under discussion on
cap-talk is the one in which this is the defined behavior.

The problem is that the term "membrane" is being overloaded: it is both
a generic term meaning "a mechanism (in our context: a process) that
enforces transitive revocation policies by injecting wrappers and
tracking propagation'. We have also used it to refer to an particular
instantiation that implements the particular policy that I have
described above.

I suggest that in the future, to avoid ambiguity, we should call this
the Causal Dependency Membrane.

The causal dependency membrane is certainly not the only possible

So: I should restate what I said about L4 implementing membranes:

  L4 *must not* implement membranes, because membranes embed policies
  concerning revocations. L4 *may* implement a useful supporting
  mechanism, but it is not yet clear whether that mechanism is helpful
  given that an application-level agent is required to define the
  policy in any case.

Of course, there may turn out to be membranes that don't require a
special policy agent because they can be implemented trivially using the
kernel mechanism. The Hurd auth protocol sounds like a case where this
is true.

> Well, yes.  But I didn't realize until recently that L4 X.2 memory
> mapping implements membrane semantics rather than what we refered to
> as "map" in the past.

I agree that making the mechanism difference clear is useful. I only
wanted us to avoid drawing excessive conclusions.
Jonathan S. Shapiro
Managing Directory
The EROS Group, LLC
www.coyotos.org, www.eros-os.org

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