Update forced restarts a thing of the past! [Cheers]

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by Mike
Posted June 2nd, 2009 at 12:26 pm

ksplice

Just yesterday I was working on the site on my older Compaq laptop and was getting obnoxiously annoyed every 5 minutes to reboot Windows. I saved all my work quickly as nature called. Upon returning, the laptop had restarted and was going through the slow process of booting back up. Such instances while far from lethal many times feel like it in the sense that time is precious in this fast paced world. Many people don’t have the time nor want to wait 2-3 minutes for a computer to completely reboot after downloading and installing system updates/patches/etc. That is where a nifty little app KSplice comes in handy. Say good-bye to system reboots.


The joys of 100% uptime and no longer having to reboot are a feature that I’m sure a majority of the computer using people on the planet would love to have. Unfortunately, for now, KSplice is a Linux only application. However, don’t let that discourage you as it is only a matter of time before either it or another application like it comes to market. So what exactly does KSplice do?

The magic bullet of KSplice is the programs ability to modify and implement patches and updates directly in to the currently running code. Per KSplice Website:

Ksplice allows system administrators to apply patches to their operating system kernels without rebooting. Unlike previous hot update systems, Ksplice operates at the object code layer, which allows Ksplice to transform many traditional source code patches into hot updates with little or no programmer involvement. In the common case that a patch does not change the semantics of persistent data structures, Ksplice can create a hot update without a programmer writing any new code.

Security patches are one compelling application of hot updates. An evaluation involving all significant x86-32 Linux security patches from May 2005 to May 2008 finds that most security patches—56 of 64—require no new code to be performed as a Ksplice update. In other words, Ksplice can correct 88% of the Linux kernel vulnerabilities from this interval without the need for rebooting and without writing any new code.

If a programmer writes a small amount of new code to assist with the remaining patches (about 17 lines per patch, on average), then Ksplice can apply all 64 of the security patches from this interval without rebooting.

If the above short description isn’t enough for you and you really want to get your hands dirty, check out the technical paper that will surely itch all corners of your brain. So what will you do with those now reclaimed minutes of your day. Plant a tree? Save a lost kitten? Knit a sweater? The possibilities are endless.

Source: Crunch Gear, Technology Review

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