#USENIX @AnnualTech M. Renzelmann Decaf: Moving Device Drivers to a Modern Language (Java). He says performance impact is 1%
talks about “Decaf: Moving Device Drivers to a Modern Language” which describes a system where large parts of a driver can be written in a better language than C, the example here being Java.
I was certain that this was not the first time I had read about such an idea. This weekend I was able to go through my archive and find out the reference. Back in January 1997 in the NT Insider (Volume 4, Issue 1) Peter Viscarola, while criticizing the multitude of startups founded by anyone who could code a Java applet (this was a pre-dot-boom era remember) wrote:
It’s obvious that we are missing a real opportunity here to capitalize on the convergence of these trends. We need to immediately fund a start-up company to develop a package for writing Windows NT drivers in Java. THINK of it! We could have processor architecture independent device drivers that don’t even need to be recompiled in order to support X86, PPC, and Alpha machines! Amazing! We could create a visual driver development environment, complete with cute animated assistants. And, the drivers could probably have a visual component to them, so you could actually see your toaster-oven driver doing its work. Cool! THEN we could all be challenged, and have fun, and get rich at the same time. Wow! Why didn’t I think of this before?
It would be nice if we could see Peter’s views on the subject 12 years later.