Sunday, 31 May 2009

Press Any Key

Well that was a strange weekend. I felt very odd Saturday - very sore throat, dizzy, really nasty headache and a bit of a fever for a while. The fever and dizziness went but I've still got a damn sore throat (a bit less so). I slept a lot.

I managed to get sucked in to poking on code again ... and once I start it's hard to stop.

I wrote up a basic keyboard device - it's a user-mode server which listens to an incoming message port for requests messages and for interrupts. If it gets an interrupt it buffers the keys (and provides decoding/etc), and if it gets a request it returns a key from the buffer (or queues it until one comes along). Very simple code. Then I wanted to have it synthesize key repeats too -- I find the pc keyboard repeats too slowly -- so that meant looking at writing a timing sub system. I tried to think of how these devices should be setup and initialised but for now I've just hardcoded their process creation from the kickstart routine, and use a simple manual process for accessing them via a public port name.

So then I had to work out how to use the APIC for timing - I'll leave the PIC timer for scheduling for now. And with that, I wrote a preliminary 'timer.device', although I haven't tried to see if it works yet. I ummed and ahhed over putting the timing service directly in the kernel, rather than in a user-service. But the kernel can only send signals to processes, and the timer device can send messages, so it seems like it's more useful, even if there is a somewhat more overhead involved. Sigh, I wish there was another APIC timer or two, it would be nice to have a good reliable period counter as well as one to be reprogrammed for varying intervals.

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