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Agree completely. Linux is developing pretty nice opt-out mechanisms though, despite Linus's best intentions.

In Snabb Switch (http://snabb.co/snabbswitch/) we take large blocks of RAM (HugeTLB) and whole PCI device access (mmap via sysfs) from Linux and then do everything else ourselves in userspace. The kernel is more like a BIOS in that sense: it gets you up and running and takes care of the details you really don't care about.

EDIT: Extremely early draft ahem detailed design document: http://snabb.co/misc/snabbswitch-07may2013.pdf

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