/dev/random + /dev/urandom Unification May Be Revisited In The Future, Blocker Addressed

Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Kernel on 26 April 2022 at 05:30 AM EDT. 1 Comment
Originally attempted with Linux 5.18 were patches so /dev/urandom and /dev/random would behave exactly the same. That was dropped though due to not enough randomness at boot for some platforms like Arm 32-bit, Motorola m68k, Microblaze, Xtensa, and others. But then the change went in to opportunistically initialize /dev/random as a best-effort approach where it at least works nicely on x86/x86_64. The good news is that original unification effort may be re-visited in the future now that the original blocker issue has been addressed.

Jason Donenfeld shared "excellent news" that the original issue affecting the various niche architectures has been addressed:
So what this means is: the rationale for reverting the /dev/random + /dev/urandom unification has now been fixed. That's some real tangible progress.

Now, I don't want to rush into trying the unification again too soon. I think if anything, the lesson from the first attempt wasn't simply, "I should fix a few of Guenter's test cases," but rather that the problem is fairly nuanced and will take a lot wider testing and research. However, the fact that the initial thing, across multiple platforms, that lead to the revert has been fixed gives me a decent amount of optimism that at /some point/ down the road, we'll be able to try this again. One step at a time.

He went on to tweet optimism for the future that the /dev/random and /dev/urandom unification may be successfully re-visited down the road.

See last week's patch for the fix to this latest hurdle now overcome.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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