Comparing the DSLinux with Standard Linux

December 18, 2010

The DSLinux has no virtual memory since the Nintendo DS does not have an MMU. A virtual memory is a way of making a program think that it owns all the memory in a computer while also being able to isolate programs from one another. Although DSLinux can still run multitype programs at the same time, all memory programs live in the same memory address space and are only relocated at run time to prevent overlapping. Any program therefore, can access memory anywhere to read arbitrary files, spy for passwords or even crash the kernel, among the so many nasty things that can be done. The absence of paging due also to the lack of MMU means that DSLinux cannot use memory as Linux on a PC so efficiently does.

The small amount of RAM and small size of storage media available can be very limiting while typing with a stylus is not exactly as comfortable as typing on a real keyboard.