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As commodity operating systems become more reliable and fault-tolerant, the availability of a system will be determined not by when it crashes, but instead by when it must be shutdown and rebooted due to software maintenance. While many system components can be upgraded on-line, critical low-level components, such as device drivers and other kernel extensions, cannot be updated without rebooting the entire operating system. In this paper, the authors present Live Update, a mechanism that allows device drivers to be updated without rebooting the system. Unlike other on-line update mechanisms, their system supports existing drivers "As is".
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