The usefulness of our existing plumbing is maximized by making sure it can be accessed programatically. Shelling out to their cmdline utilities is not good enough. Much plumbing has APIs, but many (e.g. iptables, open-iscsi, e2fsprogs, lvm, btrfs?) only have command-line utilities that limits their use as building blocks.
We should establish that plumbing needs proper interfaces (.so, dbus, whatever) for other code to call it reliably, and that cmdline interfaces should really just be for humans.
My hope is this session can discuss the issue, and possibly come to a greater consensus on the need for APIs in plumbing, and start making plans for how we can work towards more complete API coverage.
Andy Grover is a kernel/plumbing guy who has worked on ACPI, networking, dmaengine, InfiniBand, and SCSI kernel target subsystems. His most recent work has also involved user-level code in Python and C. He lives in Portland, Oregon and works for Red Hat.