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Title: Operating Systems In Depth
Author: Thomas W. Doeppner

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Operating Systems
in Depth

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OPERATING SYSTEMS
IN DEPTH

Thomas W. Doeppner
Brown University

JOHN WILEY & SONS, INC.

vice-president & executive publisher
executive editor
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executive media editor
cover design
cover photo

Donald Fowley
Beth Lang Golub
Christopher Ruel
Barbara Russiello
Mike Berlin
Diana Smith
Thomas Kulesa
Wendy Lai
Thomas W. Doeppner

Cover photo is of Banggai Cardinalfish (Pterapogon kauderni), taken in the Lembeh Strait, North
Sulawesi, Indonesia.
This book was set in 10/12 Times Roman. The book was composed by MPS Limited, A Macmillan
Company and printed and bound by Hamilton Printing Company.
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be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic,
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Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data:
Doeppner, Thomas W.
Operating systems in depth / Thomas W. Doeppner.
p. cm.
Includes index.
ISBN 978-0-471-68723-8 (hardback)
1. Operating systems (Computers) I. Title.
QA76.76.O63D64 2010
005.4’3—dc22
2010034669
Printed in the United States of America
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

To the memory of my father, Thomas W. Doeppner Sr.

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Preface

T

he goal of this book is to bring together and explain current practice in operating systems.
This includes much of what is traditionally covered in operating-system textbooks: concurrency, scheduling, linking and loading, storage management (both real and virtual), file systems,
and security. However, I also cover issues that come up every day in operating-systems design
and implementation but are not often taught in undergraduate courses. For example, I cover:
• Deferred work, which includes deferred and asynchronous procedure calls in Windows,
tasklets in Linux, and interrupt threads in Solaris.
• The intricacies of thread switching, on both uniprocessor and multiprocessor systems.
• Modern file systems, such as ZFS and WAFL.
• Distributed file systems, including CIFS and NFS version 4.

AUDIENCE
This book is based on material I’ve developed over the past 30+ years for my operating-systems
course at Brown University and is suitable for a one-semester course for advanced undergraduates and beginning graduate students. Students taking the course at Brown have generally had an
introductory course on computer architecture and an advanced programming course. The course
investigates in depth what’s done in current operating systems, and its significant programming
projects make students come to grips with major operating-system components and attain an
intimate understanding of how they work.
But certainly not all students in an OS course want to go on to concentrate in the area, let
alone work in it. A course based on this text must be accessible to these students as well. This
issue is handled at Brown by letting students choose one of two projects (discussed later in this
preface). The first, relatively straightforward, project involves writing a user-level threads library,
a file-system cache manager, and a simple file system. The second, for the truly interested gung-ho
students, is to implement a good portion of a simple but fully functional operating system. (Those
portions that are not pedagogically useful for students to write are provided to them.) Students
completing this latter project get a half course of additional credit (Brown’s full courses and half
courses are equivalent to four-credit and two-credit courses in schools using the credit system).

TOPIC COVERAGE
Part of the challenge in writing a textbook is not only choosing the topics to cover but also
determining the order of presentation. There is the usual conundrum: to appreciate the individual

vii


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