Speakers: Bryan Ford, CMU & U. of Utah
The Flux OSKit: A Substrate for OS and Language Research
Date: September 25, 1997
Where & When: WeH 8220, Noon
Implementing new operating systems is tedious, costly, and often impractical except for large projects. The Flux OSKit addresses this problem in a novel way by providing clean, well-documented OS components designed to be reused in a wide variety of other environments, rather than defining a new OS structure. The OSKit uses unconventional techniques to maximize its usefulness, such as intentionally exposing implementation details and platform-specific facilities. Further, the OSKit demonstrates a technique that allows unmodified code from existing mature operating systems to be incorporated quickly and updated regularly, by wrapping it with a small amount of carefully designed "glue" code to isolate its dependencies and export well-defined interfaces. The OSKit uses this technique to incorporate over 230,000 lines of stable code including device drivers, file systems, and network protocols. Four real-world examples show how the OSKit is catalyzing research and development in operating systems and programming languages.