Carnegie Mellon
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Computer Science Department

15-410 Approved Readings


Advanced Configuration And Power Interface Specification Revision 2.0c Available here

Daniel Bovet and Marco Cesati. Understanding the Linux Kernel (2nd Edition)
Note: this book has some tendency to function as a play-by-play of what happens inside Linux (on an x86) as opposed to a design book. You may find the BSD book or the Love book more design-oriented.

Eppinger, Mummert, and Spector, ed. Camelot and Avalon: a distributed transaction facility

Maurice J. Bach. Design of the Unix Operating System
This is a very clear overview of how Unix kernels used to be constructed.

Bar, Moshe. Linux Internals
Some people have found this book dry due to extensive source-code walk-throughs.

Joshua J. Bloch. Effective Java

Joseph Boykin, David Kirschen, Alan Langerman, Susan LoVerso. Programming under Mach, Addison-Wesley Unix and Open Systems Series; Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, Inc. 1993. ISBN 0-201-52739-1

Niels Ferguson and Bruce Schneier. Practical Cryptography
This is a good nuts-and-bolts book; if you are interested in the human-factors, managerial, political, or social implications of computer security, you might prefer Secrets and Lies (below).

Robert Love. Linux Kernel Development
We received some complaints about the 2003 edition containing too much play-by-play material, but the 2005 edition has received favorable student reviews. You may find that the BSD book provides more historical and design perspective.

These both count as "the BSD book":

  • Marshall Kirk McKusick, George V. Neville-Neil. The Design and Implementation of the FreeBSD Operating System, Pearson Education, 2004. ISBN: 0-201-70245-2
  • Marshall Kirk McKusick, Keith Bostic, Michael J. Karels, John S. Quarterman. The Design and Implementation of the 4.4 BSD Operating System, Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, Inc., 1996. ISBN:0-201-54979-4

David Loshin. Efficient Memory Programming
Note that some students reported a distracting number of minor errors in this book.

Jim Mauro, Richard McDougall. Solaris Internals: Core Kernel Architecture

Bruce Schneier. Secrets and Lies
Note: his Beyond Fear is probably too layman-targeted for this class. Meanwhile, Applied Cryptography is probably too dry. If you're looking for nuts and bolts, try Practical Cryptography (above).


Ann Chervenak. Performance Measurements of the First RAID Prototype (ps)
Note: this is a very dense piece of work, but it is an excellent example of what must be done to make real systems go fast. It is also a good example of how to graduate even if your system doesn't go as fast as you expected it to.

Henry Massalin. Synthesis: An Efficient Implementation of Fundamental Operating System Services (ps.gz)
The practical implications of this work are very unclear, but it's definitely a good vehicle for thinking differently about what a kernel might be.

Jay Kistler, Disconnected Operation in a Distributed File System (PDF)
Disconnected operation is a very timely topic.

Lily B. Mummert, Exploiting weak connectivity in a distributed file system (PDF)
Adaptive mobility from the file system perspective.

Alfred Z. Spector, Multiprocessing Architectures for Local Computer Networks, STAN-CS-81-874.
This is old and not trivial to find (I think the E&S Library has a copy), but it's fascinating...

Michael Wayne Young, Exporting a User Interface to Memory Management from a Communication-Oriented Operating System, CMU-CS-89-202.

Paper collections

  • Autonet
  • Exokernel
    • 1994: The exokernel approach to extensibility (panel statement) (PS)
    • 1995: The operating system kernel as a secure programmable machine (PS)
    • 1995: Exterminate all operating system abstractions (PS)
    • 1995: Exokernel: an operating system architecture for application-level resource management (PS)
    • 1997: Application performance and flexibility on exokernel systems (HTML) (PS)
    • 2002: Fast and flexible Application-Level Networking on Exokernel Systems (PDF)
  • EROS - Yes, you can read about EROS, but you need to propose a particular list of papers, see below.
  • Plan 9
    • Introduction: Plan 9 From Bell Labs (PDF)
    • File system track
      • The Plan 9 File Server (PDF)
      • Venti: A new approach to archival storage (PDF)
    • Or suggest your own track of two to three other papers...

Remember, you are not required to read something on this list. This is the list of pre-approved readings. If you want to read something else, make a suggestion on the book choice page.

If you are proposing a collection of papers which has not already been approved, please send me a list of titles, page counts, and URLs. I would appreciate it if you would make submissions in HTML according to the format used in this document so I can easily add approved readings. For example:

<A HREF="...">(PDF)</A></P>

<LI>Paper collection name
<LI><CITE>Paper Title 1</CITE> (NN pages),
<A HREF="...">(PDF)</A>
<LI><CITE>Paper Title 2</CITE> (NN pages),
<A HREF="...">(PDF)</A>

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[Last modified Monday May 09, 2005]