On Mon, 13 Jan 2003, Erez Hadad wrote:

> Hi all,
> My name is Erez Hadad, and I'm the TA in charge of the new OS course starting
> next semester in CS, tutored by Prof. Hagit Attiya. As some of you may know,
> this course differs from its predecessors by two major aspects:
> 1. OS's scope is a unification of the existing "Intro to OS" and "OSS".
> 2. The real-world OS of choice for the "OS" course is Linux. This means that
> various mechanisms are going to be demonstrated through Linux. Also, Linux
> will be used for student practice (kernel hacking & app writing).

Sound nice.

> I'd like to address all those of you who know something about Linux and wish
> to help us advocate Linux through this course.
> What I'm looking for is:
> 1. Opinions: Is Linux a good candidate for such a course, as opposed to, for
> example, FreeBSD? Please provide good documentation sources, formal and
> informal, online and hard-copy, for both the kernel and API. Consistency
> between the existing kernel and the documentation is a MAJOR factor (for
> example, I heard many rumors about rapid under-documented changes in the
> virtual memory).

The Linux Kernel is the most documented kernel on the Internet. (just
search for "kernel" and you'll have a hard time finding anything else).
You can learn a lot about it just from there. Note that there are also
off-line books (Writing Linux Device Drivers which I've read online is
excellent), to good extent or the other.

The FreeBSD kernel may have been traditionally more documented as it is
older, and was open-source back then. But Linux out of being the most
popular Linux has catchen up with it.

> 2. Tools: What is the safest and most comfortable way for students to hack the
> kernel? VMWare? UML?

I think UML. A simple user can run it with enough quota, and have a
process that is a fully functionaly kernel. You don't need to give the
users root permission.

If you want to work with the hardware than VMWare may be better, but I'm a
bit misinformed.

> 3. Gurus: If anyone considers himself more-than-trivially knowledgable about
> Linux: kernel, virtual memory, file systems, POSIX threads etc: Please
> contact me by email. We'd like to consult with such people regarding Linux
> matters during the semster.

I know a bit about everything in Linux. My fields of great expertise are:

1. Perl.
2. Shell and stuff.
3. ANSI C Programming (portability, optimizations, etc.)
4. Single-player Game AI.
5. Web Technologies.

So I don't think I'm very suitable for you. (I did a lot of many other
things - POSIX threads, kernel programming, sockets programming, etc, but
would not call myself an expert in this regard)

> 4. TAs: Anyone who has Linux in his soul and needs a TA position for next
> semester, please contact me.

I took the Structure of OS course in EE (which used Linux for quite some
time, but the exercises where fully user-landish). I'm also not looking
for a TA position, because I'd rather not spend time about this. Sorry.


        Shlomi Fish

Shlomi Fish        [EMAIL PROTECTED]
Home Page:         http://t2.technion.ac.il/~shlomif/

He who re-invents the wheel, understands much better how a wheel works.

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