The Art of Linux Kernel Design : Illustrating the Operating System Design Principle and Implementation book cover
1st Edition

The Art of Linux Kernel Design
Illustrating the Operating System Design Principle and Implementation

ISBN 9781466518032
Published April 1, 2014 by Auerbach Publications
534 Pages 309 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Uses the Running Operation as the Main Thread

Difficulty in understanding an operating system (OS) lies not in the technical aspects, but in the complex relationships inside the operating systems. The Art of Linux Kernel Design: Illustrating the Operating System Design Principle and Implementation addresses this complexity. Written from the perspective of the designer of an operating system, this book tackles important issues and practical problems on how to understand an operating system completely and systematically. It removes the mystery, revealing operating system design guidelines, explaining the BIOS code directly related to the operating system, and simplifying the relationships and guiding ideology behind it all.

Based on the Source Code of a Real Multi-Process Operating System

Using the 0.11 edition source code as a representation of the Linux basic design, the book illustrates the real states of an operating system in actual operations. It provides a complete, systematic analysis of the operating system source code, as well as a direct and complete understanding of the real operating system run-time structure. The author includes run-time memory structure diagrams, and an accompanying essay to help readers grasp the dynamics behind Linux and similar software systems.

  • Identifies through diagrams the location of the key operating system data structures that lie in the memory
  • Indicates through diagrams the current operating status information which helps users understand the interrupt state, and left time slice of processes
  • Examines the relationship between process and memory, memory and file, file and process, and the kernel
  • Explores the essential association, preparation, and transition, which is the vital part of operating system

Develop a System of Your Own

This text offers an in-depth study on mastering the operating system, and provides an important prerequisite for designing a whole new operating system.

Table of Contents

From Power-Up to the Main Function

Loading BIOS, Constructing Interrupt Vector Table, and Activating

Interrupt Service Routines in the Real Mode

Loading the OS Kernel and Preparing for the Protected Mode

Transfer to 32-bit Mode and Prepare for the Main Function


Device Initialization and Process 0 Activation

Set Root Device 2 and Hard Disk

Set Up Physical Memory Layout, Buffer Memory, Ramdisk, and Main Memory

Ramdisk Setup and Initialization

Initialization of the Memory Management Structure mem_map

Hooking the Interrupt Service Program

Initialize the Request Structure of the Block Device

Binding with the Interrupt Service Routine of Peripherals and Establishing the Human–Computer Interaction Interface

Time Setting

Initialize Process 0

Initialize the Buffer Management Structure

Initialize the Hard Disk

Initialize the Floppy Disk

Enable the Interrupt

Process 0 Moves from Privilege Level 0 to 3 and Becomes a Real Process

Creation and Execution of Process 1

Creation of Process 1

Kernel Schedules a Process for the First Time

Turn to Process 1 to Execute

Creation and Execution of Process 2

Open the Terminal Device File and Copy the File Handle

Fork Process 2 and Switch to Process 2 to Execute

The System Gets to the Idle State

File Operation

Install the File System

Opening a File

Reading a File

Creating a New File

Writing a File

Modifying a File

Closing a File

Deleting a File

The User Process and Memory Management

Linear Address Protection


When to Apply the Process to a New Page and When You Should Not

Map the New Application Page to the Linear Address in the Process

Complete Process of User Process from Creation to Exit

Multiple User Processes Run Concurrently

Buffer and Multiprocess Operating File

Function of Buffer

Structure of Buffer

The Function of b_dev, b_blocknr, and Request

Function of Uptodate and Dirt

Function of the Count, Lock, Wait, Request

Example 1: Process Waiting Queue of Buffer Block

Overall Look at the Buffer Block and the Request Item

Example 2: Comprehensive Examples of Multiprocess Operating File

Inter-Process Communication

Pipe Mechanism

Signal Mechanism


Operating System’s Design Guidelines

Run a Simple Program to See What the Operating System Has Done

Thoughts on the Design of the Operating System: Master-Slave


Three Key Techniques in Realizing the Master

Decisive Factor in Establishing the Master-Slave Mechanism: The Initiative

Relationship Between Software and Hardware: Host and Process, Peripherals and File

Parent and Child Processes Sharing Page

Operating System’s Global Interrupt and the Process’s Local Interrupt: Signal



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Lixiang Yang is an associate professor of the University of Chinese Academy of Sciences. His research interests include operating systems, compilers, and programming language. Recently, he and his team successfully developed a new operating system that aims to fundamentally solve the problem concerning the intrusion of illegal programs into computers. They set up two websites for hackers to perform the intrusion attack test. These addresses are