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The Flux OS Toolkit: Reusable Components for OS Implementation

Bryan Ford, Kevin Van Maren, Jay Lepreau, Stephen Clawson, Bart Robinson, and Jeff Turner
University of Utah

6th Workshop on Hot Topics in Operating Systems (HotOS-VI)
May 5-6, 1997


To an unappreciated degree, research both in operating systems and their programming languages has been severely hampered by the lack of cleanly reusable code providing mundane low-level OS infrastructure such as bootstrap code and device drivers. The Flux OS Toolkit solves this problem by providing a set of clean, well-documented components. These components can be used as basic building blocks both for operating systems and for booting language run-time systems directly on the hardware. The toolkit’s implementation itself embodies reuse techniques by incorporating components such as device drivers, file systems, and networking code, unchanged, from other sources. We believe the kit also makes feasible the production of highly assured embedded and operating systems: by enabling reuse of low-level code, the high cost of detailed verification of that code can be amortized over many systems for critical environments. The OS toolkit is already heavily used in several different OS and programming language projects, and has already catalyzed research and development that would otherwise never have been attempted.

Paper: PDF PS

Topics: Operating Systems Microkernels Security Modularity Bryan Ford