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CSE422/CSE512 - Operating System Internals

BSD Daemon Picture CSE422 teaches the Internals of a relatively advanced Operating System. Currently it is FreeBSD that is used for the lab work. Students have access to the Kernel source code and the projects involve modifying the existing system. An example project might be to add a new System Call to the Operating System, or modify the filesystem (or both :-). There are usually three large projects, as well as some smaller assignments used as "stepping stones" towards the larger projects. To consider taking this course you should already have a good understanding of Operating System fundamentals (typically having already taken or currently taking CSE421) and be familiar with C programming. You will be thrown into roughly 50Mb of C source code, needing to first understand what the current code does and then make modifications/additions to it without breaking it.

Students will be encouraged to set up and work on their own home machines running FreeBSD as a way of reducing contention for the lab machines. Since the projects involve working on the operating system kernel students need to reboot a test machine with their kernel for testing purposes, and only one student can use a test machine at any given time. As project due dates get closer there is typically a lot of contention for the six (or so) test machines that are available. If you have your own machine at home to work on you will not be competing with other students for use of the test machines while debugging your projects (though you will be required to put the final version of your work on the lab machines for grading purposes). There are hints on how to install FreeBSD given in the Lab Manual which is part of the course material but it is not an exhaustive guide. It will require some basic systems administration skills (and the test machines are available in the lab if you find you can not set up your own machine). If you are planning to take this course and have a suitable machine at home you may want to try installing FreeBSD before the course starts.

Registration information about this course is available here on UB-Wings. This course is only offered in the Spring semester. For information specific to any given semester see the Instructor's Web page.

The instructor for this course is Ken Smith, who can be reached by sending email to kensmith@dcsl.buffalo.edu.


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