Operating System Design and Implementation

Here we provided Operating System Design and Implementation in Realsubtitle. In this post, we discuss the problems we face in designing and implementing an operating system.

 

Operating System Design and Implementation

 

Design Goals

The first problem in designing a system is to define goals and specifications. At the highest level, the design of the system will be affected by the choice of hardware and the type of system: batch, time shared, single-user, multi-user, distributed, real-time, or general-purpose. Beyond this highest design level, the requirements may be much harder to specify.

The requirements can, however, be divided into two basic groups: user goals and system goals.

Users desire certain obvious properties in a system. The system should be convenient to use, easy to learn and to use, reliable, safe, and fast. Of course, these specifications are not particularly useful in the system design, since there is no general agreement on how to achieve them.

A similar set of requirements can be defined by those people who must design, create, maintain, and operate the system. The system should be easy to design, implement, and maintain; and it should be flexible, reliable, error-free, and efficient. Again, these requirements are vague and may be interpreted in various ways.

There is, in short, no unique solution to the problem of defining the requirements for an operating system. The wide range of systems in existence shows that different requirements can result in a large variety of solutions for different environments.

Specifying and designing an operating system is a highly creative task. Although no textbook can tell you how to do it, general principles have been developed in the field of software engineering, and we turn now to a discussion of some of these principles.

 

Implementation

Once an operating system is designed, it must be implemented. Traditionally, operating systems have been written in assembly language. Now, however, they are most commonly written in higher-level languages such as C or C++. The first system that was not written in assembly language was probably the Master Control Program (MCP) for Burroughs computers.

The advantages of using a higher-level language, or at least a systems implementation language, for implementing operating systems are the same as those accrued when the language is used for application programs: the code can be written faster, is more compact, and is easier to understand and debug. In addition, improvements in compiler technology will improve the generated code for the entire operating system by simple recompilation. Finally, an operating system is far easier to port-to move to some other hardware if it is written in a higher-level language.

The only possible disadvantages of implementing an operating system in a higher-level language are reduced speed and increased storage requirements. This, however, is no longer a major issue in today’s systems.

As is true in other systems, major performance improvements in operating systems are more likely to be the result of better data structures and algorithms than of excellent assembly-language code. In addition, although operating systems are large, only a small amount of the code is critical to high performance; the memory manager and the CPU scheduler are probably the most critical routines. After the system is written and is working correctly, bottleneck routines can be identified and can be replaced with assembly-language equivalents.

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