The OS Classics

A few days ago I was fortunate to pick up a copy of a book that had a
major impact on my early career as kernel engineer;

The Design and Implementation of the 4.3 BSD UNIX Operating System by
Samuel J. Leffler, Marshall Kirk McKusick, Michael J. Karels and John
S. Quarterman

It was the first authoritative description of Berkeley
, its
design and implementation. The book covers the internal structure of the
4.3 BSD systems and the concepts, data structures and algorithms used in
implementing the system facilities. But most importantly it was written
by practitioners and builders and as such gave insights that academic
text book would never give you.

In those days I was doing an internship at
NIKHEF who were still using a collection of
PDP 11s and one of my tasks was to get BSD2.9 to run on them. Lots of
late nights and head scratching, but got it done eventually. I did learn
how to boot from tape, over and over again (Zen!!). When I returned to
school, they were about to decommission a PDP 11. I convinced them to
put it in a old (big) cleaning closet, upgrade the power to the room,
and I went right back to building out my BSD kernel expertise. I started
late at Computer Science (28) but worked hard to catch up by getting my
hands dirty.

When I posted on twitter I found of the book, many of our peers came up
with a list of other books I had also read from that era.