Linux History

Linux History

 Linux looks and feels much like any other UNIX system; indeed, UNIX compatibility has been a major design goal of the Linux project. However, Linux is much younger than most UNIX systems. Its development began in 1991, when a Finnish student, Linus Torvalds, wrote and christened Linux, a small but self-contained kernel for the 80386 processor, the first true 32-bit processor in Intel's range of PC-compatible CPUs. Early in its development, the Linux source code was made available free on the Internet.

As a result, Linux's history has been one of collaboration by many users from all around the world, corresponding almost exclusively over the Internet. From an initial kernel that partially implemented a small subset of 737 738 Chapter 21 The Linux System the UNIX system services, the Linux system has grown to include much ifFNIX functionality.

 In its early days, Linux development revolved largely around the central operating-system kernel—the core, privileged executive that manages all system resources and that interacts directly with the computer hardware. We need much more than this kernel to produce a full operating system, of course. It is useful to make the distinction between the Linux kernel and a Linux system. The Linux kernel is an entirely original piece of software developed from scratch by the Linux community.

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 The Linux system, as we know it today, includes a multitude of components, some written from scratch, others borrowed from other development projects, and still others created in collaboration with other teams. The basic Linux system is a standard environment for applications and user programming, but it does not enforce any standard means of managing the available functionality as a whole. As Linux has matured, a need has arisen for another layer of functionality on top of the Linux system. This need has been met by various Linux distributions. A Linux distribution includes all the standard components of the Linux system, plus a set of administrative tools to simplify the initial installation and subsequent upgrading of Linux and to manage installation and removal of other packages on the system. A modern distribution also typically includes tools for management of file systems, creation and management of user accounts, administration of networks, web browsers, word processors, and so on.

The Linux Kernel

The first Linux kernel released to the public was Version 0.01, dated May 14,1991. It had no networking, ran only on 80386-compatible Intel processors and PC hardware, and had extremely limited device-driver support. The virtual memory subsystem was also fairly basic and included no support for memorymapped files; however, even this early incarnation supported shared pages with copy-on-write. The only file system supported was the Minix file system —the first Linux kernels were cross-developed on a Minix platform. However, the kernel did implement proper UNIX processes with protected address spaces.

The next milestone version, Linux 1.0, was released on March 14, 1994. This release culminated three years of rapid development of the Linux kernel. Perhaps the single biggest new feature was networking: 1.0 included support for UNIX's standard TCP/IP networking protocols, as well as a BSD-compatible socket interface for networking programming. Device-driver support was added for running IP over an Ethernet or (using PPP or SLIP protocols) over serial lines or modems. The 1.0 kernel also included a new, much enhanced file system without the limitations of the original Minix file system and supported a range of SCSI controllers for high-performance disk access. The developers extended the virtual memory subsystem to support paging to swap files and memory mapping of arbitrary files (but only read-only memory mapping was implemented in 1.0).

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 A range of extra hardware support was also included in this release. Although still restricted to the Intel PC platform, hardware support had grown to include floppy-disk and CD-ROM devices, as well as sound cards, a range of mice, and international keyboards. Floating-point emulation was provided 21.1 Linux History 739 in the kernel for 80386 users who had no 80387 math coprocessor; System V UNIX-style interprocess communication (IPC), including shared memory, semaphores, and message queues, was implemented. Simple support for dynamically loadable and unloadable kernel modules was supplied as well. At this point, development started on the 1.1 kernel stream, but numerous bug-fix patches were released subsequently against 1.0.

 A pattern was adopted as the standard numbering convention for Linux kernels. Kernels with an odd minor-version number, such as 1.1,1.3, and 2.1, are development kernels; evennumbered minor-version numbers are stable production kernels. Updates against the stable kernels are intended only as remedial versions, whereas the development kernels may include newer and relatively untested functionality. In March 1995, the 1.2 kernel was released. This release did not offer nearly the same improvement in functionality as the 1.0 release, but it did support a much wider variety of hardware, including the new PCI hardware bus architecture.

 Developers added another PC-specific feature—support for the 80386 CPU's virtual 8086 mode—to allow emulation of the DOS operating system for PC computers. They also updated the networking stack to provide support for the IPX protocol and made the IP implementation more complete by including accounting and firewalling functionality.

The 1.2 kernel was the final PC-only Linux kernel. The source distribution for Linux 1.2 included partially implemented support for SPARC, Alpha, and MIPS CPUs, but full integration of these other architectures did not begin until after the 1.2 stable kernel was released. The Linux 1.2 release concentrated on wider hardware support and more complete implementations of existing functionality. Much new functionality was under development at the time, but integration of the new code into the main kernel source code had been deferred until after the stable 1.2 kernel had been released. As a result, the 1.3 development stream saw a great deal of new functionality added to the kernel. This work was finally released as Linux 2.0 in June 1996. This release was given a major version-number increment on account of two major new capabilities: support for multiple architectures, including a fully 64-bit native Alpha port, and support for multiprocessor architectures.

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 Linux distributions based on 2.0 are also available for the Motorola 68000-series processors and for Sun's SPARC systems. A derived version of Linux running on top of the Mach microkernel also runs on PC and PowerMac systems. The changes in 2.0 did not stop there. The memory-management code was substantially improved to provide a unified cache for file-system data independent of the caching of block devices. As a result of this change, the kernel offered greatly increased file-system and virtual memory performance. For the first time, file-system caching was extended to networked file systems, and writable memory-mapped regions also were supported.

The 2.0 kernel also included much improved TCP/IP performance, and a number of new networking protocols were added, including AppleTalk, AX.25 amateur radio networking, and ISDN support. The ability to mount remote netware and SMB (Microsoft LanManager) network volumes was added. Other major improvements in 2.0 were support for internal kernel threads, for handling dependencies between loadable modules, and for automatic loading of modules on demand.

Dynamic configuration of the kernel at run time was much improved through a new, standardized configuration interface. 740 Chapter 21 The Linux System Additional new features included file-system quotas and POSIX-compatible real-time process-scheduling classes. Improvements continued with the release of Linux 2.2 in January 1999. A port for UltraSPARC systems was added. Networking was enhanced with more flexible firewalling, better routing and traffic management, and support for TCP large window and selective acks. Acorn, Apple, and NT disks could now be read, and NFS was enhanced and a kernel-mode NFS daemon added. Signal handling, interrupts, and some I/O were locked at a finer level than before to improve symmetric multiprocessor (SMP) performance. Advances in the 2.4 and 2.6 releases of the kernel include increased support for SMP systems, journaling file systems, and enhancements to the memorymanagement system. The process scheduler has been modified in version 2.6, providing an efficient 0(1) scheduling algorithm. In addition, the Linux 2.6 kernel is now preemptive, allowing a process to be preempted while running in kernel mode.

The Linux System

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 In many ways, the Linux kernel forms the core of the Linux project, but other components make up the complete Linux operating system. Whereas the Linux kernel is composed entirely of code written from scratch specifically for the Linux project, much of the supporting software that makes up the Linux system is not exclusive to Linux but is common to a number of UNIX-like operating systems. In particular, Linux uses many tools developed as part of Berkeley's BSD operating system, MIT's X Window System, and the Free Software Foundation's GNU project. This sharing of tools has worked in both directions.

The main system libraries of Linux were originated by the GNU project, but the Linux community greatly improved the libraries by addressing omissions, inefficiencies, and bugs. Other components, such as the GNU C compiler (gcc), were already of sufficiently high quality to be used directly in Linux. The networkingadministration tools under Linux were derived from code first developed for 4.3 BSD, but more recent BSD derivatives, such as FreeBSD, have borrowed code from Linux in return. Examples include the Intel floating-point-emulation math library and the PC sound-hardware device drivers.

 The Linux system as a whole is maintained by a loose network of developers collaborating over the Internet, with small groups or individuals having responsibility for maintaining the integrity of specific components. A small number of public Internet file-transfer-protocol (ftp) archive sites act as de facto standard repositories for these components. The File System Hierarchy Standard document is also maintained by the Linux community as a means of keeping compatibility across the various system components. This standard specifies the overall layout of a standard Linux file system; it determines under which directory names configuration files, libraries, system binaries, and run-time data files should be stored.

Linux History

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Linux Distributions

 In theory, anybody can install a Linux system by fetching the latest revisions of the necessary system components from the ftp sites and compiling them. In Linux's early days, this operation was often precisely what a Linux user 21.1 Linux History 741 had to carry out. As Linux has matured, however, various individuals and groups have attempted to make this job less painful by providing a standard, precompiled set of packages for easy installation. These collections, or distributions, include much more than just the basic Linux system.

 They typically include extra system-installation and management utilities, as well as precompiled and ready-to-install packages of many of the common UNIX tools, such as news servers, web browsers, text-processing and editing tools, and even games. The first distributions managed these packages by simply providing a means of unpacking all the files into the appropriate places. One of the important contributions of modern distributions, however, is advanced package management. Today's Linux distributions include a package-tracking database that allows packages to be installed, upgraded, or removed painlessly.

The SLS distribution, dating back to the early days of Linux, was the first collection of Linux packages that was recognizable as a complete distribution. Although it could be installed as a single entity, SLS lacked the packagemanagement tools now expected of Linux distributions. The Slackware distribution represented a great improvement in overall quality, even though it also had poor package management; it is still one of the most widely installed distributions in the Linux community. Since Slackware's release, many commercial and noncommercial Linux distributions have become available. Red Hat and Debian are particularly popular distributions; the first comes from a commercial Linux support company and the second from the free-software Linux community.

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 Other commercially supported versions of Linux include distributions from Caldera, Craftworks, and WorkGroup Solutions. A large Linux following in Germany has resulted in several dedicated German-language distributions, including versions from SuSE and Unifix. There are too many Linux distributions in circulation for us to list all of them here. The variety of distributions does not prohibit compatibility across Linux distributions, however. The RPM package file format is used, or at least understood, by the majority of distributions, and commercial applications distributed in this format can be installed and run on any distribution that can accept RPM files

 Linux Licensing

The Linux kernel is distributed under the GNU general public license (GPL), the terms of which are set out by the Free Software Foundation. Linux is not public-domain software. Public domain implies that the authors have waived copyright rights in the software, but copyright rights in Linux code are still held by the code's various authors. Linux is free software, however, in the sense that people can copy it, modify it, use it in any manner they want, and give away their own copies, without any restrictions.

 The main implications of Linux's licensing terms are that nobody using Linux, or creating her own derivative of Linux (a legitimate exercise), can make the derived product proprietary Software released under the GPL cannot be redistributed as a binary-only product. If you release software that includes any components covered by the GPL, then, under the GPL, you must make source code available alongside any binary distributions. (This restriction does 742 Chapter 21 The Linux System not prohibit making—or even selling—binary-only software distributions, as long as anybody who receives binaries is also given the opportunity to get source code, for a reasonable distribution charge.)

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Frequently Asked Questions

Ans: Structure of the Page Table In this section, we explore some of the most common techniques for structuring the page table. view more..
Ans: Multiple-Processor Scheduling Our discussion thus far has focused on the problems of scheduling the CPU in a system with a single processor. If multiple CPUs are available, load sharing becomes possible; however, the scheduling problem becomes correspondingly more complex. Many possibilities have been tried; and as we saw with singleprocessor CPU scheduling, there is no one best solution. Here, we discuss several concerns in multiprocessor scheduling. We concentrate on systems in which the processors are identical—homogeneous—in terms of their functionality; we can then use any available processor to run any process in the queue. (Note, however, that even with homogeneous multiprocessors, there are sometimes limitations on scheduling. Consider a system with an I/O device attached to a private bus of one processor. view more..
Ans: Performance I/O is a major factor in system performance. It places heavy demands on the CPU to execute device-driver code and to schedule processes fairly and efficiently as they block and unblock. The resulting context switches stress the CPU and its hardware caches. I/O also exposes any inefficiencies in the interrupt-handling mechanisms in the kernel. view more..
Ans: Linux History Linux looks and feels much like any other UNIX system; indeed, UNIX compatibility has been a major design goal of the Linux project. However, Linux is much younger than most UNIX systems. Its development began in 1991, when a Finnish student, Linus Torvalds, wrote and christened Linux, a small but self-contained kernel for the 80386 processor, the first true 32-bit processor in Intel's range of PC-compatible CPUs. Early in its development, the Linux source code was made available free on the Internet. view more..
Ans: An Example: CineBlltz The CineBlitz multimedia storage server is a high-performance media server that supports both continuous media with rate requirements (such as video and audio) and conventional data with no associated rate requirements (such as text and images). CineBlitz refers to clients with rate requirements as realtime clients, whereas non-real-time clients have no rate constraints. CineBlitz guarantees to meet the rate requirements of real-time clients by implementing an admission controller, admitting a client only if there are sufficient resources to allow data retrieval at the required rate. In this section, we explore the CineBlitz disk-scheduling and admission-control algorithms. view more..
Ans: Example: The Intel Pentium Both paging and segmentation have advantages and disadvantages. In fact, some architectures provide both. In this section, we discuss the Intel Pentium architecture, which supports both pure segmentation and segmentation with paging. We do not give a complete description of the memory-management structure of the Pentium in this text. view more..
Ans: System and Network Threats Program threats typically use a breakdown in the protection mechanisms of a system to attack programs. In contrast, system and network threats involve the abuse of services and network connections. Sometimes a system and network attack is used to launch a program attack, and vice versa. System and network threats create a situation in which operating-system resources and user files are misused. Here, we discuss some examples of these threats, including worms, port scanning, and denial-of-service attacks. view more..
Ans: User Authentication The discussion of authentication above involves messages and sessions. But what of users? If a system cannot authenticate a user, then authenticating that a message came from that user is pointless. Thus, a major security problem for operating systems is user authentication. The protection system depends on the ability to identify the programs and processes currently executing, which in turn depends on the ability to identify each user of the system. view more..
Ans: Firewalling to Protect Systems and Networks We turn next to the question of how a trusted computer can be connected safely to an untrustworthy network. One solution is the use of a firewall to separate trusted and untrusted systems. A firewall is a computer, appliance, or router that sits between the trusted and the untrusted. A network firewall limits network access between the two security domains and monitors and logs all connections. It can also limit connections based on source or destination address, source or destination port, or direction of the connection. For instance, web servers use HTTP to communicate with web browsers. A firewall therefore may allow only HTTP to pass from all hosts outside the firewall to the web server within the firewall. The Morris Internet worm used the f inger protocol to break into computers, so finger would not be allowed to pass, for example. view more..
Ans: Algorithm Evaluation How do we select a CPU scheduling algorithm for a particular system? there are many scheduling algorithms, each with its own parameters. As a result, selecting an algorithm can be difficult. The first problem is defining the criteria to be used in selecting an algorithm. As we saw in Section 5.2, criteria are often defined in terms of CPU utilization, response time, or throughput. To select an algorithm, we must first define the relative importance of these measures. Our criteria may include several measures, such as: • Maximizing CPU utilization under the constraint that the maximum response time is 1 second • Maximizing throughput such that turnaround time is (on average) linearly proportional to total execution time Once the selection criteria have been defined, we want to evaluate the algorithms under consideration. view more..
Ans: Remote File Access Consider a user who requests access to a remote file. The server storing the file has been located by the naming scheme, and now the actual data transfer must take place. One way to achieve this transfer is through a remote-service mechanism, whereby requests for accesses are delivered to the server, the server machine performs the accesses, and their results are forwarded back to the user. One of the most common ways of implementing remote service is the remote procedure call (RPC) paradigm, which we discussed in Chapter 3. A direct analogy exists between disk-access methods in conventional file systems and the remote-service method in a DFS: Using the remote-service method is analogous to performing a disk access for each access request. To ensure reasonable performance of a remote-service mechanism, we can use a form of caching. In conventional file systems, the rationale for caching is to reduce disk I/O (thereby increasing performance), whereas in DFSs, the goal is to reduce both network traffic and disk I/O. In the following discussion, we describe the implementation of caching in a DFS and contrast it with the basic remote-service paradigm. view more..
Ans: Andrew is a distributed computing environment designed and implemented at Carnegie Mellon University. The Andrew file system (AFS) constitutes the underlying information-sharing mechanism among clients of the environment. The Transarc Corporation took over development of AFS, then was purchased by IBM. IBM has since produced several commercial implementations of AFS. AFS was subsequently chosen as the DFS for an industry coalition; the result was Transarc DFS, part of the distributed computing environment (DCE) from the OSF organization. In 2000, IBM's Transarc Lab announced that AFS would be an open-source product (termed OpenAFS) available under the IBM public license and Transarc DFS was canceled as a commercial product. OpenAFS is available under most commercial versions of UNIX as well as Linux and Microsoft Windows systems. view more..
Ans: Environmental Subsystems Environmental subsystems are user-mode processes layered over the native Windows XP executive services to enable Windows XP to run programs developed for other operating systems, including 16-bit Windows, MS-DOS, and POSIX. view more..
Ans: Atlas The Atlas operating system (Kilburn et al. [1961], Howarth et al. [1961]) was designed at the University of Manchester in England in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Many of its basic features that were novel at the time have become standard parts of modern operating systems. Device drivers were a major part of the system. In addition, system calls were added by a set of special instructions called extra codes. Atlas was a batch operating system with spooling. Spooling allowed the system to schedule jobs according to the availability of peripheral devices, such as magnetic tape units, paper tape readers, paper tape punches, line printers, card readers, and card punches. 846 Chapter 23 Influential Operating Systems The most remarkable feature of Atlas, however, was its memory management. Core memory was new and expensive at the time. Many computers, like the IBM 650, used a drum for primary memory. view more..
Ans: XDS-940 The XDS-940 operating system (Lichtenberger and Pirtle [1965]) was designed at the University of California at Berkeley. Like the Atlas system, it used paging for memory management. Unlike the Atlas system, it was a time-shared system. The paging was used only for relocation; it was not used for demand paging. The virtual memory of any user process was made up of 16-KB words, whereas the physical memory was made up of 64-KB words view more..
Ans: THE The THE operating system (Dijkstra [1968], McKeag and Wilson [1976]) was designed at the Technische Hogeschool at Eindhoven in the Netherlands. It was a batch system running on a Dutch computer, the EL X8, with 32 KB of 27-bit words. The system was mainly noted for its clean design, particularly its layer structure, and its use of a set of concurrent processes employing semaphores for synchronization. Unlike the XDS-940 system, however, the set of processes in the THE system was static. view more..
Ans: RC 4000 The RC 4000 system, like the THE system, was notable primarily for its design concepts. It was designed for the Danish 4000 computer by Regnecentralen, particularly by Brinch-Hansen (Brinch-Hansen [1970], BrindvHansen [1973]). The objective was not to design a batch system, or a time-sharing system, or any other specific system. Rather, the goal was to create an operating-system nucleus, or kernel, on which a complete operating system could be built. Thus, the system structure was layered, and only the lower levels—comprising the kernel—were provided. The kernel supported a collection of concurrent processes. A round-robin CPU scheduler was used. Although processes could share memory, the primary communication and synchronization mechanism was the message system provided by the kernel. view more..
Ans: Example: The WAFL File System Disk I/O has a huge impact on system performance. As a result, file-system design and implementation command quite a lot of attention from system designers. Some file systems are general purpose, in that they can provide reasonable performance and functionality for a wide variety of file sizes, file types, and I/O loads. Others are optimized for specific tasks in an attempt to provide better performance in those areas than general-purpose file systems. The WAFL file system from Network Appliance is an example of this sort of optimization. WAFL, the ivrite-nin/wherc file layout, is a powerful, elegant file system optimized for random writes. view more..

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