Example: The Intel Pentium

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.

 Rather, we present the major ideas on which it is based. We conclude our discussion with an overview of Linux address translation on Pentium systems. In Pentium systems, the CPU generates logical addresses, which are given to the segmentation unit. The segmentation unit produces a linear address for each logical address. The linear address is then given to the paging unit, which in turn generates the physical address in main memory. Thus, the segmentation and paging units form the equivalent of the memory-management unit (ViMU). This scheme is shown in Figure 8.21

Pentium Segmentation

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The Pentium architecture allows a segment to be as large as 4 GB, and the maximum number of segments per process is 16 KB. The logical-address space in which s designates the segment number, g indicates whether the segment is in the GDT or LDT, and p deals with protection. The offset is a 32-bit number specifying the location of the byte (or word) within the segment in question.

 Example: The Intel Pentium

The machine has six segment registers, allowing six segments to be addressed at any one time by a process. It also has six 8-byte microprogram registers to hold the corresponding descriptors from either the LDT or GDT. This cache lets the Pentium avoid having to read the descriptor from memory for every memory reference. The linear address on the Pentium is 32 bits long and is formed as follows. The segment register points to the appropriate entry in the LDT or GDT. The base and limit information about the segment in question is used to generate a linear address.

First, the limit is used to check for address validity. If the address is not valid, a memory fault is generated, resulting in a trap to the operating system. If it is valid, then the value of the offset is added to the value of the base, resulting in a 32-bit linear address. This is shown in Figure 8.22. In the following section, we discuss how the paging unit turns this linear address into a physical address.

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Pentium Paging

The Pentium architecture allows a page size of either 4 KB or 4 MB. For 4-KB pages, the Pentium uses a two-level paging scheme in which the division of the 32-bit linear address is as follows:

 Example: The Intel Pentium

 Example: The Intel Pentium

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detail in Figure 8.23. The ten high-order bits reference an entry in the outermost page table, which the Pentium terms the page directory. (The CR3 register points to the page directory for the current process.) The page directory entry points to an inner page table that is indexed by the contents of the innermost ten bits in the linear address.

Finally, the low-order bits 0-11 refer to the offset in the 4-KB page pointed to in the page table. One entry in the page directory is the Page Size flag, which—if set— indicates that the size of the page frame is 4 MB and not the standard 4 KB. If this flag is set, the page directory points directly to the 4-MB page frame, bypassing the inner page table; and the 22 low-order bits in the linear address refer to the offset in the 4-MB page frame.

 To improve the efficiency of physical memory use, Intel Pentium page tables can be swapped to disk. In this case, an invalid bit is used in the page directory entry to indicate whether the table to which the entry is pointing is in memory or on disk. If the table is on disk, the operating system can use the other 31 bits to specify the disk location of the table; the table then can be brought into memory on demand.

Linux on Pentium Systems

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 As an illustration, consider the Linux operating system running on the Intel Pentium architecture. Because Linux is designed to run on a variety of processors—many of which may provide only limited support for segmentation— Linux does not rely on segmentation and uses it minimally- On the Pentium, Linux uses only six segments:

 1. A segment for kernel code

2. A segment for kernel data

3. A segment for user code

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4. A segment for user data

5. A task-state segment (TSS)

6. A default LDT segment

 Example: The Intel Pentium

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The segments for user code and user data are shared by all processes running in user mode. This is possible because all processes use the same logical address space and all segment descriptors are stored in the global descriptor table (GDT). Furthermore, each process has its own task-state segment (TSS), and the descriptor for this segment is stored in the GDT. The TSS is used to store the hardware context of each process during context switches. The default LDT segment is normally shared by all processes and is usually not used. However, if a process requires its own LDT, it can create one and use that instead of the default LDT.

As noted, each segment selector includes a 2-bit field for protection. Thus, the Pentium allows four levels of protection. Of these four levels, Linux only recognizes two: user mode and kernel mode. Although the Pentium uses a two-level paging model, Linux is designed to run on a variety of hardware platforms, many of which are 64-bit platforms where two-level paging is not plausible. Therefore, Linux has adopted a threelevel paging strategy that works well for both 32-bit and 64-bit architectures. The linear address in Linux is broken into the following four parts:

 Example: The Intel Pentium

Each task in Linux has its own set of page tables and —just as in Figure 8.23 — the CR3 register points to the global directory for the task currently executing. During a context switch, the value of the CR3 register is saved and restored in the TSS segments of the tasks involved in the context switch.

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 Example: The Intel Pentium

Frequently Asked Questions

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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: Structure of the Page Table In this section, we explore some of the most common techniques for structuring the page table. 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..
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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..
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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..
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