Timothy Roscoe gives a talk at WMware


Timothy Roscoe gave a talk entitled "An overview of the Barrelfish research operating system" at WMware


Some years ago, a group of people at ETH Zurich and Microsoft Research decided to write a new operating system from scratch, both as a research project in itself, and to act as a vehicle for systems research unencumbered by the built-in assumptions of existing OSes like Windows, Linux, Xen, etc. I'll review some of the hardware and software trends that motivated our decision to do this, and then describe the many of the key architectural features of the new OS, which we named Barrelfish. This talk will present a survey of past, present, and future work at ETH in, or using, Barrelfish. Barrelfish is a "multikernel": the OS is structured as a distributed system where cores share no state, and instead communicate using messages (even on a cache-coherent multiprocessor). It also manages memory entirely using a capabilities, a decision which was motivated by reasons that turned out to be entirely misguided, but which has recently allowed us to implement a novel approach to dynamic and reconfigurable processors, and in our current work, begin to understand the challenge of large, multiple, intersecting physical address spaces on modern machines.