Operating System Source Code Secrets

[Only Volume 1 was ever published, but here’s what this ambitious series was envisioned to be! — Dan Doernberg, 2018]

In 1989 William Jolitz (the chief developer of one of the early releases of Berkeley UNIX) and his wife Lynne began the 386BSD project, writing their own version of UNIX from scratch to run on IBM PCs. An incredibly ambitious project (only Intel had done it before, as a major corporate project), it captured the imagination of the computing world; Dr. Dobb’s Journal did an unprecedented 17-part serialization of this work over a 2-year period.

The fruits of eight years of 386BSD work are now being captured in an exciting 5-book series Operating System Source Code
… approximately 2400 pages explaining how modern operating systems really work.

These books are written for a number of audiences:

  • Linux/FreeBSD users and hobbyists Linux, FreeBSD, and Minix are examples of successful group efforts, “building by committee.” 386BSD is a similar system that took the opposite approach; slow, careful building by a single master
    architect. Those interested in “other flavors” of UNIX will thoroughly enjoy both the source code and the description of the master plan, the implementation issues, divergences from other approaches, etc.
  • Computer scientists 386BSD was based on UNIX, but integrates ideas from Windows NT, Mach, Sun’s Solaris, OS/2.
  • Advanced students of operating systems— No books have ever gone into this much depth on any operating system
  • UNIX professionals and gurus for obvious reasons!

Individual books in the series are:


Volume 1: The Basic Kernel

Not Yet Published:

  • Volume 2: The Virtual Memory System
  • Volume 3: Sockets Operating System
  • Volume 4: TCP/IP Networking Protocol
  • Volume 5: 386BSD: From the Inside Out