Student Extended Xinu

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Having students integrate advanced operating systems features and develop applications for a their own or a provided Xinu operating system is one of the potential tracks presented for a professor that is Teaching With Xinu.

Students will learn to extend an operating system by adding kernel level and user level applications. Given a functional Embedded Xinu operating system the students will have to understand and manipulate existing operating system code to create additional operating system features. To add more applications to the operating system students will have to understand the interactions between the program in design and the operating system's device and kernel interaction calls. Programming for embedded devices allows students to engage in development on small resource constrained environments. Through extending the existing Embedded Xinu operating system a student learns to use and understand code not written by the student and develops advanced operating system concepts.

Course Outcomes

Course development can parallel learning objectives and topics associated with many Communication and Networking courses. [1]


  • Overview of operating systems
  • Operating system principles
  • Concurrency
  • Scheduling and dispatch
  • Memory management
  • Device management
  • Security and protection
  • File systems
  • Evaluating system performance

Learning Objectives

  • Intimate knowledge of embedded devices.
  • Overview of the general and specific purpose of an operating system.
  • Understanding concurrency and state flow diagrams.
  • Understanding deadlock and starvation.
  • Understanding the use of memory and virtual memory.
  • Characteristics of serial and parallel devices.

Potential Course Structure

A course where having students integrate advanced operating systems features and develop applications for a their own or a provided Xinu operating system can be outlined to one similar to the one below. The example course layout has the listed applied assignments as well as several written assignments of problems developed with the textbook in mind or taken from the textbook.

Course Outline
Week Topics Assignments
01 C (basics) and OS Structures, Processes Extending Xinu #1
02 C (functions, control flow) and Processes
03 C (pointers, arrays, structs) and Threads Extending Xinu #2
04 CPU Scheduling Extending Xinu #3
05 CPU Scheduling
06 Process Synchronization Extending Xinu #4
07 Deadlocks Extending Xinu #5
08 Main Memory and Virtual Memory
09 File System Interface Extending Xinu #6
10 File System Implementation
11 Mass-Storage Structure Extending Xinu #7
12 I/O Systems Extending Xinu #8
13 Protection, Security and Distributed System Structures Extending Xinu #9
14 Distributed System Structures
15 Distributed File Systems Extending Xinu #10
  • There are no suggested books for this course outline.


[1] Course topics and learning objectives have been adapted from the ACM's Computing Curricula 2001 Computer Science.

This work funded in part by NSF grant DUE-CCLI-0737476.