Alan Hargreaves' Blog

The ramblings of a former Australian SaND TSC* Principal Field Technologist

Using Open Solaris in Teaching Computer Science

One of the things that we’ve been thinking about with the release of Open Solaris is that we would like to see more use within Universities, both from a teaching and user standpoint; specifically within Computer Science.

Going back to V6 Unix, John Lions’ book was all about how Unix did things and explaining the source. This kind of thing may be an interesting starting point.

I’d be very interested in hearing some comments on what folks think that we would need to do to encourage this kind of thing.

One of the things that I thought of would be to provide some focus on how we address various O/S type issues and challenges that were faced and had to be dealt with in the implementation (dtrace and the slab allocater spring to mind).

Maybe we could do more things like the Dtrace challenge that was run last year.

How do you think we should encourage folks to start playing with either Solaris or Open Solaris?

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Written by Alan

February 8, 2005 at 11:52 pm

5 Responses

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  1. For starts, the Solaris threading model must be a case study in every OS text book. The conception & implementation is easily the best among all OSes. Lots of such concepts come to mind.

    Bharath Ravikumar

    February 10, 2005 at 4:10 am

  2. (erm, is that the pre-Solaris 9 n:m threading model you mean?)

    Universities always love free stuff. To get Solaris users, University lab managers could be put on the x86 CDROM mailing list; or even sent free x86 machines, pre loaded with Solaris. This may create a few Solaris advocates at the University, which will come in handy if a future migration of an entire lab is proposed.
    To deliver Open Solaris in the classroom, what we need is another John Lions. A Comp Sci lecturer who has authored/edited courses before and who has a passion for Solaris or Unix. I think a formal approach to inserting Solaris material in a course could be very slow going.
    Industries like Sun need to become more involved with the planning of Comp Sci/Eng degrees.. I’d better stop here before I launch off in a pet direction about Universities, Undergrads and Unix!
    Anyway, it is good to hear someone at Sun is thinking about Universities.
    [Sydney, Australia]

    Brendan Gregg

    February 12, 2005 at 1:51 am

  3. Just my 2 cents, but I think it would be worthwile to start adding previous solaris releases to the source code repository once the dust settles. You can learn alot from history, even source code history.
    Sun doesn’t seem to get much thanks these days, so let me say “Thanks” for what you are doing with Solaris and what you’ve done with Java. Being able to see the Java sourcecode has been an invaluable learning experience. Don’t let the ungrateful naysayers get you down.

    Nicholas Wourms

    February 21, 2005 at 11:34 am

  4. A book like the “Design and Implementation of the 4.4 BSD Operating System” might be nice, only for Solaris instead. I think that would help a lot actually.


    February 22, 2005 at 1:43 pm

  5. There’s already the book “Solaris Internals”
    (ISBN 0-13-022496-0), but it stops at Solaris 7.
    A 2nd edition, with Open Solaris to refer to,
    might indeed be helpful.

    Richard Hamilton

    February 24, 2005 at 3:50 am

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