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Invitation To Join Me For MIT's Free Online Operating System Course!

Brian Kernighan holding Lions Commentary at Dennis Ritchie's tribute in 2012

Did you ever have something you wanted to do for a long time but never actually started? Maybe something that seemed too big or too difficult?

For a long time I’ve wanted to take MIT’s Operating System course. But I never actually got started. . . .

Flashback To 2004 And A Famous Operating System Book

USENIX has served for many years as an organizer of important computer technical conferences.

Way back in 2004 I happened to stop by during that year’s USENIX’04.

It’s costly to register for USENIX, so I visited only the portions which were free. The free portions included an exhibit hall, a bookstore, and informal evening “Birds-of-a-Feather” sessions called “BOFs.”

I have a distinct memory of the bookstore at the 2004 USENIX. I remember seeing for sale a copy of John Lions’ Commentary on the UNIX 6th Edition kernel. The copy on sale had been autographed by John Lions himself.

The signed copy was priced at $100.00. I didn’t buy it. But just seeing the $100.00 signed copy of the Lions book for sale at USENIX illustrates how famous the Lions book is.

Since 2006 MIT’s Operating System Course Has Been Based On Lions and Xv6

According to MIT’s 6.S081: Operating System Engineering page, in 2006, MIT began teaching operating systems using an updated version of Lions’ Commentary and using Xv6, MIT’s instructional operating system based on UNIX V6.

These days, many additional colleges and universities all around the world also use Lions and Xv6 to teach operating systems.

Most, or maybe all, of the resources for MIT’s 6.S081: Operating System Engineering course are available free online.


I’ve wanted to read the Lions book and take the MIT class for quite awhile! Maybe the right moment finally has arrived!?

Would it be completely crazy to imagine that one or more of you guys might want to join me? No charge! Just a tour together through the Lions book and Xv6 via MIT’s free online resources.

If you’re interested, please comment here or send me a PM on Low End Talk.

Thanks! :)

P.S. Just to be clear, that’s Brian Kernighan holding the Lions book in the photo above. I’m not Brian. Also, I’m not part of MIT. Taking MIT’s free online class as proposed here is something you could do by yourself. All that’s needed is an internet connection and . . . effort! But, having a few friends taking the class together might make taking the class more productive!

1 Comment

  1. Dee Wu:

    I’m also very interested in the MIT operating system course, maybe we can do the work together!

    June 10, 2023 @ 3:23 am | Reply

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