Operating Systems Concepts is a great undergraduate-level resource for its subject, focusing, as its name advertises, on the concepts behind building an operating system. Outside of the exercises, the text spends relatively little time on code examples or gritty details, relegating that to suggested reading or simply saying “Go look at an open-source operating system!”.
This emphasis on concepts makes a great deal of sense given the variance in how to accomplish goals and the sheer amount of groundwork which the book needs to cover. The book is already over 900 pages!
This book is a great read for any long-time user of operating systems who wants to understand the amazing piece of software that orchestrates their entire computing experience, as well as being great review for practitioners who want a refresher. Five stars.
This will be short not because the book isn’t good, but because I’ve got too many irons in the fire.
Computer Organization and Design by Patterson | Hennessy is the gentle introduction to hardware. The math is simple and easy to understand, the book layout is excellent, and the content is outstanding. If you want an understanding of how computers work on the most fundamental level, this is your book.
In addition to the main book, be sure to read Online Appendix C: Graphics Cards. Most software engineers already have an intuitive idea of programming on a traditional CPU, but this approachable yet thorough appendix teaches graphics card architecture and the CUDA multithreading model. I can’t recommend it enough.
In Late December Steam sold the whole Fallout collection for $5. As anyone who knows me could guess, I bought it, fully intending to jump on the nostalgia train and ride it all the way to a procrastination-fueled existential crisis.
Although I’m by no means a technology buff (says Greg as he collects a steady paycheck as a Microsoft SDET), I’ve done technology columns in the past. At previous jobs, I’ve been referred to as a Luddite for my reluctance to embrace the newest hot sexy piece the kids are carrying around (bought my first SmartPhone in December, but I’m sure they’ll find something else to make fun of now.) I tend to ask more whether the gains in utility justifies the device’s learning curve, a response which invariably gets parried by, “Who cares? THIS SHIT IS AWESOME!”
But I care. One more device to track, find a charger for, and pay the fees on. Hooray? My way works fine, and doesn’t require me to sign a license saying “they” are allowed to shiv my ass for precious Greg-gold. As mother used to say, “An unshivved ass is a happy ass.”
And so I miss out on awesome new developments like Google Drives (and more importantly for me, Google Docs.)