Chapter 13 GNU/Linux from Eight Miles High

Why should a book about computer architecture devote several chapters to a particular operating system?

Well, this is what a CPU is for. A CPU “architecture” is the description of what a useful CPU does, and a useful CPU runs programs under the control of an operating system. Although many operating systems run on MIPS, the great thing about Linux is that it’s public. Anyone can download the source code, so anyone can see how it works.

Any operating system is just a bunch of programs. Ingenious programs, and—perhaps more than most software—built on a set of ideas that have been refined and figured out over the years. An operating system is supposed to be particularly reliable (doesn’t crash) and secure ...

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