Kernel Mode Linux: Toward an Operating System Protected by a Type Theory

  • Toshiyuki Maeda
  • Akinori Yonezawa
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 2896)


Traditional operating systems protect themselves from user programs with a privilege level facility of CPUs. One problem of the protection-by-hardware approach is that system calls become very slow because heavy operations are required to safely switch the privilege levels of user programs. To solve the problem, we design an operating system that protects itself with a type theory. In our approach, user programs are written in a typed assembly language and the kernel performs type-checking before executing the programs. Then, the user programs can be executed in the kernel mode, because the kernel knows that the type-checked programs do not violate safety of the kernel. Thus, system calls become mere function calls and can be invoked very quickly. We implemented Kernel Mode Linux (KML) that realizes our approach. Several benchmarks show effectiveness of KML.


System Call Kernel Mode User Program Abstract Machine Page Fault 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Appel, A.W.: Foundational proof-carrying code. In: Proc. of 16th Annual IEEE Symposium on Logic in Computer Science, pp. 247–258 (June 2001)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Bershad, B.N., Chambers, C., Eggers, S.J., Maeda, C., McNamee, D., Pardyak, P., Savage, S., Sirer, E.G.: SPIN - an extensible microkernel for application-specific operating system services. In: Proc. of ACM SIGOPS European Workshop, September 1994, pp. 68–71 (1994)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Crary, K.: Toward a foundational typed assembly language. In: Proc. of Symposium on Principles of Programming Languages, January 2003, pp. 198–212 (2003)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Dubnicki, C., Bilas, A., Chen, Y., Damianakis, S., Li, K.: VMMC-2: efficient support for reliable, connection-oriented communication. In: Proc. of Hot Interconnects, August 1997, pp. 37–46 (1997)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Hamid, N., Shao, Z., Trifonov, V., Monnier, S., Ni, Z.: A syntactic approach to foundational proof-carrying code. Technical Report YALEU/DCS/TR-1224, Dept. of Computer Science, Yale University (2002)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Harbison, S.P.: Modula-3. Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs (1992)zbMATHGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Intel Corporation. IA-32 Intel Architecture Software Developer’s ManualGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    The Linux kernel,
  9. 9.
    McVoy, L.W., Staelin, C.: lmbench: Portable tools for performance analysis. In: Proc. of USENIX Annual Technical Conference, pp. 279–294 (1996)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Morrisett, G., Crary, K., Glew, N., Grossman, D., Samuels, R., Smith, F., Walker, D., Weirich, S., Zdancewic, S.: TALx86: A realistic typed assembly language. In: Proc. of ACM SIGPLAN Workshop on Compiler Support for System Software, pp. 25–35 (1999)Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Morrisett, G., Crary, K., Glew, N., Walker, D.: Stack-based typed assembly language. In: Proc. of Types in Compilation, pp. 28–52 (1998)Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Morrisett, G., Walker, D., Crary, K., Glew, N.: From System F to typed assembly language. ACM Transactions on Programming Languages and Systems 21(3), 527–568 (1999)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Norcott, W.D.: The IOzone file system benchmark,
  14. 14.
    Prylli, L., Tourancheau, B.: BIP: a new protocol designed for high performance networking on Myrinet (March 1998)Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Tezuka, H., Hori, A., Ishikawa, Y.: PM: a high-performance communication library for multi-user parallel environments. Technical Report TR-96015, Real World Computing Partnership (1996)Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Wahbe, R., Lucco, S., Anderson, T.E., Graham, S.L.: Efficient software-based fault isolation. ACM SIGOPS Operating Systems Review 27(5), 203–216 (1993)CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Toshiyuki Maeda
    • 1
  • Akinori Yonezawa
    • 1
  1. 1.University of TokyoBunkyo-ku, TokyoJapan

Personalised recommendations