Report Number: CS-TR-83-945
Institution: Stanford University, Department of Computer Science
Title: Perseus: retrospective on a portable operating system
Author: Z waenepoel, Willy
Author: Lantz, Keith A.
Date: February 1983
Abstract: We describe the operating system Perseus, developed as part of a study into the issues of computer communications and their impact on operating system and programming language design. Perseus was designed to be portable by virtue of its kernel-based structure and its implementation in Pascal. In particular, machine-dependent code is limited to the kernel and most operating systems functions are provided by server processes, running in user mode. Perseus was designed to evolve into a distributed operating system by virtue of its interprocess communication facilities, based on message-passing. This paper presents an overview of the system and gives an assessment of how far it satisfied its original goals. Specifically, we evaluate its interprocess communication facilities and kernel-based structure, followed by a discussion of portability. We close with a brief history of the project, pointing out major milestones and stumbling blocks along the way.