Due: Thursday 09/13 11:59 pmThis assignment is setup to prepare you for the later Pintos projects. It will walk you through what happens after a PC is powered on till when an operating system is up and running, which you may have wondered about it before. You will setup the development environment, learn the Pintos workflow, and run/debug it in QEMU and Bochs. You will then do a simple programming exercise to add a tiny kernel monitor to Pintos. For this project only, the coding comprises 30% of the score and the documentation 70% of the score. Note that this assignment is simpler than the reset of the projects as it is intentionally designed to help you warm up. Part of this project's description and exercise is borrowed from the MIT 6.828 and Caltech CS 124 course.
The process of loading the operating system into memory for running after a PC is powered on is commonly known as bootstrapping. The operating system will then be loading other software such as the shell for running. Two helpers are responsible for paving the way for bootstrapping: BIOS (Basic Input/Output System) and bootloader. The PC hardware is designed to make sure BIOS always gets control of the machine first after the computer is powered on. The BIOS will be performing some test and initialization, e.g., checking memory available and activating video card. After this initialization, the BIOS will try to find a bootable device from some appropriate location such as a floppy disk, hard disk, CD-ROM, or the network. Then the BIOS will pass control of the machine to the bootloader who will load the operating system.
While BIOS and the bootloader have a large task, they have very few resources
to do it with. For example, IA32 bootloaders generally have to fit within 512 bytes
in memory for a partition or floppy disk bootloader (i.e., only the first disk
sector, and the last 2 bytes are fixed signatures for recognizing it is
a bootloader). For a bootloader in the Master Boot Record (MBR), it has to fit
in an even smaller 436 bytes. In addition, since BIOS and bootloader are running
on bare-metals, there are no standard library call like
printf or system
read available. Its main leverage is the limited BIOS interrupt
services. Many functionalities need to be implemented from scratch. For example,
reading content from disk is easy inside OSes with system calls, but in bootloader,
it has to deal with disk directly with complex hardware programming routines. As
a result, the bootloaders are generally written in assembly language, because
even C code would include too much bloat!
To further understand this challenge, it is useful to look at the PC's physical address space, which is hard-wired to have the following general layout:
+------------------+ <- 0xFFFFFFFF (4GB) | 32-bit | | memory mapped | | devices | | | /\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\ /\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\ | | | Unused | | | +------------------+ <- depends on amount of RAM | | | | | Extended Memory | | | | | +------------------+ <- 0x00100000 (1MB) | BIOS ROM | +------------------+ <- 0x000F0000 (960KB) | 16-bit devices, | | expansion ROMs | +------------------+ <- 0x000C0000 (768KB) | VGA Display | +------------------+ <- 0x000A0000 (640KB) | | | Low Memory | | | +------------------+ <- 0x00000000
The first PCs, which were based on the 16-bit Intel 8088 processor, were only capable of addressing 1MB of physical memory. The physical address space of an early PC would therefore start at 0x00000000 but end at 0x000FFFFF instead of 0xFFFFFFFF. The 640KB area marked "Low Memory" was the only random-access memory (RAM) that an early PC could use; in fact the very earliest PCs only could be configured with 16KB, 32KB, or 64KB of RAM!
The 384KB area from 0x000A0000 through 0x000FFFFF was reserved by the hardware for special uses such as video display buffers and firmware held in non-volatile memory. The most important part of this reserved area is the BIOS, which occupies the 64KB region from 0x000F0000 through 0x000FFFFF. In early PCs the BIOS was held in true read-only memory (ROM), but current PCs store the BIOS in updateable flash memory.
When Intel finally "broke the one megabyte barrier" with the 80286 and 80386 processors, which supported 16MB and 4GB physical address spaces respectively, the PC architects nevertheless preserved the original layout for the low 1MB of physical address space in order to ensure backward compatibility with existing software. Modern PCs therefore have a "hole" in physical memory from 0x000A0000 to 0x00100000, dividing RAM into "low" or "conventional memory" (the first 640KB) and "extended memory" (everything else). In addition, some space at the very top of the PC's 32-bit physical address space, above all physical RAM, is now commonly reserved by the BIOS for use by 32-bit PCI devices.
Floppy and hard disks for PCs are divided into 512 byte regions called sectors.
A sector is the disk's minimum transfer granularity: each read or write operation
must be one or more sectors in size and aligned on a sector boundary. If the disk
is bootable, the first sector is called the boot sector, since this is where the
boot loader code resides. When the BIOS finds a bootable floppy or hard disk, it
loads the 512-byte boot sector into memory at physical addresses 0x7c00 through
0x7dff, and then uses a
jmp instruction to set the CS:IP to 0000:7c00,
passing control to the boot loader.
IA32 bootloaders have the unenviable position of running in real-addressing mode (also known as "real mode"), where the segment registers are used to compute the addresses of memory accesses according to the following formula: address = 16 * segment + offset. The code segment CS is used for instruction execution. For example, when the BIOS jump to 0x0000:7c00, the corresponding physical address is 16 * 0 + 7c00 = 7c00. Other segment registers include SS for the stack segment, DS for the data segment, and ES for moving data around as well. Note that each segment is 64KiB in size; since bootloaders often have to load kernels that are larger than 64KiB, they must utilize the segment registers carefully.
Pintos bootloading is a pretty simple process compared to how modern OS kernels are loaded. The kernel is a maximum of 512KiB (or 1024 sectors), and must be loaded into memory starting at the address 0x20000. Pintos does require a specific kind of partition for the OS, so the Pintos bootloader must look for a disk partition of the appropriate type. This means that the Pintos bootloader must understand how to utilize Master Boot Records (MBRs). Fortunately they aren't very complicated to understand. Pintos also only supports booting off of a hard disk; therefore, the Pintos bootloader doesn't need to check floppy drives or handle disks without an MBR in the first sector.
When the loader finds a bootable kernel partition, it reads the partition's contents into memory at physical address 128 kB. The kernel is at the beginning of the partition, which might be larger than necessary due to partition boundary alignment conventions, so the loader reads no more than 512 kB (and the Pintos build process will refuse to produce kernels larger than that). Reading more data than this would cross into the region from 640 kB to 1 MB that the PC architecture reserves for hardware and the BIOS, and a standard PC BIOS does not provide any means to load the kernel above 1 MB.
The loader's final job is to extract the entry point from the loaded kernel image and transfer control to it. The entry point is not at a predictable location, but the kernel's ELF header contains a pointer to it. The loader extracts the pointer and jumps to the location it points to.
The Pintos kernel command line is stored in the boot loader (using about 128 bytes).
pintos program actually modifies a copy of the boot loader on disk each time it runs the kernel,
inserting whatever command-line arguments the user supplies to the kernel,
and then the kernel at boot time reads those arguments out of the boot
loader in memory. This is not an elegant solution, but it is simple
The bootloader's last action is to transfer control to the kernel's entry
point, which is
threads/start.S. The job of
this code is to switch the CPU from legacy 16-bit "real mode" into
the 32-bit "protected mode" used by all modern 80x86 operating
The kernel startup code's first task is actually to obtain the machine's memory size, by asking the BIOS for the PC's memory size. The simplest BIOS function to do this can only detect up to 64 MB of RAM, so that's the practical limit that Pintos can support.
In additional, the kernel startup code needs to to enable the A20 line, that is, the CPU's address line numbered 20. For historical reasons, PCs boot with this address line fixed at 0, which means that attempts to access memory beyond the first 1 MB (2 raised to the 20th power) will fail. Pintos wants to access more memory than this, so we have to enable it.
Next, the kernel will do a basic page table setup and turn on protected mode and paging (details omitted for now). The final step is to call into the C code of the Pintos kernel, which from here on will be the main content we will deal with.
Before you turn in your project, you must copy the project 0 design document template into your source tree under the
pintos/src/p0/DESIGNDOC and fill it in.
$ cd pintos/src/threads $ make qemu
If everything works, you should see Pintos booting in the QEMU emulator,
Boot complete. near the end. In addition to the shell where
you execute the command, a new graphic window of QEMU will also pop up printing
the same messages. If you are remotely connecting to a machine, e.g., the
lab machines of the CS department, you probably will encounter this error:
Unable to init server: Could not connect: Connection refused gtk initialization failed
sshmay be useful, check
Note that to quit the Pintos interface, for the QEMU window, you can just close
it; for the terminal, you need to press
Ctrl-a x to exit (if you are
running inside GNU screen or Tmux and its prefix key is Ctrl-a,
Ctrl-a twice and
x to exit). We also provide a Makefile
target to allow you to run Pintos just in the terminal:
$ cd pintos/src/threads $ make $ cd build $ pintos --bochs -- run alarm-zero
While you are working on the projects, you will frequently use the GNU Debugger (GDB) to help you find bugs in your code. Make sure you read the E.5 GDB section first. In addition, if you are unfamiliar with x86 assembly, the PCASM is an excellent book to start. Note that you don't need to read the entire book, just the basic ones are enough.
In the second task, you will be tracing the Pintos bootloader. Set a breakpoint
at address 0x7c00, which is where the boot sector will be loaded. Continue
execution until that breakpoint. Trace through the code in
using the source code and the disassembly file
to keep track of where you are. Also use the
x/i command in GDB to disassemble
sequences of instructions in the boot loader, and compare the original boot loader
source code with both the disassembly in
After the Pintos kernel take control, the initial setup is done in assembly
threads/start.S. Later on, the kernel will finally kick into
the C world by calling the
pintos_init() function in
Set a breakpoint at
pintos_init() and then continue tracing a bit into the
C initialization code. Then read the source code of
For this task, you don't need to submit anything.
At last, you will get to make a small enhancement to Pintos and write some code!
In particular, when Pintos finishes booting, it will check for the supplied
command line arguments stored in the kernel image. Typically you will pass
some tests for the kernel to run, e.g.,
pintos -- run alarm-zero.
If there is no command line argument passed, the kernel will simply finish up.
This is a little boring. You task is to add a tiny kernel shell to Pintos
so that when no command line argument is passed, it will run this shell interactively.
Note that this is a kernel-level shell. In later projects, you will be enhancing
the user program and file system parts of Pintos, at which point you will get to
run the regular shell.
The code place for you to add this feature is in line 136 of
// TODO: no command line passed to kernel.
Run interactively. You only need to make this monitor very simple. It starts with
a prompt CS318> and waits for user input. When a newline is entered, it
parses the input and checks if it is whoami. If it is whoami, print
your name. Afterwards, the monitor will print the command prompt CS318>
again in the next line and repeat. If the user input is exit, the monitor
will quit to allow the kernel to finish. For the other input, print
threads/init.cto implement a tiny kernel monitor in Pintos. Feel free to add new source files in to the Pintos code base for this task, e.g., provide a
readlinelibrary function. Refer to Adding Source Files for how to do so.
git commitcommand). Then archive the entire repository with
git archive --prefix=lab0/ --format=tar HEAD | gzip > lab0-handin.tar.gz. Double check the archive file contains the content you want to submit and then submit
lab0-handin.tar.gzthrough Blackboard before the deadline. For later projects, we will collect group submissions through GitHub classroom.