Advancing Operating Systems via Aspect-Oriented Programming
Operating system kernels are among the most complex pieces of software in existence to- day. Maintaining the kernel code and developing new functionality is increasingly compli- cated, since the amount of required features has risen significantly, leading to side ef fects that can be introduce...
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|Summary:||Operating system kernels are among the most complex pieces of software in existence to-
day. Maintaining the kernel code and developing new functionality is increasingly compli-
cated, since the amount of required features has risen significantly, leading to side ef fects
that can be introduced inadvertedly by changing a piece of code that belongs to a completely
dif ferent context.
Software developers try to modularize their code base into separate functional units.
Some of the functionality or “concerns” required in a kernel, however, does not fit into
the given modularization structure; this code may then be spread over the code base and
its implementation tangled with code implementing dif ferent concerns. These so-called
“crosscutting concerns” are especially dif ficult to handle since a change in a crosscutting
concern implies that all relevant locations spread throughout the code base have to be
Aspect-Oriented Software Development (AOSD) is an approach to handle crosscutting
concerns by factoring them out into separate modules. The “advice” code contained in
these modules is woven into the original code base according to a pointcut description, a
set of interaction points (joinpoints) with the code base.
To be used in operating systems, AOSD requires tool support for the prevalent procedu-
ral programming style as well as support for weaving aspects. Many interactions in kernel
code are dynamic, so in order to implement non-static behavior and improve performance,
a dynamic weaver that deploys and undeploys aspects at system runtime is required.
This thesis presents an extension of the “C” programming language to support AOSD.
Based on this, two dynamic weaving toolkits – TOSKANA and TOSKANA-VM – are presented
to permit dynamic aspect weaving in the monolithic NetBSD kernel as well as in a virtual-
machine and microkernel-based Linux kernel running on top of L4. Based on TOSKANA,
applications for this dynamic aspect technology are discussed and evaluated.
The thesis closes with a view on an aspect-oriented kernel structure that maintains
coherency and handles crosscutting concerns using dynamic aspects while enhancing de-
velopment methods through the use of domain-specific programming languages.|