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Early type-safe operating systems were hampered by poor performance. Contrary to these experiences we show that an operating system that is founded on an object-oriented, type-safe intermediate code can compete with MMU-based microkernels concerning performance while widening the realm of possibilities. Moving from hardware-based protection to software-based protection offers new options for operating system quality, flexibility, and versatility that are superior to traditional process models based on MMU protection. However, using a type-safe language-such as Java-alone, is not sufficient to achieve an improvement. While other Java operating systems adopted a traditional process concept, JX implements fine-grained protection boundaries. The JX System architecture consists of a set of Java components executing on the JX core that is responsible for system initialization, CPU context switching and low-level domain management. The Java code is organized in components which are loaded into domains, verified, and translated to native code. JX runs on commodity PC hardware, supports network communication, a frame grabber device, and contains an Ext2-compatible file system. Without extensive optimization this file system already reaches a throughput of 50% of Linux.
Date of Conference: 20-22 May 2001