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LOCAL: Rochester, NY, USA, Inferno Internals OS Seminar

        Computer Science House at Rochester Institute of Technology
                   Presents an Operating Systems Seminar
                  Wednesday evening (February 5) at 8:00PM

                                   Week 8:

                           -- Lucent's Inferno --

                      Host: David Bort, (Student, RIT)

           Attendance is free of charge and is open to the public
                        Refreshments will be served.

    In May of 1996, Lucent Technologies (previously AT&T Bell Labs)
revealed their newest operating system, Inferno.  Four months later,
Lucent released a free emulation of the system, and since then many
developers have been scrambling to involve themselves with this latest
Bell Labs innovation.

    Inferno is an embedded operating system; it is targeted to be
used on anything from cable boxes to telephones to desktop
workstations.  Because of this wide range of application, the Inferno
system was designed to be portable enough to rapidly adapt to new
architectures, and small enough to work in more unusual environments.

    Inferno incorporates several ideas pioneered in Plan 9 (the man
pages have been copied verbatim), especially the concepts of resources
as files and transparent network integration.  As in Plan 9, file
system namespaces are an integral part of user interaction with the
system.  File systems, including those representing system resources,
may be mounted across machines.  Inferno uses a protocol called Styx to
communicate with the file system in a manner very similar to Plan 9's 9p
protocol, although Styx has a reduced number of message types.  Unlike
a Plan 9 network, any machine may be a client or a server.

    The Inferno system includes the Limbo programming language.  It has
a C-like syntax (after all, C came out of Bell Labs, too) and compiles to
a byte code which is interpreted by Inferno's Dis virtual machine.
All user processes (or 'threads' as they are called in Inferno) run
on the Dis vm; this hardware-independence makes porting software trivial
and adds to the portability of the system as a whole.

    The seminar will cover the various parts of the Inferno system;
the application layer, the Limbo programming language, the Dis virtual
machine, the Styx networking protocol, and the Inferno kernel, as well
as applications of the system as a whole.  Since Inferno is a newly
emerging operating system, possible directions for the system will
also be discussed, as well as what it will have to do gain acceptance
in its target areas.

        Rochester Institute of Technology, Henrietta Campus.
        Located in the Distance Learning Classroom in the basement
        of the Library, room A-400.  For personalized directions,
        send email to the contact below.

Contact:   The email contact for more information, directions,
           comments or if you would like to be a guest speaker
           is tad@csh.rit.edu.

URL:       The URL with a schedule of seminars is:

                   URL: http://www.csh.rit.edu/os-seminars

           It may be worth checking the schedule out as some of the
           later seminars have changed.  For example, we have Jeff Rice
           from Sun Microsystems doing a seminar on Sun's new Java based
           Network Computers, and some of the other seminars have been
           rearranged in time.