Department of Computer Science and Technology

Technical reports

The L4 microkernel on Alpha
Design and implementation

Sebastian Schoenberg

September 1996, 51 pages

DOI: 10.48456/tr-407


The purpose of a microkernel is to cover the lowest level of the hardware and to provide a more general platform to operating systems and applications than the hardware itself. This has made microkernel development increasingly interesting. Different types of microkernels have been developed, ranging from kernels which merely deal with the hardware infterface (Windows NT HAL), kernels especially for embedded systems (RTEMS), to kernels for multimedia streams and real time support (Nemesis) and general purpose kernels (L4, Mach).

The common opinion that microkernels lead to deterioration in system performance has been disproved by recent research. L4 is an example of a fast and small, multi address space, message-based microkernel, developed originally for Intel systems only. Based on the L4 interface, which should be as similar as possible on different platforms, the L4 Alpha version has been developed.

This work describes design decisions, implementation and interfaces of the L4 version for 64-bit Alpha processors.

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BibTeX record

  author =	 {Schoenberg, Sebastian},
  title = 	 {{The L4 microkernel on Alpha : Design and implementation}},
  year = 	 1996,
  month = 	 sep,
  url = 	 {},
  institution =  {University of Cambridge, Computer Laboratory},
  doi = 	 {10.48456/tr-407},
  number = 	 {UCAM-CL-TR-407}