Amoeba is a distributed operating system. It collects a
huge varity of single machines connected over a (fast) network to one, huge
computer. It was originally developed at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam
by Andrew Tanenbaum and many more. Amoeba was always designed to be used, so
it was deemed essential to achieve extremely high performance. Currently,
it's the fastest distributed operating system.
The original Amoeba sources are handled under a public license - similar the BSD license.
Amoeba builds upon a traditional micro kernel. It supports true multithreading (kernel controlled), segment based memory management. All Amoeba components communicate with eachother over a standardized RPC (Remote Procedure Call) interface - simple but very powerfull. No matter if a client or server thread is running in kernel or user mode - it uses the same RPC interface. Always. Everywhere. This leads to a very clean and simple OS design, very well suited for beginners.
Because Amoeba was designed from scratch with new concepts, never seen before, it suffered from a lack of application programs. Therefore a POSIX-compliant UNIX emulation was added. It makes porting UNIX programs much easier! Now, with additional changes, a huge varity of application programs from the UNIX-world work under Amoeba:
X11 with applications, various compilers (gcc, ocaml, tcl/tk), bash shell, editors and many, many more. Amoeba is ready to use! Of course not without (little) problems.
It's still in an sligthly experimental state, but ready to use. FSD-Amoeba is intended to use for dedicated programmers only, and not for end users!
After three years of hard work I'm proud to present a new, fully revised,
enhanced and bug-fixed Amoeba-5.3 successor distribution with many new
programs and features for the i386 architecture. Amoeba-5.3 was the
last official Amoeba release maintained by the Vrije Universiteit
(1996). My Fireball software distribution based on this old release.
I extend the UNIX emulation, ported many additional programs from the UNIX world, wrote new installation scipts and put all together in the FIREBALL software distribution FSD with the current version number 2002A. The FSD-Amoeba is made under the terms of the GNU License.
For my physical studies (Measurement of velocity gradients in high viscose liquids) I use Amoeba as a compact and powerfull lab measurement system with many reduced pc systems for only data recording together with high speed pentium PC's for data analysis connected through a standard 10 Mbps ethernet network. Putting all machines together to one large coupled system is very simple and flexible. Only less administration work must be done.
Currently you have the choice between three strategies to perform concurrent parallel programming in an easy way without large administration work:
You can find several real live performance testsshowing the capabilities of the FSD-Amoeba kernel and system.
The old Amoeba kernel was strongly enhanced and revised with a more clean,
and more powerfull (?) micro kernel design .
Some new features:
Now it's possible to run device drivers, network protocol stacks, filesystem servers,..., in user mode as generic user processes (with some more privileges). Local modules now communicate with the new enhanced IPC interface.
Most device drivers and many other parts (servers) currently inside the Amoeba should move outside the kernel in usual user processes with privileged rights. Similar concepts from Mach, VSTa, L3/4 and QNX influenced the new design to create an Operating System ready for the third millenium!
Implemented, shared segment support now available
The next step: a virtual machine supplying the Amoeba concepts like RPC. Either running natively under Amoeba, or under UNIX with the AMUNIX library together with the FLIP protocol module. The VM is derived and build from OCaML. The great advantage: Amoeba programs written in OCaML and compiled to bytecode can run independently from the underlying OS!
You can find more informations about the VAM system here.
Here you can find software contributed by the FSD-Amoeba user community.
The development of FSD-Amoeba was froozen in the year 2002.
You can find more informations about the author here.
FSD-Amoeba was developed and maintained only by BSSLAB
|Dr. Stefan Bosse|