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Two big problems with operating systems written in unsafe languages are that they crash too often and that adding features becomes much more difficult over time. One cause of both of these problems is the lack of enforceable memory protection between module boundaries. Clear module boundaries make dependencies explicit, resulting in more reliable and maintainable code. Mondriaan Memory Protection (MMP) is a hardware/software design for fine-grained memory protection that can enforce module boundaries for systems written in unsafe languages. We present the design of an MMP-based modular operating system kernel and show how MMP can be used to provide module isolation while maintaining performance.

Emmett Witchel 2003-06-12