An Overview of Xinu

Xinu is a small, elegant, multitasking Operating System supporting the following features:

Xinu was originally designed as a vehicle for teaching Operating System design concepts and is used by many educational institutions for this purpose. Later versions supported TCP/IP, these versions are often used in Data Communications courses.

Xinu is also well-suited as an environment for teaching advanced programming concepts such as Concurrent Processing, I/O, IPC and Client-Server Interaction. All processes in most Xinu versions (except Version 8) run in the same address space and could therefore be likened to threads in WIN32. In fact, any function in Xinu can be run in its own process, and the mechanism for creating such processes or threads is very similar to the WIN32 mechanism. Of course, major advantages of Xinu are its (relative) simplicity, and that the source code can be modified as needed.

Several manufacturers of embedded systems have ported Xinu to run on their hardware and known ports include Intel 80960, Intel 8096 and Motorola 680x0.

The most recent version of Xinu (from Purdue University) is Xinu 8 for the Sparc platform. This version supports Virtual Memory, with paging over a high-speed network.

The most recent PC version (from the University of Canberra) is Xinu 386 , which runs in protected mode and supports Linear Mode SVGA Graphics.

Version 7.9

Download Xinu


The PC Xinu FAQ and Readme file will help you get PC Xinu 7.9 or Xinu386 up and running.


If you discover any bugs in any version of Xinu or P32, please email them to me for inclusion in the buglist.

Xinu Man Pages

Xinu Reference Books

The following books are published by Prentice-Hall:

  1. Comer, Douglas: Operating System Design (LSI-11 Version) 1984 ISBN 0-13637539-1
  2. Comer, Douglas and Fossum, Timothy: Operating System Design (PC Edition) 1988 ISBN 0-13-638180-4
  3. Comer, Douglas: Operating System Design Vol. II (LSI-11 Version) 1987 ISBN 0-13-637414-X
  4. Comer, Douglas and Munson, Steven: Operating System Design (MAC Version) 1989 ISBN 0-13-638529-X
  5. Comer, Douglas and Stevens, David L.: Internetworking with TCP/IP Vol. II (2nd Edition) 1994 ISBN 0-13-125527-4