Dave Probert: Compare and Contrast

Dave Probert I had the chance to meet Dave Probert at Microsoft Academic Days 2007 in Castle Birlinghoven, near Bonn, Germany. Besides Arkady Retik, who oversees the Microsoft Windows Academic Program, Dave was responsible for the preparation of the source files that comprise the Windows Research Kernel.

In a talk, Dave told me the main reason why Microsoft released the WRK: Compare and Contrast. That is, students must be provided with the possibility to compare different solutions to common OS problems, like scheduling or memory management. In his oppinion, the majority of students are tought with UNIX or Linux at academic OS courses. So they are not able to see the other side of the coin.

So let’s see, whether the WRK might accomplish its objective.

Using the ‘patch’ and ‘diff’ utilities

In some upcoming postings, we will describe simple demo modifications of the Windows Research Kernel. The examples will be downloadable from this site as kernel patches and small demo applications.

The required tools can be downloaded from the Win32 GNU tools sourceforge page. You need the DiffUtils and the Patch tool. Download and install the tools on your workstation.

The diff tool can be used to write the differences between two source trees (normally a modified and an unmodified version) into a single (text) file. With patch a created patch file can be applied to an unmodified source tree. In this way, kernel modifications can be distributed without having to provide the whole source code and without a common repository.

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Using Visual Studio with the Windows Research Kernel

To facilitate modifications of the Windows Research Kernel, we created a Visual Studio 2003 Solution

Just copy the files from the archive to your WRK-v1.2 directory, adapt the WRKPATH environment variable in setenv.bat and use the WindowsResearchKernel.sln solution file.

Build your own Windows kernel by pressing CTRL-SHIFT-B.

Update: Visual Studio 2005 Solution

WRK@HPI online

The Windows Research Kernel comprising the source code of the latest Windows version (Windows Server 2003 Enterprise Edition) was released in summer 2006.

This site collects useful stuff related to the windows source code.