Development of a virtual file system featuring uniform, universal peripheral treatment



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The utilization of a digital computer requires the utilization of a number of peripheral devices. Large scale digital systems have minimized the need for user cognizance of the many complicated details of such peripheral utilization by-employing file systems and virtual memories to provide automatic management of mass storage devices and main memory. However, no adequate means for uniform utilization of other peripherals has been made. After a brief examination of several current file systems and virtual memory fundamentals, this thesis presents a proposal for an extended system called the Virtual File System. This system aids the programmer in the use of those peripherals excluded by current file systems and virtual memories by providing both automatic and manual storage management facilities. Examples of its use and language extensions used in the examples are given. An experimental investigation of the effectiveness of the Virtual File System shows definite advantages, primarily in reductions of central processor time, main memory requirements, and core-time impact for programs. Further analysis shows how programs designed to operate in an environment with a Virtual File System promote more effective use of operating system facilities.