CPS 510 Operating Systems
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Policies for the Labs

We have a lab (assignment) for each week. The lab opens on AG before the start of the week. Go there to see the labs and dates and to register for each lab. Once you register for the lab, you receive a github repo with seed code. Most lab directions are in a README in the repo. Some are linked on this web page. Additional notes are posted here and on Piazza.

About the autograder (AG)

The autograder (AG) is a server that checks and grades your work and maintains the group database. You will hate the AG at first, but eventually your hatred will give way to grudging appreciation. The good news is that you can submit as many times as you want: the score you earn is your highest score before deadline. Here are some things to know:

Using other people's code

We all know that there are various fragments of code available on the web that are relevant to the assignments. You are not prohibited from looking at material on the web. We believe that we have provided you with enough to start with that it will not benefit you to import source code from anywhere else. The point of the lab is to learn, and we want to make it easy for you to learn!

When you hand in the lab, we expect that your code is your own. If you incorporate source code from some external source, you must add a comment indicating the imported code and the source of that code. You must note all sources of imported code in your submitted README file. You should be able to explain any part of your code in detail, and why you chose to do it that way and not some other way. If you encounter code from some external source that diminishes your opportunity to learn by doing the lab, please inform us (we may not be aware of it).

Academic dishonesty. Be sure that you are familiar with the policy on collaboration and other policies. In particular, sharing of code among groups is not allowable. Do not obtain code from previous semesters. Take care to acknowledge any sources of code or assistance in your README.


About C. The first labs ask you to program in the C programming language. We will discuss some aspects of C in lectures and recitations, and we will provide relevant examples, but we do not teach C. If C is unfamiliar to you, you will need to read up from some other sources, or spend more time with the sample programs. You should take the time to look through some of the supporting materials on the resources page. We find that the students who struggle most have not taken the time to read up, and as a result they have found themselves spending more time debugging.

About Unix. To do the labs you will need a suitable Unix development environment. If you are a CompSci or Engineering major then you have access to Unix systems in those departments (e.g., login.cs.duke.edu). We can create term accounts to get access to Unix systems in the CompSci department if you need it. Duke also runs a virtual machine service VCM that can give you a private Unix system for your use (select Ubuntu 18.04). You are welcome to use your own machine if it provides a suitable Unix development environment. Docker Desktop is a good way to get an Ubuntu Unix environment on MacOS or on Windows: see these instructions.

Once you have a command-line shell on a suitable system. You can compile C code with the gcc compiler, and/or build programs with the make utility. You can use the man command to learn about any C builtin library API and/or system call API or command. E.g., try man malloc or man strcpy.