FreeBSD Kernel Internals Documentation

David Jackson djackson452 at
Fri Dec 30 15:22:33 UTC 2011

On Fri, Dec 30, 2011 at 1:04 AM, Robert Bonomi <bonomi at>wrote:

> > From owner-freebsd-questions at  Thu Dec 29 21:46:36 2011
> > Date: Thu, 29 Dec 2011 22:43:16 -0500
> > From: David Jackson <djackson452 at>
> > To: freebsd-questions at
> > Subject: FreeBSD Kernel Internals Documentation
> >
> > I have had an interest in studying the FreeBSD kernel and getting to know
> > its internals better. After all, in Open source projects, they say,
> > community contributions are important.
> >
> > However, My finding is that due to poor documentation, the FreeBSD kernel
> > is nearly impenetrable to an outsider. I have been able to find no
> > comprehensive documentation of kernel internals. I have found it nearly
> > impossible, due to lack of comprehensive documentation, much of any of
> the
> > kernel internals. What I see is an internal cliche of developers who are
> > aware of its myraid of undocumented esoteric secrets, and very little to
> > actually help anyone else to understand it.
> You're talking abaout _volumes_ of  documentation, literally many books
> worth.
> Start with "The Design and Implementation of the BSD 4.4.4 Operating
> System"
> by McKusick, eal.
> Then read "The design and Implementation of the FreeBSD Operating System",
> by McKusick and Neville-Neal.`
> *You* are free to contribute 'better documentation' as you review any
> particular file.   Since you feel it is important, you are strongly
> encouraged to "do something" to actually 'make it better', as opposed
> to merely sitting on the sidelines and sniping at the work of others.
> Well, okay, yes, I have heard of these books. Of course, if I am getting
involved in studying and figuring out the FreeBSD kernel, I would
contribute documentation, both for my own future use and for the benefit of
others. Of course, those best able to document are those who wrote it in
the first place, since they already know how it works.

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