Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Operating Systems: Three Easy Pieces” as Want to Read:
Operating Systems: Three Easy Pieces
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Operating Systems: Three Easy Pieces

4.69  ·  Rating details ·  334 ratings  ·  38 reviews
A book about modern operating systems. Topics are broken down into three major conceptual pieces: Virtualization, Concurrency, and Persistence. Includes all major components of modern systems including scheduling, virtual memory management, disk subsystems and I/O, file systems, and even a short introduction to distributed systems.
Paperback, 686 pages
Published August 18th 2012 by Arpaci-Dusseau Books
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Operating Systems, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Yury I went ahead and ordered the hardcover edition. I am disappointed by the quality of the print. Text is to gray and too small. Line spacing is too smal…moreI went ahead and ordered the hardcover edition. I am disappointed by the quality of the print. Text is to gray and too small. Line spacing is too small to make reading a pleasure. Also why so big top and bottom margins? That space better be used for line spacing. It is the first book I bought from LuLu. And it will be the last. (less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.69  · 
Rating details
 ·  334 ratings  ·  38 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Operating Systems: Three Easy Pieces
Feb 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Textbooks should be hard to read, that's what makes them useful. But making them as sterile as possible isn't helping anyone.

Arpaci-Dusseau start each chapter with a high level and lighthearted "dialogue". The casual voice works well, warming me up to the author and easing me into the topic. Digging in, the content is still rich/dense while still maintaining a hint of a human voice.

This is exactly what a textbook should be: Dense in information and approachable in voice.
Gautam Anand
Nov 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The best book you can ever find on operating systems.It provides great overview while digging into details where ever necessary. Stuffed with humour, reading this book is like watching a YouTube video. I'll probably never get bored of this book no matter how many times I read it. ...more
Szymon Kulec
Dec 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book is a great position for introducing a reader into world of low-level, performant design. Yes, it's about operating systems, even if you aren't writing one, you will gain a lot. Especially, if you want to know how to design software to operate efficiently. When reading it, despite knowing a large part of the content, I was pleased with the narrative and the way authors introduced new concepts, like threading (mentioned around 100 page).

Nowadays, with the computation moving to the commod
Jun 05, 2019 rated it liked it
Considering all the praise about this book, I expected highly informative content in this textbook. I cannot say that this book is bad, the first parts about CPU and Memory virtualization are quite dense and contain detailed description.

But further I read the worse it was. Concurrency part is somewhat acceptable, but it is very uneven in delivering explanation. It is acceptable, but very boring in the way it reveals information. I got tired of author's puns already and it became a chore to read
Nov 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Extremely clear. Authors build up to explaining key OS concepts by establishing a strong foundation and providing lots of examples. The chapters go through a trial-and-error process of explanation that I found very helpful. For example, the text will walk through faulty designs of process schedulers and then explain why they wouldn't work. It iteratively improves on it until we reach a good design. Only gripe is that they should include more material on distributed systems. ...more
just a light beach read
Ruslan Diachenko
May 27, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I wish I had read this book at university. I finally got an idea of what is going on on the system level.
John Doe
Feb 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: cs
Great book for new to the subject matter. requires no pre-knowledge. And most importantly, It's free online put as nicely html. Best of it is you can go back any time to check each subject whenever you find unfamiliar concepts. I never really finished the whole book line by line, but did read through the major cpu memory part which personally I think is the key to have a basic understanding for any operating systems. ...more
Patrick Coakley
Jan 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I picked up a paper copy of this as a review for a graduate-level OS course. While I had taken an undergrad course and have also studied operating systems in my free time, I wanted something to refresh my memory on all of the concepts I might need to know for the course, as well as to fill in any gaps I might have missed. I can say that this is the best text for a high-level comprehensive look at operating systems I've found. While there might be better books for specific operating systems, or o ...more
Yash Patel
Feb 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Extremely clear presentation of OS material. I was largely using the book as quick primer on OS rather than as a launching pad for in-depth work in systems programming, so I didn't work through most of the exercises. That being said, there was an abundance of them as well as plenty of references to further material for interested people, so there's likely as much depth in this book as you hope to take away from it. Overall, really well put-together book, with great explanations, graphics, and mo ...more
Dan Drake
Dec 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
A great introduction to the daunting topic of operating systems. This book -- freely available from -- makes the hairy topics of scheduling, virtual memory, file systems, and so on about as approachable as possible.

I like the overall conversational style, the student-teacher dialogues, and so on. They lighten the load, as it were, and reduce the feeling that one is drinking from a firehose of technical details.
Truong Hoang
Dec 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely a great book. I highly recommend this book for any undergraduate students. The author covered 4 essential parts of operating systems: Vitualization, Concurrency, Persistence in great detail and a little bit of Distributed systems. After reading this book, I've not only gathered knowledge of operating systems, but also taken a lot of useful tips about software development. I think it would have been even better if I had finished every homework listed after each lesson. ...more
Aamir Anwar
May 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book is really great if you're coming back to operating systems after quite a while. Easy to follow and the main ideas are broken down to their simplest forms. This book will remove any fear you have of diving deep into the internals of the kernel of a computer system, heck after reading this book you won't be able to look at a computer the same way again.

10/10 would recommend
Alaa Nour
Mar 01, 2021 rated it it was amazing
A very great book on OS with an extremely clear explanation of different pieces of operating system such as Virtualization, Concurrency, and Persistence.

My only concern is that it needs more diagrams.
Omar Khatib
Jun 07, 2021 rated it it was amazing
One of the best book for self study , easy read yet helpfull and deliver information , not too much verboosity , I feel really comfort reading it as self study. Also the exercices have hands on tools.
Feb 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The best introductory book on Operating Systems that I've seen. Straight forward with just enough humor to keep it from getting too dry. ...more
Adam Zerner
Mar 25, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: partially-read
I only read part of it. My main comment is that it needs way more diagrams and pictures. Other than that, things are explained decently well.
Daniel Ogburn
Feb 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
An amazing book on operating systems that every programmer should read. It's also freely available at ...more
Apr 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It is a relatively easy read compared to other OS books. But no water down at all. Authors did a good job making the concepts easy to understand.
Nov 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Hands down the best OS introductory text I read. I especially enjoyed the list of papers at the end of each chapter.
Jan 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Е-e-e-e-essential Mix unz unz unz
Fucking beast of a book.
Misleading title - aint nothing easy here.

Jan 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Extremely great read, totally recommended
Raymond Chen
Aug 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A great book on the fundamentals of Operating Systems. A feast of the things you know, you think you know and you don't know... A most enjoyable 3-month journey. ...more
Swastik Agarwal
Aug 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020
Easily the best operating systems book I've read so far. I wish more technical books were like this: approachable but packed with relevant information. The exercises were also pretty great! ...more
Nov 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: computers
A very good high level overview of how operating systems achieve virtualization, concurrency and persistent storage.
Mar 26, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Great book, if you want to know more about virtualization (CPU, memory), concurrency and persistence, it must be on your shelf.

Only the last chapter about Security was "meh".
Austin Bian
May 30, 2021 rated it it was amazing
one word : amazing, well explained and i love it
Nhat Anh Tran
Jan 08, 2021 rated it really liked it
I had no basis in computer science and got huge frustration when I debug some applications. I read this book to understand how applications interact under the hood. The book has 3 parts, each part provides details about 1 pillar of the operating system. Some concepts are easy to absorb and solve exercises such as process, thread, address spaces at part I. Part II and II are a bit harder to absorb. I got stuck in the concepts of distributed systems and event-based concurrency. I think this book g ...more
Andrew Douma
Sep 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The fact that I now have a clear and lively mental model of what happens inside the CPU/RAM/DISK when running a line of code or trying to decipher assembly - makes this work by Wisconsin Computer Science professor Remzi H. Arpaci-Dusseau an excellent introduction to some of the core concepts I need to understand when reversing malware or debugging an exploit.
Dec 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: programming
Excellent and readable (if a bit corny) OS text, and the price is right. (Readable for free on, or 10$ for a PDF version.)
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The C Programming Language
  • Computer Systems: A Programmer's Perspective
  • Designing Data-Intensive Applications
  • Introduction to Algorithms
  • Computer Networking: A Top-Down Approach
  • Code Complete
  • The Algorithm Design Manual
  • Code: The Hidden Language of Computer Hardware and Software
  • Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs (MIT Electrical Engineering and Computer Science)
  • The Pragmatic Programmer: From Journeyman to Master
  • The Elements of Computing Systems: Building a Modern Computer from First Principles
  • Head First Design Patterns
  • Algorithms
  • Refactoring: Improving the Design of Existing Code
  • Clean Code: A Handbook of Agile Software Craftsmanship
  • The Art of Computer Programming, Volume 1: Fundamental Algorithms
  • The Linux Programming Interface: A Linux and Unix System Programming Handbook
  • Effective Java
See similar books…

Goodreads is hiring!

If you like books and love to build cool products, we may be looking for you.
Learn more »
Remzi Arpaci-Dusseau is the Grace Wahba professor and Associate Chair of Computer Sciences at UW-Madison. He co-leads a research group with Professor Andrea Arpaci-Dusseau. Together, they have graduated 24 Ph.D. students and won numerous best-paper awards; many of their innovations are used by commercial systems. For their work, Andrea and Remzi received the 2018 ACM-SIGOPS Weiser award for "outst ...more

News & Interviews

Juneteenth, observed on June 19th each year, is an American holiday commemorating the day in 1865 when the last enslaved people in Galveston,...
84 likes · 15 comments