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Xv6 LS Command Output.png
xv6 startup, and using the "ls" command
Developer MIT
Written in C
OS family Unix-like
Source model Open source
Latest release rev8 / August 29, 2014; 3 months ago (2014-08-29)
Available in English
Platforms multiprocessor Intel x86
Kernel type Monolithic
Default user interface Command-line interface
License MIT license
Official website http://pdos.csail.mit.edu/6.828/2014/xv6.html

xv6 is a modern reimplementation of Sixth Edition Unix in ANSI C for multiprocessor x86 systems. It is used for pedagogical purposes in MIT's Operating Systems Engineering (6.828) course.


Unlike Linux or BSD, xv6 is simple enough to cover in a semester, yet still contains the important concepts and organization of Unix.[1] Rather than study the original V6 code, the course uses xv6 since PDP-11 machines are not widely available and the original operating system was written in archaic pre-ANSI C.[1]


One intriguing feature of the Makefile for xv6 is the option to produce a PDF of the entire source code listing in a readable format. The entire printout is only 97 pages, including cross references.[2] This is reminiscent of the original V6 source code, which was published in a similar form in Lions' Commentary on UNIX 6th Edition, with Source Code.

Educational use[edit]

xv6 has also been used in operating systems courses at Rutgers University,[3] Northeastern University,[4] Yale University,[5] Columbia University,[6] Ben-Gurion University,[7] Johns Hopkins University,[8] Tsinghua University,[9] the University of Wisconsin-Madison,[10] the University of Utah,[11] ,[12] IIT Madras in India and the Linnaeus University[13] in Sweden.


  1. ^ a b "Xv6, a simple Unix-like teaching operating system". Retrieved 2014-09-22. 
  2. ^ "xv6 source listing" (pdf). Retrieved 2014-09-22. 
  3. ^ "01:198:416: Operating Systems Design". Retrieved 2010-02-05. 
  4. ^ "CS 3650: Computer Systems, Fall 2014". Retrieved 2014-12-09. 
  5. ^ "CS422/522: Operating Systems, Spring 2010 — Overview". Retrieved 2010-02-05. 
  6. ^ "COMS W4118: Operating Systems I, Fall 2013". Retrieved 2013-09-09. 
  7. ^ "Operating Systems - 2012/Spring - Main". Retrieved 2012-03-26. 
  8. ^ "600.318/418: Operating Systems". Retrieved 2010-02-28. 
  9. ^ "FrontPage - OS Teaching Wiki". Retrieved 2010-03-18. 
  10. ^ "CS-537: Introduction to Operating Systems". Retrieved 2011-11-04. 
  11. ^ "CS 6460: Operating Systems". Retrieved 2014-01-20. 
  12. ^ "Embedded in Academia : Xv6". Retrieved 2014-04-08. 
  13. ^ "1DV201: Operating system". Retrieved 2013-03-14. 

External links[edit]