NACHOS (Not Another Completely Heuristic Operating System) was a miniature Operating System developed in UC Berkley for to teach University students about operating systems.
NACHOS worked on a simple concept that if you teach students about OS using a simplified minature version, they would be able to at least understand how a modern OS works. This would allow them to go onto greater things such as Linux Kernel Hacking : )
In the 1996/1997 academic year, the DCU Computer Applications department decided to use NACHOS to teach the CA Operating Systems course for the first time. As it was the first time it was to be used, only one part of the NACHOS system was going to be used - the one dealing with threads and processes.
The NACHOS course has a heavy emphasis on C programming (NACHOS is written in C++ but programs/modules are in C). NACHOS also requires that people write parts of the system in C++ to prove they know how it works (and therefore pass the exam).
Unfortunately, CA students never learn C (just a hybrid of C++ and fecky little diagrams), which made the NACHOS lab exams a complete disaster. The first exam has a miserable pass rate of 6 (yes SIX) students. There were multiple repeat exams and parts of the course were left out, allowing almost all students to (eventually) pass the OS course.
NACHOS is sadly a thing of the past. NACHOS was dropped in 1998/1999 in favour of a new OS course, after 2 years of continuously poor results. NACHOS is without doubt one of the biggest missed oppertunities of the CA course. It had the potential to teach students about the inner workings of an OS, while giving them experience in C programming/debugging and using a UNIX system.
--The Artist Formerly Known As Spinal
Originally from the Encyclopedia