With about half a century of life, the Unix shell is pervasive and entrenched in our computing infrastructure—with recent virtualization and containerization trends only propelling its use. A fresh surge of academic research highlights show potential for tackling long-standing open problems that are central to the shell and enable further progress. A recent panel discussion at HotOS ’21 concluded that improvements and research on the shell can be impactful and identified several such research directions. Maybe it’s time for your research to be applied to the shell too?
*Secure compilation* is an emerging field that puts together advances in programming languages, security, compilers, systems, formal verification, and hardware architectures. It aims to devise compilation chains that eliminate many of today’s security attacks, without sacrificing efficiency, and allowing sound reasoning about security properties in the source language.