Genode Labs Newsletter - August/September 2011


 1. Genode OS Framework 11.08 released
 2. Android on top of Genode
 3. User-level debugging on Genode via GDB

 1. Genode OS Framework 11.08 released

 With the version 11.08 released in mid of August, the Genode OS frame-
 work has reached the ultimate goal to make the work with different
 kernels a seamless experience. Now all base platforms supported by
 the framework can be used with the same work flow. No kernel-specific
 knowledge is needed. This way, users of the framework can pick the
 kernel that fits best with each individual application scenario or
 simply test drive a new kernel without a big investment of time. For us
 Genode developers, the biggest immediate benefit is the vastly improved
 testability of the framework on different platforms. Thanks to the new
 version, we have been able to set up a facility for fully automated
 testing, which constantly exercises many key functionalities of the
 framework on 8 different base platforms, enabling us to maintain the
 quality of our software while its complexity is growing.

 In addition of the grand unification of platform support, the new
 version comes with enhanced device-driver support for ARM-based SoCs
 as well as major components of Genode's emerging block-device infra-

 For the complete description of improvements and new features, please
 refer to the comprehensive release notes for version 11.08:


 2. Android on top of Genode

 As of today, Google's Android OS is apparently one of the hottest topics
 in the world of smartphones and tablets. Among the users of Genode, we
 recognise a general interest in combining the framework with the Android
 platform. With L4Android there already exists a special variant of the
 L4Linux kernel that is able execute the Android software stack on top
 of the Fiasco.OC kernel:


 Our port of L4Linux to Genode in May has shown that L4Linux works well
 with Genode. Since L4Android is derived from L4Linux, we were confident
 that we could adapt L4LAndroid to Genode in a similar way. We are happy
 to report that this feature has now become available at our subversion
 repository. With the new support of L4Android on Genode, Android can be
 used on Genode on the Fiasco.OC kernel on the IA32 architecture. For
 those of you who are eager to experiment with L4Android on Genode,
 please find further information at the top-level README file of the
 'ports-foc' repository and share your results with us at the Genode
 mailing list.

 3. User-level debugging on Genode via GDB

 Debugging applications on microkernel-based systems is known to be
 somewhat cumbersome. The various approaches range from using simple
 log messages to kernel debuggers. But for the most part, the power
 and convenience of debugging solutions known from commodity
 operating systems is missing on such platforms. To remedy this issue,
 we have created a new user-level debugging solution for Genode
 applications, which is based on the GNU debugger:


 This solution provides debugging instruments that we have desired for
 a long time such as the use of breakpoints, single-stepping through
 assembly instructions or at function level, source-level debugging,
 printing of backtraces and call-frame inspection, and observing
 different threads of a Genode process. In short, almost the whole
 toolbox of the GNU debugger is now at the disposal for Genode
 developers using the Fiasco.OC kernel.

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 Best regards
 Dr.-Ing. Norman Feske
 Genode Labs

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