Genode Labs Newsletter - February / March 2013


 1. I/O Protection and Virtualization via the NOVA Hypervisor
 2. Genode OS Framework 13.02 released
 3. Emerging support for ARM Cortex-A15-based Exynos 5

 1. I/O Protection and Virtualization via the NOVA Hypervisor

 Since Alexander Böttcher joined our team last summer, we have
 significantly ramped up our engagement with the NOVA hypervisor,
 which we regard as the most sophisticated Open-Source microkernel
 for the x86 architecture as it supports advanced processor features
 such as I/O MMUs and hardware virtualization. To leverage those
 features for Genode, we are closely cooperating with the NOVA
 mainline development, in particular with Udo Steinberg. Hereby we
 succeeded to enhance both the kernel and Genode to promote NOVA to
 a fully supported base platform for the Genode OS Framework.

 In addition to enabling to use the entity of our highly dynamic
 software stack on this kernel platform, we revisited Genode's
 user-level device-driver architecture to accommodate the use of
 I/O protection facilities offered by modern x86-based hardware.
 Thanks to NOVA, Genode has become able to strictly isolate user-
 level device drivers from each other and from other components
 of the system.

 When used as Genode base platform, one of the most prominent
 features of NOVA remained largely unused, namely its high-
 performance virtualization support. With the remarkable work of
 Markus Partheymüller, this has changed now. Thanks to his vast
 improvements regarding the integration of the Vancouver virtual
 machine monitor, Genode has gained the ability to host unmodified
 guest operating systems such as Linux as user-level subsystems. This
 includes the support of networking, graphics, RTC, input, and block
 devices. We are particularly excited about this line of work because
 it represents the first substantial contribution to Genode by Intel

 2. Genode OS Framework 13.02 released

 The advancements of the NOVA base platform outlined above are just
 a few of the manifold improvements that are part of Genode version
 13.02, which was released at the end of February. Other highlights
 are a new concept for audio output, the addition of notifications
 to the file-system infrastructure, and enhanced support for dynamic
 system reconfiguration.

 To learn more about those topics and the many further improvements
 of Genode 13.02, please refer to the release documentation:


 3. Emerging support for ARM Cortex-A15-based Exynos 5

 The ARM Cortex-A15-based Exynos 5 SoC is the heart of modern ARM-based
 mobile devices such as Chromebooks or the upcoming Samsung Galaxy
 S4 mobile phone. There exists a low-cost development platform for
 this SoC, called Arndale, which we started to investigate in January.
 In the meanwhile, we are happy to present the first fruits of our
 investigation in the form of principal platform support via either
 the Fiasco.OC microkernel, or alternatively our custom kernel
 platform called base-hw. Currently, support for UART, eMMC, USB HID,
 and networking is in place, and we are planning to successively
 extend the device-driver coverage of this platform.

 If you like to stay in the loop of this development, we recommend
 to keep an eye on our project page at GitHub:


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 Best regards

 Dr.-Ing. Norman Feske
 Genode Labs

 http://www.genode-labs.com · http://genode.org

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