Genode Labs Newsletter - February / March 2015


 1. Hack'n'Hike 2015
 2. An in-depth look into the ARM virtualization extensions
 3. Genode OS Framework 15.02 released

 1. Hack'n'Hike 2015

 This year's Hack'n'Hike during 22nd - 25th of May is approaching.
 Like in the previous years, we will gather for several days in a cosy
 accommodation to enjoy outdoor activities, collaborative hacking, and

 For everyone interested in getting involved with the community,
 catching up, or just hanging out with the Genode crowd - feel welcome
 to join us in the so-called Turmvilla:

   Hermannsbad 9, 02953 Bad Muskau, Germany

 There is still room for more participants. Genode Labs sponsors the
 event. So your participation/accommodation is free. To simplify the
 organization for us, please let us know till the 7th of May if you
 like to join in. Either write to hacknhike@genode-labs.com or comment
 on the Hack'n'Hike topic at our issue tracker:


 Also, if you have suggestions or questions regarding the Hack'n'Hike,
 do not hesitate to contact us via the email address above.

 2. An in-depth look into the ARM virtualization extensions

 Our experience report about ARM TrustZone technology, which we
 published in April last year was very well received. Shortly after
 we published it, we could see several people taking our TrustZone-
 monitor implementation as starting point for experimentation. The
 article even ended up as a reference for TrustZone at the Wikipedia
 page for the ARM architecture! This positive feedback indicates that
 there exists a demand for highly technical articles covering low-level
 OS technology.

 With our new article "An in-depth look into the ARM virtualization
 extensions", we follow up on our TrustZone-related work by exploring
 the hardware virtualization capabilities of the ARMv7 architecture:


 The line of work described in the article was conducted during the
 year 2014 with the goal to use our custom kernel as a hypervisor plat-
 form. The article introduces the hardware-virtualization mechanisms
 of ARMv7 and presents our aspired virtualization architecture. It then
 goes into detail about the virtualization of memory, CPU, interrupts,
 and time. It closes with a series of experiments with I/O protection
 mechanisms as present on modern ARM-based SoCs.

 3. Genode OS Framework 15.02 released

 End of February, we released the version 15.02 of the Genode OS
 Framework, which introduces a highly modularized tool kit for
 automated testing, adds support for the USB Armory platform, improves
 the performance and stability of VirtualBox on Genode/NOVA, and
 contains the practical results of our work on ARM virtualization.

 Most of the previous releases were motivated by our desire for
 features that we deemed as fundamentally important to use Genode as a
 general-purpose system. Now that we have reached most of the feature
 set that we longed after, the project adjusts its focus. According to
 our road map for this year, the underlying theme of the current
 development shifted towards the cultivation of the existing feature
 set rather than the introduction of new functionality. The release
 15.02 perfectly reflects this change. It introduces a highly modular
 tool kit for scaling up the project's automated testing efforts and
 comes with stability and performance improvements all over the place.
 In particular, we are happy to report substantial performance gains of
 our version of VirtualBox running on NOVA.

 As a second focus of the version 15.02, our custom base-hw kernel
 platform received a lot of attention. The most prominent news is the
 added support for virtualization on ARM. This line of work took much
 of our prior experience with the NOVA virtualization architecture and
 ARM TrustZone into account. This experience resulted in a novel
 microhypervisor design with an extremely tiny foot print with respect
 to the added complexity on the account of virtualization support. In
 fact, less than 1000 lines of code had to be added to the root of the
 trusted computing base. Besides virtualization support, our kernel's
 scheduler got refined to take IPC relationships into account while
 additionally gaining support for the USB Armory hardware platform.

 These and many more improvements are covered in more detail in the
 release documentation:


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 Best regards

 Dr.-Ing. Norman Feske
 Genode Labs

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

 Genode Labs GmbH · Amtsgericht Dresden · HRB 28424 · Sitz Dresden
 Geschäftsführer: Dr.-Ing. Norman Feske, Christian Helmuth

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