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 Genode Labs Newsletter - August / September 2017
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 Content

 1. Introducing Genode's GPU multiplexer for Intel platforms
 2. Genode/seL4 comes to the ARM and 64-bit x86 architectures
 3. Genode OS Framework 17.08 released


 1. Introducing Genode's GPU multiplexer for Intel platforms
 -----------------------------------------------------------

 Modern commodity operating systems are almost unthinkable without
 support for graphics processing units (GPUs), which is not only
 expected by games but also leveraged by web browsers, media
 applications, and desktop environments. The use of GPUs also helps
 to conserve battery time in mobile computing since the GPU relieves
 the main processor from CPU-intensive graphics work.

 On the other hand, GPU support involves extremely complex software
 stacks in both the OS kernel and in the form of user-level libraries.
 For an operating system like Genode that is designed for high
 security, it would be irresponsible to inflate its trusted computing
 base with this amount of complexity. Fortunately, recent generations
 of Intel GPUs come with hardware features like per-process graphics-
 translation tables or hardware contexts, which were introduced to
 accommodate virtualization. Over the past 18 months, we investigated
 possible ways to leverage these features for Genode.

 The result of this line of work is a new GPU multiplexer component.
 This component applies the microkernel approach to the domain of
 GPUs. With less than 5000 lines of code, it has marginal impact on
 the trusted computing base while making GPU hardware resources
 available as virtual GPUs to trusted and untrusted applications
 running side by side. At the client side, the new GPU multiplexer is
 accompanied with the library infrastructure needed to accommodate
 regular OpenGL applications. With the new component, the use of
 hardware-accelerated graphics and high security are no longer a
 contradiction.


 2. Genode/seL4 comes to the ARM and 64-bit x86 architectures
 ------------------------------------------------------------

 Our continuous engagement with the seL4-kernel community continues.
 Until now, Genode supported this kernel only for the 32-bit x86
 architecture though, which has become almost irrelevant in practice.
 This summer, we have broadened the platform support with the
 addition of the ARM and 64-bit x86 architectures. On ARM, we
 specifically enabled the WandBoard Quad, which is based on a
 NXP i.MX6 SoC.

 We furthermore enabled multiprocessor support for x86 and thread-
 priority support for all seL4 platforms. Additionally, we were able
 to utilize the seL4 benchmark interface for Genode's trace infra-
 structure in order to obtain utilization information about threads
 and CPUs.

 These changes advance Genode's seL4 support from an experimental
 level to a state where it becomes suitable for sophisticated
 application scenarios on widely used hardware architectures.


 3. Genode OS Framework 17.08 released
 -------------------------------------

 The two topics outlined above are certainly the highlights of our
 latest Genode release that we published in August. Further topics
 include UEFI-boot support, the ability to deploy Genode scenarios
 as Xen domains using Genode's regular work flows, package management,
 enhanced GUI widgets, and our custom VFS infrastructure.

 Those and more topics are covered in full detail by the official
 release documentation:

   https://genode.org/documentation/release-notes/17.08


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 Best regards

 -- 
 Dr.-Ing. Norman Feske
 Genode Labs

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