Genode Labs Newsletter - December 2017 / January 2018


 1. Road map 2018
 2. Genode at FOSDEM 2018
 3. Meltdown and Spectre attacks

 1. Road map 2018

 In mid of December, we invited the Genode community to discuss
 our road map for 2018, taking Genode Labs' perspective as the
 starting point. In January, we distilled the many ideas and
 interests into a concrete plan and schedule:


 The plan can roughly be summarized by the slogan "Year of Sculpt".
 Behind this slogan is our ambition to expand the user base that
 uses Genode as desktop operating system. This particular Genode
 scenario is called Sculpt as it allows the user to interactively
 shape the system into many different things. There will be four
 stages of the Sculpt system.

 1. Sculpt for Early Adopters (EA) addresses users who are already
    experienced with Genode. It will be part of the 18.02 release.

 2. Sculpt for The Curious (TC) invites people who are new to
    Genode but don't hesitate to use command-line tools. It is
    scheduled for version 18.05.

 3. Sculpt by Visual Composition (VC) will largely replace the
    need for the command line by providing a graphical user
    interface for sculpting the system. It will be published
    along with version 18.08.

 4. Sculpt as Community Experience (CE) strives to empower users
    to provide sculpted subsystems to other users. This version
    is planned for the end of the Year.

 Besides the story of Sculpt, the road map features several
 other technical topics such as the ongoing improvement of our
 custom kernel and the support for the seL4 kernel, new drivers
 for NXP i.MX, and a Java virtual machine.

 2. Genode at FOSDEM 2018

 In the previous newsletter, we invited you to FOSDEM in Brussels.
 As a reminder, FOSDEM 2018 takes place during 3rd and 4th of


 We are happy to announce Genode's participation in FOSDEM's
 microkernel developer room (AW1.126) with three presentations:

 * GPU resource multiplexing in component based systems
   (Sebastian Sumpf, Saturday 11:05)

 * Live sculpting a Genode-based operating system
   (Norman Feske, Saturday 12:25)

 * User-level networking on Genode
   (Martin Stein, Saturday 17:30)

 The complete schedule of the developer room along with abstracts
 for the presentations is available at:


 3. Meltdown and Spectre attacks

 We cannot remember any security issue that captured the public
 attention like the so-called Meltdown and Spectre attacks
 published in January. In contrast to the usual software
 vulnerabilities, which are routinely patched via system updates,
 those attacks exploit micro-architectural deficiencies of modern
 processors. The problem lies deep in the hardware. Genode users
 are rightfully concerned about the possible impact of those
 attacks on Genode-based systems. Hence, we published an official
 statement that captures our current understanding and position:


 It is far too early to reach final conclusions. The drama is
 still unfolding and spawns a lot of activity in the open-source
 operating-systems community. In the context of Genode, the
 following links are of particular interest.

 The seL4 kernel developers address Meltdown by a patch series,
 which turns most parts of the kernel address space into a static
 image that is no longer a secret. The remaining dynamic parts are
 protected by a distinct virtual address space:


 The developers of the Muen separation kernel analyzed the impact
 of the attacks on their kernel. The analysis highlights the
 benefits of the small size of the kernel and the architecture
 of Muen:


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 Best regards

 Dr.-Ing. Norman Feske
 Genode Labs

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