Genode OS Framework release 17.11 Nov 30, 2017

We just released the version 17.11 of the Genode OS Framework today. The new version accumulates countless big and small improvements we made while migrating the entire Genode Labs staff to a Genode- based system scenario for productive work.

The improvements of the new version range from convenience features like scroll-wheel emulation for Lenovo trackpoints, over a reworked GUI stack, to several new features of Genode's virtual networking facilities. As the forthcoming general- purpose OS scenario is entirely based on our recently introduced custom package-management concept, it prompted us to package all components required by the scenario.

The new version also wraps up two long-term developments under the hood of the framework. First, it streamlines the boot concept among all supported x86 kernels, which now consistently use GRUB2 as boot loader. Modern x86 kernels like seL4, NOVA, or our custom kernel can be booted either via UEFI or via a legacy BIOS. Speaking of our custom kernel, the second major wrap-up is the kernel's internal redesign that was conducted over more than one year. The new version simplifies the kernel while improving its performance. Users of the seL4 kernel can enjoy the update to the kernel branch 7.0, which contains most of the contributions we submitted to the seL4 project and relieves us from maintaining custom kernel patches.

With regard to new functionality, the most visible topics of the new version are the further cultivation of the Nim programming language for Genode components, the port of game-console emulators based on libretro, and the ability to dynamically resize libSDL- based applications.

For the complete story of all the improvements of the new version, please refer to the official release documentation.

Genode OS Framework release 17.08 Oct 01, 2017

The highlights of Genode 17.08 are our new GPU multiplexer, enhanced seL4 support, package management, and enhanced GUI elements.

Besides the addition of our new GPU multiplexer for Intel platforms and the vastly improved support for the seL4 kernel, the new version features 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.

GPU multiplexer for Intel platforms Oct 01, 2017

Our new GPU multiplexer for Intel GMA hardware applies the microkernel approach to the domain of GPUs.

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.

Genode/seL4 comes to the ARM and 64-bit x86 Oct 01, 2017

Genode/seL4 becomes available on 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.

Genode OS Framework release 17.05 May 31, 2017

With a profoundly updated framework infrastructure such as GCC 6.3, Qt 5.8, and VirtualBox 5.1.22 for NOVA, the just released version 17.05 promises to be a suitable basis for longer-term maintenance and is accompanied with a new edition of the "Genode Foundations" book.

We just published the mid-year release of the Genode OS framework. This version is special as it is designated as the starting point for well maintainable development branches. This ambition motivated us to update the framework's tool chain as well as our ports of Qt and VirtualBox to current versions. It also prompted us to wrap up our great API and architectural renovation work that we kicked off one year ago.

Feature-wise, the most important news are the addition of Genode's package-management solution, new tools for monitoring network traffic and CPU load, the support for the Nim and Ada programming languages, greatly enhanced flexibility of the init component, and a brand new timeout API.

All the improvements are covered in great detail in the release documentation.

Genode OS Framework release 17.02 Feb 28, 2017

By introducing application binary interfaces, version 17.02 cultivates the cross-kernel binary compatibility of components. Furthermore, the new version comes with a vastly improved VFS infrastructure, new input-event processing capabilities, and a dynamic component-composition engine.

On the long road towards binary compatibility of Genode components across OS kernels as different as L4, NOVA, seL4, or Linux, we reached a breakthrough by mid of 2016. It took us another six months to fully cultivate this unique feature and to integrate it seamlessly into our development work flows. With the current version, we have ultimately reached the point where one can move entire system scenarios from one kernel to another in just a few seconds.

With the improved virtual file-system (VFS) infrastructure that comes with the new version, such system scenarios can become more and more sophisticated. Genode takes the meaning of virtual file systems to an entirely new level. Not only does Genode virtualize the physical location of files but each component can have its own VFS whereby the supported file-system types are provided by VFS plugins. Those plugins can go as far as providing a TCP/IP stack as showcased by Genode's use of the Linux TCP/IP stack as VFS plugin.

The composition of subsystems out of Genode components is another highlight of the current release. In each Genode-based system, the init component already plays a central role as it bootstraps the initial system components. Thanks to Genode's recursive system structure, init can easily be nested. With the improvements of the new version, such a nested init becomes a dynamic system-composition engine that responds to configuration updates and applies changes to its subsystem in a differential way.

These and many more improvements are covered in full detail in the release documentation of version 17.02...

Road Map 2017 Jan 31, 2017

After a vivid brainstorming discussion on our mailing list, we finalized Genode's official road map for this year.

The updated official road map for the Genode OS Framework has been published:

https://genode.org/about/road-map

The overall theme of 2017 is stressing the scalability and stability of the framework. With stability, we refer to our line of work towards a long-term stable binary interface, which will have two effects. First, it will allow us to subject our base-framework implementation to rigorous quality-assurance measures. And second, it paves the ground for a growing community participation because contributors will no longer need to keep up with a moving target. Most of the milestones outlined for this year's release schedule are directly related to this long-term plan: Among the topics are package- based Genode systems, updated tooling, a revised boot concept, and several topics that are important for the use of Genode as day-to-day OS.

postal address:

  Genode Labs GmbH
  Dammweg 2
  D-01097 Dresden

visiting address:

  Genode Labs GmbH
  Friedrichstr. 26
  D-01067 Dresden

phone:

  +49 351 3282613

email:

  info@genode-labs.com