Genode Labs Newsletter - August / September 2013


 1. Genode OS Framework 13.08 released
 2. Hack'n'Hike aftermath
 3. Tracing capabilities enter the Genode OS Framework

 1. Genode OS Framework 13.08 released

 In August, we released the version 13.08 of the Genode OS Framework,
 which comes loaded with new features. To highlight a few, there is
 much improved support for multi-processor systems, Qt5 has become
 available to the framework, and the device drivers for the Exynos-5
 SoC received a major upgrade.

 The recursive structure of Genode architecture yields itself to
 the idea to successively subdivide CPU resources between subsystems.
 But to implement the idea, we first had to come up with an easy-
 to-use way of expressing such policies. With version 13.08, we
 introduce our solution that we call "affinity spaces" right into
 the heart of the framework. This mechanism can be used for both
 assigning CPU resources to subsystems as well as negotiating CPU
 affinities between clients and servers to optimize systems for
 CPU locality. The new feature is fully supported on the base
 platforms NOVA and Fiasco.OC.

 We have kept an eye on Qt5 for a long time and highly appreciate
 the direction the Qt development is heading. With Genode 13.08,
 we finally made the switch from Qt4 to Qt5. For the users of the
 framework, this transition is almost seamless. Under the hood,
 however, the software layer between Qt to Genode underwent profound
 changes. The most significant change is the use of the new Qt
 platform abstraction that replaces Qt's built-in window manager.
 Thanks to Genode 13.08, Qt5 has become available on the whole
 range of kernels supported by the framework.

 Further background information about these and many more topics of
 the new version are covered in the detailed release documentation:


 2. Hack'n'Hike aftermath

 For this year's Genode Hack'n'Hike, we picked a beautiful location
 in the middle of the forest of the Bohemian Switzerland.

 At daylight, we enjoyed the nature side, followed the trails near
 the border between Czech Republic and Germany, went cave climbing,
 and enjoyed the Bohemian cuisine.

 The evenings and nights were spent with various Genode-related side
 projects. One of those projects was concerned about bringing Open-
 Source game engines to life on Genode, including sound and
 networking, whereas another group pondered on device drivers for the
 Raspberry Pi, eventually getting USB and graphics to work. It was
 awesome to see Genode's GUI coming up just two seconds after
 powering-on the device.

 Thanks to Martin Stein for taking the organizing role this year and
 to everyone who popped up!

 3. Tracing capabilities enter the Genode OS Framework

 The just released Genode version 13.08 comes with brand new event-
 tracing capabilities. The new infrastructure is able to capture
 traces of inter-process communication and other events at a very
 low overhead and thereby enables us to analyse performance-critical
 execution paths in detail. The design of the new feature was
 developed in the scope of the diploma thesis of Josef Söntgen,
 which he defended in August. For learning about rationale of the
 design and the prototype implementation, the (German-language)
 thesis is highly recommend:

   "Dynamisches Systemmonitoring in einem rekursiven


 The prototype aided the implementation that entered the mainline
 Genode source tree with the version 13.08. In the short time since
 the release, we already gathered valuable insights that were not
 possible without the tracing mechanism. It enabled us to spot
 bottlenecks of gigabit networking on Exynos-5, or it helped us to
 understand the interrupt handling of the USB driver on Raspberry Pi.
 For more information on the tracing capabilities, please refer to
 the release documentation of Genode 13.08 referenced above.

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 Best regards

 Dr.-Ing. Norman Feske
 Genode Labs

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

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