Genode Labs Newsletter - December 2013 / January 2014


 1. Road Map for 2014
 2. VirtualBox on top of the NOVA hypervisor
 3. Facilitating third-party software on Genode

 1. Road Map for 2014

 The past year was not short of exciting developments around Genode.
 We are particularly happy to have developed all the puzzle pieces
 needed to use the capabilities of the NOVA hypervisor to the full
 extend, including the use of IOMMUs, multi-processor support,
 and hardware virtualization. Another line of development was the
 creation of extensive platform support for the Samsung Exynos 5
 SoC, including SATA 3.0, USB 3.0, HDMI, networking, eMMC, and
 power management. This makes Exynos-5 the first ARM platform that
 is thoroughly supported by Genode. As a surprising turn of events,
 our custom kernel for ARM-based hardware emerged from a mere
 experiment to a fully featured base platform, which became able to
 carry the entirety of Genode's software stack on top. These are
 just a few highlights among many others such as the use of the
 Linux TCP/IP stack as a library, the switch to Qt5, FUSE-based
 file systems, and new event-tracing capabilities.

 The turn of the year prompted us to lay out the plans for 2014.
 This year, we will focus our attention on four areas: Advancing our
 custom ARM kernel, facilitating the combination of third-party
 software with Genode, provisioning components needed for reliable,
 secure and high-performance storage, and building a novel user
 interface. Those topics along with rough time line are described
 in our updated official road map:


 2. VirtualBox on top of the NOVA hypervisor

 We are proud to announce the upcoming support for VirtualBox on top
 of Genode/NOVA. VirtualBox is a product-quality and highly popular
 virtualization solution developed by Oracle. It is available across
 a variety of operating systems such as Windows, Linux, Mac OS X,
 and Solaris. The appeal of VirtualBox comes from its breadth of
 supported guest operating systems and its extensive feature set.

 On the traditionally supported host operating systems, VirtualBox
 exercises control over the whole machine as it hooks itself under-
 neath the kernel of the host operating system. So the user must
 ultimately trust VirtualBox. In contrast, the NOVA architecture
 devises a different approach where the virtual-machine monitor runs
 as an ordinary user-level program without any special privileges.
 Since last summer, we pondered over the question of how it might be
 possible to combine the rich feature set of VirtualBox with the
 vastly better security model of NOVA. We eventually identified a
 viable route to take and followed that road. To our delight, we
 found that it is indeed possible to bring together both

 The first version of VirtualBox for Genode/NOVA will be part of
 the upcoming Genode release scheduled for end of February.

 3. Facilitating third-party software on Genode

 With the growing diversity of the Genode community, there comes
 the increasing need to use existing third-party software on the
 platform. One way to go is using virtualization. But for the goal
 of using Genode as primary OS, this can only be a stop-gap solution.
 In the long run, we have to take on the challenge to natively
 support popular software by the means of porting and packaging.
 This realization prompted us to address this topic as part of our
 official road map. An important step in this direction is to
 spread the knowledge and methodology about how to port existing
 software to the Genode world. The just published "Genode Porting
 Guide" takes developers step by step through the process of
 porting libraries, applications, and device drivers:


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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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