Genode Labs Newsletter - February / March 2019


 1. Release of the Sculpt CE operating system
 2. Boot2Java - a system for Java-based network appliances
 3. Genode OS Framework 19.02 released

 1. Release of the Sculpt CE operating system

 Mid of March, we released the fourth version of our Genode-based
 general-purpose operating system called Sculpt. It marks the final
 stage of the plan we envisioned one and a half years ago and is
 subtitled as "Community Experience" (CE).

 The background of this slogan is our ambition to remove the need for
 any middleman between developers and users. In contrast to today's
 mainstream OSes, which rely on ultimately trusted distributions or
 app stores, Sculpt works completely federated. The integrity of the
 installed software is protected by digital signatures of the
 software providers while each piece of software is sandboxed both at
 installation time and at runtime. This way, users don't need to be
 faithful but enter a position of ultimate control.

 This is capability-based security at work!

 As explained in the accompanying blog posting, Sculpt CE features a
 new user interface to integrate software into the running system and
 to reveal the trusted computing base of each component:


 Sculpt CE is available as a ready-to-use disk image bootable from a
 USB stick. The release is accompanied with comprehensive documentation
 that covers both the use the system and the philosophy behind it.

   https://genode.org/download/sculpt                   disk image
   https://genode.org/documentation/articles/sculpt-ce  documentation

 Without a middleman between software providers and users in Sculpt OS,
 there is the obvious question: How can a user find software? This is
 where our recently started community blog - Genodians.org - enters the


 It gives developers a way to announce new software while users can
 share their perspectives and ideas. Just like Sculpt OS, the content
 of Genodians.org is managed in a federated fashion. In the previous
 newsletter, we already announced the beta version of this blogging
 platform. In the meantime, we launched the site officially. We are
 happy that there are already more than 10 authors participating.

 2. Boot2Java - a system for Java-based network appliances

 Sculpt as a general purpose OS marks one end of the Genode spectrum.
 At the other end, there are embedded systems, which call for specially
 tailored and hardened appliance-like operating systems. The business
 logic of such systems is usually defined by experts in their product
 domain, and expressed in productivity languages, in particular Java.
 However, such domain experts are rarely operating-system specialists.
 Hence, IoT products often rely on off-the-shelf or vendor-provided
 variants of GNU/Linux or Android-based distributions and host
 higher-level language runtimes on top. The price for the quick time
 to market is the enormous complexity of the hardly-understood base
 system and the implicit dependency from regular software updates
 provided by the used OS vendor or distribution.

 With our new exemplary Boot2Java system, we offer the prospect to
 break free from such dependencies and risks. This Genode-based
 system boots directly into our version of the OpenJDK Java runtime
 to execute a Java network application. The application can
 communicate over one or more network interfaces with the outside
 world. The underlying Genode-based operating system is three orders
 of magnitude less complex compared to the current state-of-the-art
 solutions. This is good because with less complexity, less things
 can go wrong. The following article explains the idea in more


 The best part is that the system can be customized without diving deep
 into operating-system details. Changes like replacing the Java
 application, defining the network policy, or supplying a custom SSL
 certificate can be done directly on the boot medium (usually an SD
 card) without any further integration work.

 3. Genode OS Framework 19.02 released

 The first Genode release of 2019 pays tribute to the this year's
 road map topic of making Genode relevant and attractive for a
 broader community. The two most prominent features are "Community
 Experience" version of Sculpt OS and the Genode version of OpenJDK.
 Sculpt CE makes Genode easier approachable for end users by
 introducing an easy-to-use way to discover, install, and integrate
 software originating from different providers. With OpenJDK, the
 world's most popular programming language becomes available to
 Genode users. Our port of the Hotspot Java virtual machine
 facilitates just-in-time compilation on both 32-bit ARM and 64-bit
 x86 architectures.

 Further highlights of Genode 19.02 are the improved runtimes for the
 Ada/SPARK and OCaml programming languages, and the added support for
 the i.MX6 Quad Sabrelite and Nitrogen6 SoloX boards. These and many
 more topics of the new version are covered in detail by the release


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 Best regards

 Dr.-Ing. Norman Feske
 Genode Labs

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