Genode Labs Newsletter - April / May 2021


 1. Genode OS Framework 21.05 released
 2. Guidance for porting Genode to a new SoC
 3. Encrypted file storage for Sculpt OS

 1. Genode OS Framework 21.05 released

 End of May, we released the version 21.05 of the Genode OS
 Framework. This version puts the support for Webcams and file
 encryption into the spotlight. Both features benefit greatly
 from the framework's component architecture that fosters a
 precise separation of concerns, thereby bringing ease of use,
 high flexibility, and resilience under one hood.

 Besides these prominent features, the release puts emphasis on
 device drivers and platform support. The topics are ranging from
 USB, over I2C on i.MX8, over GPIO on Pine-A64, to networking on
 RISC-V. Furthermore, the framework has become ready to use on top
 of 64-bit ARM Linux.

 The new version is complemented by an updated tool chain based
 on GCC 10 and Binutils 2.36, profound performance optimizations,
 framework refinements, and new tooling for porting Linux drivers.

 All the topics outlined above are covered in great detail by
 the official release documentation:


 2. Guidance for porting Genode to a new SoC

 The porting of Genode to a new ARM SoC is a challenging under-
 taking that comes with a great deal of uncertainties, namely the
 inner functioning of overly complex hardware, picking appropriate
 tools and methodologies, taking informed decisions about porting
 versus developing drivers, and relating all this to Genode.

 Combined, these uncertainties pose a huge barrier. At Genode
 Labs, we have conquered this barrier a few times in the past,
 like recently for supporting the NXP i.MX8 SoC. However, the
 porting of Genode to new hardware should not be left as an
 activity exclusive to Genode Labs. In order to assist developers
 outside of Genode's inner circle with joining the effort and help
 the proliferation of Genode across diverse SoCs, we decided to
 publicly share our know-how.

 Over the past six months we have continuously published an
 article series called "Pine fun" on https://genodians.org that
 explains the process step by step. We have now curated the
 content of the accumulated articles into one coherent document
 called "Genode Platforms".


 Similar to the established "Genode Foundations" book that
 receives annual updates, it will be a living document, to be
 enhanced according reader feedback and further practical steps.
 The initial version already covers a wealth of architectural and
 methodical insights that were not publicly available before,
 ranging from bare-bone hardware enablement, over low-level
 debugging, kernel-code organization and porting, user-level
 device drivers, cascaded access control to device resources,
 up to custom assistive tooling.

 3. Encrypted file storage for Sculpt OS

 Over the course of the past two years, we continuously developed
 a custom solution for modern block encryption - the CBE library
 implemented in Ada/SPARK - and its integration into Genode. Even
 though we demonstrated this work in real-world scenarios like
 hosting a Linux VM on top of an encrypted block device, it still
 lacked stress-testing by a regular user base because its
 integration into an end-user system like Sculpt OS required
 tedious low-level wizardry.

 To encourage as many people as possible to stress the CBE in
 their daily work flows and thereby let it mature, we have now
 wrapped the CBE into a convenient package for Sculpt OS called
 "file vault". It is a graphical front end that aims at making the
 creation, use, and maintenance of a CBE-based encrypted file
 store as intuitive and secure as possible:


 The file vault is readily available as a package for the current
 version 21.03 of Sculpt OS. We invite all Sculpt users to give it
 a try. It goes without saying that we'd be more than happy to
 receive feedback on your experience with it.

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 Best regards

 Dr.-Ing. Norman Feske
 Genode Labs

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