Genode Labs Newsletter - April / May 2022


 1. Sculpt OS 22.04
 2. Genode OS Framework 22.05 released
 3. Second revision of Genode's SoC porting guide

 1. Sculpt OS 22.04

 With the Sculpt OS version 22.04 released end of April, users of our
 Genode-based general-purpose OS can enjoy completely new drivers for
 wireless, graphics, and USB. In a major surgery, the new drivers got
 transplanted from the Linux kernel version 5.14.21 using Genode's
 unique DDE approach. In contrast to Linux where the drivers are part
 of the almighty operating-system kernel, Sculpt OS hosts each of the
 drivers in a dedicated sandbox as plain user-level component.
 So users can benefit from the broad hardware support of up-to-date
 Linux drivers without ultimately trusting those staggeringly complex
 driver stacks.

 Closely related, the support of hardware-accelerated graphics that we
 introduced with the previous version 21.10 received substantial
 optimization and stabilization. With the new version, Sculpt users can
 not only run native OpenGL applications but can even go as far as
 using hardware-accelerated graphics via guest operating systems hosted
 within VirtualBox on top of Sculpt OS.

 Besides the hardware-related improvements, the new version equips
 the user with additional means to exercise control over the deployed
 software: A new optional component called black hole can now be used
 as placeholder for various system resources when deploying an
 application. For example, a virtual machine can be shielded from the
 network by connecting its network traffic to the black hole. This
 also works for audio, video capturing, USB, and other commonly used
 system resources.

 Sculpt OS 22.04 is available as ready-to-use system image:

   https://genode.org/documentation/articles/sculpt-22-04 (documentation)

 2. Genode OS Framework 22.05 released

 The lineup of new PC device drivers mentioned above is one of the
 highlights of the just released Genode version 22.05. The revamped
 drivers not only bring the modern feature set of the respective
 Linux subsystems to Genode, but they also validate the efficiency
 of our new porting approach.

 The main spotlight of the current release, however, is the new
 support for WireGuard-based virtual private networks as a dedicated
 native Genode component. Thereby, easy-to-use state-of-the-art
 network security becomes available to Genode/Sculpt OS users.

 With the vision of a Genode-based smartphone being a recurring topic
 throughout the year, we are happy to report that Genode gained the
 principle ability to issue and receive voice calls with the PinePhone.

 Besides those prominent topics, the release comes with numerous
 framework improvements, reaching from a forthcoming new PC platform
 driver, over performance optimizations and usability refinements, to
 dynamic device management on FPGA-based Xilinx Zynq devices.
 The complete picture is presented in the official documentation:


 3. Second revision of Genode's SoC porting guide

 One year ago, we announced the first version of the Genode Platforms
 document, describing the process of porting Genode to a new hardware
 platform by taking the PinePhone as concrete example. Over the past
 year, we continued documenting this journey in the form of our Pine
 Fun article series at https://genodians.org. We have now condensed
 the gathered material into the second revision of the document.


 Compared to the first version that was mostly concerned with kernel
 and bare-bones user-level topics, the new content is focused on
 the complexities of driving the device hardware of modern SoCs,
 ranging from low-level pin controls, over networking, up to driving
 sophisticated devices like the display and touch screen. For the
 latter, the ability of reusing device drivers from the Linux kernel
 plays a crucial role. Hence, the guide presents Genode's practical
 methodology and tooling behind the black art of transplanting and
 reanimating unmodified Linux kernel code into Genode components.
 Along the way, there are countless little tips and tricks that help
 to turn low-level grunt work into a fun and worthwhile experience.

 If you ever wondered how to make sense of highly-complex ARM SoCs
 without accurate public documentation, what it takes to bring a
 modern microkernel from one SoC to another, how to transplant and
 re-animate individual Linux kernel subsystems into sandboxed
 user-level components, or how to craft a custom bare-bones operating
 system out of Genode's components, the new revision of the Genode
 Platforms document is for you!

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 Best regards

 Dr.-Ing. Norman Feske
 Genode Labs

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