Road Map

Herein, we lay out our plans for evolving Genode. Progress in addition to this planning will very much depend on the degree of community support the project will receive. The Challenges page collects some of our ideas to advance Genode in various further directions.

The road map is not fixed. If there is commercial interest of pushing the Genode technology to a certain direction, we are willing to revisit our plans.

Review of 2014

Most of the progress in 2014 was motivated by our goal to use Genode as general-purpose OS on x86-based platforms. To highlight a few achievements, we started to use Rump kernels as file-system providers, enabled VirtualBox on NOVA, pulled off the engineering feat to run the Intel Wireless stack natively on microkernels, and came up with a new GUI architecture. We regard these features as the groundwork to make Genode a feasible platform for day-to-day computing.

That said, even though we are proud about the progress, we are still not there yet. So what keeps us back? The answer is actually not technical. Most developments over the past years were concerned with individual features or technical challenges. But the integration of sophisticated system scenarios was a rare occurrence. For the most part, such integration activities were solely triggered by a particular project or by a presentation. In order to make Genode fit for regular use, we need to make the composing of advanced systems a habit for most of the regular developers.

Big picture for 2015

On the account of this realization, the overall theme of 2015 will be the consolidation and cultivation of the existing feature set rather than the conquering of new grounds. This implies the following topics:

  • Advancing our automated test and integration infrastructure towards the continuous integration of real-world system scenarios,

  • Fostering good-quality documentation,

  • Optimization of performance and stability,

  • Improvement of our tooling

Furthermore, we have to address outstanding limitations of the most commonly used base platforms, namely base-hw and NOVA. I.e., only with kernel-protected capabilities, base-hw can be considered as a viable base platform for security-critical systems, and only with proper kernel-resource management, NOVA can be recommended as a kernel for general-purpose computing.

Besides the cultivation of the existing feature set, there will still be room for new things. We are particularly excited about the prospect of combining Genode with the seL4 kernel and the Nix package manager. Furthermore, we desire to continue the work on our new GUI architecture towards a capability-based desktop environment.

Milestones for 2015

In the following, we present a rough schedule of the planned work. As usual, it is not set in stone. If you are interested in a particular line of work, please get in touch.

February - Release 15.02

  • ARM virtualization on top of the base-hw kernel

  • Modularized tooling for automated tests

May - Release 15.05

  • Comprehensive documentation of the Genode foundations

  • Kernel-protected capabilities for the base-hw kernel

  • seL4 microkernel as base platform

  • Refined platform-driver architecture (support for MSIs, assignment of I/O resources to drivers, standardized configuration)

August - Release 15.08

  • Capability-based desktop environment allowing the interactive installation and management of Genode subsystems and the interaction with files

  • Accommodation of typical desktop-computing tasks (e.g., email)

  • Interactive tools for observing the system behavior

  • NOVA kernel-resource management

November - Release 15.11

  • Achieving cross-kernel binary compatibility

  • Package management

  • Modern web browser