Genode OS Framework release 16.11 Nov 30, 2016

Version 16.11 revisits the most fundamental low-level protocols of the framework to further improve its scalability, refines the virtual networking facilities, adds support for smart cards, and improves the NOVA kernel.

The fundamental mechanism of Genode is the interplay between parent and child components. This interplay remained unchanged since the very first version more than ten years ago. With the current release, we ultimately took the chance to revisit those low-level aspects of the framework in the light of the design of modern components. Specifically, we replaced the former fully synchronous model of interaction with asynchronous communication. Even though this change is barely visible at the API level of the framework, it greatly eases the validation of the framework's most crucial components and facilitates the scaling-up of Genode-based systems.

As the second prominent improvement, we refined the design and configuration interface of the recently introduced network routing facilities. Whereas the initial version was primarily concerned with the details of network packet processing, the new version is tailored to the most prominent use cases and towards the ease of use.

Further highlights of the current release are the added support for using smart cards, kernel improvements of the NOVA hypervisor, updated VirtualBox versions, and a virtual file system for generating time-based passwords.

The topics are covered in more detail by the release documentation of version 16.11...

Genode OS Framework release 16.08 Aug 31, 2016

Genode 16.08 makes the entirety of the framework's drivers, protocol stacks, and libraries available on the seL4 kernel, brings VirtualBox 4 to the Muen separation kernel, and hosts VirtualBox 5 on top of the NOVA kernel. Further highlights are virtual networking and TOR, profound Zynq board support, and tools for statistical profiling.

With the current release, the interoperability of Genode with different OS kernels comes to a great effect. By completing the implementation of the framework's base mechanisms for seL4, literally hundreds of existing Genode components become suddenly available to the seL4 community. In a different arena, Genode serves as enabler to run commodity OSes like Windows via VirtualBox on top of the Muen separation kernel.

The cross-kernel portability of components is certainly a key feature of the framework and version 16.08 pushes this idea even further by attaining binary compatibility across the various supported kernels. In fact, compiled once, the same component can be executed on kernels as different as seL4 and Linux.

Speaking of components, the current release extends the framework's library of ready-to-use building blocks in several areas. Most prominently, there are new network-related components for routing traffic, using TOR, and for distributing Genode over the network. Other added components are concerned with improving the use of Genode as a general-purpose OS, or to aid the optimization of components by the means of statistical profiling. Version 16.08 is further complemented with added board support for devices based on Xilinx Zynq, including drivers for GPIO, video DMA, SD cards, and I2C.

These and many more topics are covered in detail by the release documentation of version 16.08...

Genode OS Framework release 16.05 May 27, 2016

With version 16.05, the Genode API receives a fundamental revision. The list of further improvements ranges from the introduction of Rust, over improved GDB support, to a profound update of many device drivers and ACPI features.

The current release marks the most profound API revision in the project's history. The new API is designed to reinforce the best practices for implementing Genode components. It is the result of countless experiments and the practical experiences made while developing over hundred genuine components during the past ten years.

The introduction of the new API prompted us to rework our documentation. In particular, Genode 16.05 is accompanied with a new edition of the "Genode Foundations" book that incorporates all architectural changes and interface modifications of the past year.

The second focus of the current release is the major update of device drivers. All the drivers that we ported from the Linux kernel correspond now to Linux version 4.4.3. Those drivers comprise the Intel wireless stack, the Intel graphics driver, the USB drivers, and the TCP/IP stack. The updated OpenBSD-based audio driver corresponds to OpenBSD 5.9.

Apart from the revision of the base framework and device drivers, Genode gains the ability to use the Rust programming language, makes many ACPI features accessible, and allows the use of the GNU debugger with the 64-bit version of the NOVA hypervisor.

The complete story behind these and many more changes is covered by the release documentation of version 16.05...

How Genode came to RISC-V Mar 22, 2016

Our new article provides a look behind the scenes of porting Genode to the RISC-V hardware architecture.

The experience report How Genode came to RISC-V complements our recent announcement about Genode's added RISC-V support with in-depth technical information. It briefly introduces the parts of the instruction set architecture (ISA) that were most relevant for the porting work, presents various challenges we encountered, and explains how we overcame them.

The article is written with two target audiences in mind: People interested in practical experiences with RISC-V, and developers who aspire to port Genode to new CPU architectures. Read the article...

Genode OS Framework release 16.02 Feb 26, 2016

Genode 16.02 introduces the RISC-V hardware architecture to the framework, enables the secure pass-through of USB devices to virtual machines, and updates the Muen separation kernel and the seL4 microkernel.

In contrast to the feature-oriented previous release, the new version focuses on diverse topics around low-level platform support. First, there is the addition of a new hardware architecture. With the addition of RISC-V, we anticipate future trustworthy open-source hardware platforms.

Second, as the major functional addition motivated by Genode's use as day-to-day OS, the new version adds the ability to assign USB devices to virtual machines in a dynamic yet secure way. This clears the way to cover many typical desktop work-flows with a Genode-based system.

With respect to the framework's underlying kernels, we are happy to announce the update of the Muen separation kernel to version 0.7 and the update of the seL4 kernel to version 2.1. The new version of Muen comes with welcome work-flow improvements. In fact, the separation kernel can now be targeted by Genode's automation tools in the same uniform way as all the other base platforms.

An in-depth coverage of these and many more improvements is provided by the release documentation of version 16.02...

Road Map for 2016 Jan 15, 2016

We finalized the road map for 2016, which is primarily focused on extending the community of users.

After having passed the point where a few enthusiasts use Genode as their day-to-day OS, it is time to extend the user base beyond the inner circle of developers. The road map outlines the plan to make Genode appealing to two target audiences, namely system builders and a narrow group of privacy-considerate end users. Hence, the overall theme of 2016 is to help a growing community to leverage the full potential of Genode.

The new road map is available at the road-map page.

Genode at FOSDEM 2016 Jan 12, 2016

There are four Genode-related talks scheduled at this year's FOSDEM, covering the USB Armory, seL4, the Nix package manager, and Genode as desktop OS.

FOSDEM is the worlds biggest gathering of open-source and free-software enthusiasts. It takes place during 30 and 31 of January in Brussels. This year, Genode will show a strong presence again. On Saturday, Emery, Martin, and Norman will contribute to the microkernel devroom. On Sunday, we have the opportunity to present the current state of Genode as desktop OS at the desktops devroom. The summary of the Genode-related parts of the FOSDEM schedule is as follows.

Saturday 10:40 An exploration of the seL4 kernel from Genode's perspective Microkernel devroom (K.4.601) abstract...

Saturday 14:10 Porting Nix to Genode - Package management without a canonical file system Microkernel devroom (K.4.601) abstract...

Saturday 15:55 Genode's TrustZone demo on the USB Armory Microkernel devroom (K.4.601) abstract...

Sunday 10:20 Genode as Desktop OS Desktops devroom (K.4.401) abstract...