Genode OS Framework release 21.05 May 31, 2021

Version 21.05 introduces webcam support, features an encrypted file vault for Sculpt OS, and adds new drivers for the i.MX8 SoC and Pine-A64. Furthermore, it is accompanied with a new tool chain based on GCC 10 and new guidance documentation for driver development.

Device-driver support remains a prominent topic for almost every release. The just released version 21.05 is no exception, touching hardware topics ranging from USB, over I2C on i.MX8, over GPIO on Pine-A64, to networking on RISC-V. Until now, such nitty-gritty driver-development work has been pursued almost exclusively by the core team at Genode Labs. To encourage developers outside the inner circle to join the fun, the release is accompanied with the initial version of a comprehensive guidance documentation for hardware-related topics.

Feature-wise the two highlights of the new version are webcam support and an easy-to-use encrypted file store based on our custom CBE block encrypter. As detailed by the release documentation, both features leverage Genode's architecture in unique ways to attain high flexibility without an inflation of complexity.

The release is rounded up by a new tool chain based on GCC 10 and Binutils 2.36, profound performance optimizations, framework refinements, and new assistive tooling for porting Linux drivers. All the details of the new version are covered by the official release documentation of version 21.05...

Sculpt OS 21.03 boots now in 2.5 seconds May 03, 2021

We have released an updated Sculpt 21.03 image featuring several hardware-compatibility tweaks and performance improvements.

Since the official Sculpt OS 21.03 release end of March, we continued our efforts with refining the user experience and broadening hardware compatibility, thanks to the user feedback we received. We have now released an updated system image that includes those refinements as well as several performance optimizations that boost the boot time of Sculpt to less than 2.5 seconds from the first life sign of the kernel to the graphical user interface (measured on a 5-years old Lenovo x250 laptop).

You can get the new version of the system image named sculpt-21-03b at the Sculpt OS download page. It is binary compatible with the original release version. So you can use it as a drop-in-replacement.

For manually reproducing the image, please refer to the corresponding Git branch.

Sculpt OS release 21.03 Mar 24, 2021

Version 21.03 of the Sculpt operating system makes the system resilient against classes of driver failures, adds configurable real-time priorities, and introduces interfaces for screen capturing and user-event injection.

Sculpt OS 21.03 incorporates the many improvements of the latest two Genode releases. Thanks to Genode's concept of pluggable device drivers, the system has reached a new level of robustness against malfunctioning drivers. For example, if the Intel graphics driver trips over an unsupported external display, the driver gets automatically restarted while all graphical applications keep running. Or as another example, should the overly complex Wifi driver have a hick-up, it can be restarted with a simple mouse click without harming the networking stacks running on top.

Even though Genode supports static-priority scheduling since more than a decade, Sculpt did not make this feature available to end users so far. The new version changes that. For each component, the user can now take a deliberate decision about the hard scheduling priority, e.g., prioritizing latency-critical multi-media applications over computational workloads or virtual machines.

Speaking of workloads, to push the limits of what is possible with Sculpt OS, the new version introduces additional interfaces that can be assigned to components. First, it has become possible to redirect the interaction of a component with the kernel through another component, thereby enabling features like dynamic CPU-load balancing to be implemented as plain user-level services. Second, there are new interfaces for capturing the screen and for injecting input events. The latter interfaces pave the ground for virtual keyboards, screen-sharing application, or remote administration scenarios.

Under the hood, there are plenty of improvements that make the life of Sculpt users better. The keyboard layout can now be picked from a menu. The Chromium-based Falkon web browser runs circles around the previous version. Menu items and file lists appear nicely sorted. Terminal windows immediately respond to global font-size changes. On modern Intel machines, Sculpt leverages Intel Hardware P-states (HWP) for power and thermal management now. You can find an illustrated tour of these and more changes in a dedicated article at

The updated manual goes into detail about the use of the new system.

The ready-to-use system image for version 21.03 is available at the Sculpt download page.

Genode OS Framework release 21.02 Feb 25, 2021

The highlights of version 21.02 are the addition of VirtualBox 6, mobile-data connectivity via LTE, pluggable network drivers, initial support for the Pine-A64-LTS board, and revived work on RISC-V.

Many topics of the current release draw a connection to our overarching goal to use Genode on the Pinephone by the end of the year. Besides the obvious steps of enabling the hardware - starting with the Pine-A64-LTS board - the release introduces mobile-data connectivity as a Genode feature, and changes the network-driver architecture in anticipation of dynamic power-management schemes.

For PC hardware, the flagship feature of version 21.02 is the addition of VirtualBox 6, giving us the prospect to eventually replace the aging port of VirtualBox 5. Speaking of VirtualBox, the release comes with profound improvements of the USB-device pass-through abilities, most importantly covering audio headsets.

Besides these prominent features, the new version comes with many further improvements. Just to name a few, virtual machines on ARM have become able to provide VirtIO-block devices to guests, named pipes can now be used to connect components, Genode's RISC-V support received an update to ISA spec 1.10, and OpenSSL has been bumped to version 1.1.1. For the full story, please refer to the release documentation of version 21.02...

Road Map for 2021 Jan 15, 2021

In 2021, we plan to bring Genode to the Pinephone, advance the framework's GPU support, and focus on development workflows.

During the annual road-map discussion on Genode's public mailing list, the following hot topics for this year emerged.

First and most inspiring for many Genode developers, we aspire to have Genode running on the Pinephone with basic feature-phone functionality by the end of the year. Since this will involve substantial device-driver-related developments, the team will take this line of work as an opportunity to advance the tooling and workflows for carrying out such tasks. This, in turn, will hopefully ease the on-boarding of new driver developers in the future.

Closely related to the Pinephone scenario, the project will make optimizations a top priority this year. The opportunities are plenty, ranging from micro-optimizations, over API refinements, to architectural changes if needed.

Another recurring topic is the request for GPU support, which is required by many modern workloads such as video conferencing or streaming on mobile device. Therefore, we will revamp our past developments of GPU multiplexing on Intel hardware while also starting the investigation of GPUs on ARM-based devices.

More information about our review of the past year, this year's focus, and a rough schedule are presented at our official road-map page.