Genode OS Framework release 21.08 Aug 31, 2021

The highlights of Genode 21.08 are revamped GPU support as well as new drivers for the PinePhone and MNT-Reform laptop based on a new streamlined approach for porting Linux kernel code. Further topics range from VirtualBox improvements, over media playback in the native web browser, to LTE connectivity in Sculpt OS.

For complex driver stacks, Genode largely relies on code ported from other operating systems. The Linux kernel plays a special role because - being the basis for Android - it is the de-facto reference for driving the peripherals of most ARM SoCs. Up to now, however, the porting efforts of driver code from Linux to Genode used to be a time-intensive affair, which forced a narrow focus on very few SoCs on us. With the streamlined porting approach introduced with the new release, we become able to dramatically reduce the costs, creating the prospect of a much broader hardware support. The first success stories of the new way of porting are added graphics drivers for the PinePhone and the MNT-Reform laptop, a network driver for the Pine-A64-LTS board, and an SD-card driver for the MNT-Reform.

The second spotlight of the release is the largely revamped support for Intel GPUs. In contrast to our experimental GPU-related work of the past, we have now identified a way to cleanly integrate GPU support into the GUI architecture of sophisticated Genode systems such as Sculpt OS. This work is accompanied with an up-to-date version of the Mesa library stack. In combination with the improvements of our custom GPU multiplexer, we are now on a good track to make the use of hardware-accelerated graphics a commodity on Genode.

Even though most topics of the current release revolve around low-level driver-related work, the new version improves higher-level functionality as well. In particular, it adds the modular integration of mobile-data connectivity to Sculpt OS and enables media playback for our port of the Chromium web engine. Those and more topics are described in the detailed release documentation of version 21.08...