Genode OS Framework release 21.11 Nov 30, 2021

Genode 21.11 puts the spotlight on device drivers. Interactive Genode scenarios come to the PinePhone, hardware-accelerated graphics becomes available on Intel Gen9+ and Vivante GPUs, and Xilnx Zynq receives new love.

The previous release presented our new take on porting drivers from Linux, and the architectural integration of hardware-accelerated graphics in Genode-based systems. The just released version 21.11 is the continuation of both topics. Thanks to our streamlined approach for transplanting Linux drivers to Genode, we were able to reuse the PinePhone's Linux drivers for the display and touchscreen without modification. But, in contrast to running those drivers in the Linux kernel, we are walking on new ground by confining each driver in a separate sandbox.

With our GPU line of work, we followed two major directions during the release cycle. For one, we applied our architectural approach to a second GPU vendor besides Intel, namely the Vivante GPU as used by the i.MX SoC family. Combined with the etnaviv Gallium driver of the Mesa library, Genode thereby becomes able to render graphics with hardware acceleration on the MNT Reform open-hardware laptop. The second branch is the promised extension of our custom Intel GPU multiplexer to GPUs of generation 9 or newer. Thereby, GPU support has now become a regular feature of the Genode-based Sculpt OS that can be taken for a spin on commodity PC hardware.

Regarding 32-bit ARM platforms, the current release revives our engagement with Xilinx Zynq devices, which combine FPGA fabric with a 32-bit ARM CPU. In particular, the release brings the framework to the USRP E310 board, opening new hardware-software co-design opportunities.

Besides the many hardware-related topics outlined above, two functional improvements stand out. First, the Genode version of VirtualBox 6 has reached feature parity with version 5. Both versions can now be used interchangeably on Sculpt OS. Finally, libSDL2 got upgraded with support for audio and OpenGL, which is a nice pathway for hosting games on Genode.

The new version is described in full detail by the release documentation of version 21.11...