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Operating Systems Virtualization

Genode OS 13.02 Features Low Latency Audio, Virtualization, Protected DMA 41

On the heels of their December release, the 13.02 release of the Genode multi-server microkernel OS framework continues to deliver major new features. Under the hood, there's support for the IOMMU, bringing safe bus master DMA to userspace drivers (overcoming one of the final advantages monolithic kernels had). They've also added full virtualization support, good enough to boot Linux as an application. In the cool department, they've added a new low latency audio interface that could very well pave the way for something akin to JACK, and right now provides a lightweight way for the system to beep at you in real time . A few more libraries have been ported (libssh, curl, iconv) in preparation for a port of git to the Noux native GNU runtime. There are also a bunch of other improvements to their NOVA microkernel, support for running on the Exynos 5250 and Freescale i.MX53, a new console multiplexer, improvements to the display server, simplification of the base libraries, and more. I'll be attempting to build it and give it a spin to see how well it works in practice sometime soon.
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Genode OS 13.02 Features Low Latency Audio, Virtualization, Protected DMA

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  • It's a HURG (Score:4, Funny)

    by TechyImmigrant ( 175943 ) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @02:54PM (#43037513) Homepage Journal

    HURG: Hurg of Unix Replacing Genodes

  • by marcello_dl ( 667940 ) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @03:04PM (#43037617) Homepage Journal

    No, I rather keep a monolithic kernel for performance. Then I'll enable some security hooks... and run server and sensitive stuff in a VM... hoping that the bare metal which I use for games won't get compromised... hmm...


    • Actually tanenbaum WAS right.

      Minix displays roughly a 4% slowdown at worst, which isn't really a lot. It's considerable that 18% of code should probably run in kernel. Application code doesn't experience such a slow-down. 4% of 18% is about 0.72% total. This is pathetically little, so much so that even if you hit it with a fully loaded Web server you're talking about a situation that would kill your server anyway (consider: as soon as you dip a few connections for 3-5 seconds, your system catches up t

      • by Yebyen ( 59663 )

        Whoa there! Have you actually tried Genode?

        Maybe you have, but I think that just because you can run Linux on it does not mean you must.

        I mean, sure, there's no built-in support for filesystems on block devices. I was kind of expecting to see that in the next release. But who needs read-write filesystems anyway? ^_^

        I don't follow you, just because Linux can run on L4, and Linux can run on Genode, and Genode can run on L4,
        Besides that... "another" L4Linux-alike? Where do you find them all? What news ou

        • There are a lot of "Microkernels" that amount to a core kernel and then "Linux runs on top of this because it's completely inadequate!" There are things like VMware ESXi that claim to be nothing more than a hypervisor; there are then all these microkernels that claim to be full-feature microkernels, but "are in development" and "have limitations" and "haven't been taken to their full potential" so they run a Linux kernel as a micorkernel service--they virtualize Linux and claim that you're running a microk
  • Looks very cool, but what exactly is their business model? It looks to me like this

    Step 1: build a cool microkernel
    Step 2: Port GNU tools
    Step 3: ???
    Step 4: Profit!
    • Looks very cool, but what exactly is their business model? It looks to me like this Step 1: build a cool microkernel Step 2: Port GNU tools Step 3: ??? Step 4: Profit!

      What was Linux's business model?

      • by Anonymous Coward
      • Looks very cool, but what exactly is their business model? It looks to me like this Step 1: build a cool microkernel Step 2: Port GNU tools Step 3: ??? Step 4: Profit!

        What was Linux's business model?

        Graduate student thesis?

    • Re:neat (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Unknown Lamer ( 78415 ) Works for Slashdot <> on Thursday February 28, 2013 @03:23PM (#43037865) Homepage Journal

      I think there's a lot of interest in microkernels right now in the mobile world... single chip, running something like OKL4 or Genode with GNU/Linux as a server and the radio stack as another server, completely isolated. It's easier to trust a small microkernel won't allow resources to leak between servers than it is to trust something huge like Xen.

  • by CanHasDIY ( 1672858 ) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @03:35PM (#43038019) Homepage Journal

    Will it blend?

    (wonder how many entendre we can generate with that one...)

  • by elucido ( 870205 ) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @03:36PM (#43038029)

    It looks like it is on the spot with virtualization but has anyone audited or inspected the code? Are any of these features comparable to Qubes? Why would I choose this OS?

    Just asking anyone more familiar with this project to explain to me the pros and cons compared to other projects.

  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @03:39PM (#43038063) Homepage

    They're making progress. The system now runs on bare hardware. For a while, it ran on top of Linux, more of a demo than an OS. Now it can run directly on ARM machines. That's useful. It should run on the Allwinner ARM parts from China ($7 each in bulk) and we may see products from China using it.

    It's interesting to read over the documentation, what there is of it. The "API reference" is links to C++ .h files which make heavy use of templates. Like this:

    typedef Meta::Type_tuple<Rpc_create_thread,
    > > > > > > > > > > > > > > Rpc_functions;

    Better for security to do it at compile time than at run time.

    • by Animats ( 122034 )

      Some of the strange-looking code comes from using C++ to serialize a sequence of parameters into a byte stream for message passing. The idea, I think, is that you write something that looks like a function call with parameters. Instead of pushing the parameters on the stack for a function call, the compiler turns them into a byte stream and sends them to a message passing interface. That makes sense, although it looks weird.

    • typedef Meta::Type_tuple<Rpc_create_thread,
      > > > > > > > > > > > > > > Rpc_functions;

      Now that's a _very_ interesting way to build a singly linked list at compile time. And you can append to it at runtime as well. And manipulate it. And all without a writing a single line of linked list management logic yourself and without bringing STL in. Just (ab)using language constructs.

      • It's funny reading the above C_FOR_LYFE diehard hackers above decrying this. I don't know, this is damn smart, get the language to hard boil a construct. Seriously awesome, although, it is an eyesore.

  • I'm glad this project is getting positive attention. It's my main source of hope that computer security will get fixed, for real. I won't miss virus scanners, having to worry about visiting web sites, opening email, etc. When my laptop can run it as a primary OS, I'm switching and never looking back.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    "Genode multi-server microkernel OS framework ... IOMMU ... safe bus master DMA to userspace drivers...something akin to JACK... git to the Noux ... NOVA ...Exynos 5250 and Freescale i.MX53." Language is becoming a complete impediment to understanding. At least it beeps at you.

"The number of Unix installations has grown to 10, with more expected." -- The Unix Programmer's Manual, 2nd Edition, June, 1972