Linked by nfeske on Thu 29th Nov 2012 17:38 UTC
OSNews, Generic OSes With the just released version 12.11, the developers of the Genode OS Framework are celebrating the break-through to execute the entire build system based on GCC 4.7.2 within their genuine operating-system environment. The new release gets accompanied with new audio drivers from the Open Sound System project, extended support for OMAP4, and numerous stability and performance improvements concerning the underlying kernel platforms.
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RE[5]: I feel like a thicko
by nfeske on Tue 4th Dec 2012 11:03 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: I feel like a thicko"
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Thanks for following the discussion!

BTW, in by "main-stream computing" (middle of first answer) you mean user-facing/visible, I suppose? Don't some microkernels see wide adoption - just hidden from view a bit, ~embedded?... (also ~L4, so related to your Dresden efforts?) And I love the 4th answer, transformers and Lego analogy ;)

Indeed, microkernels seem to be everywhere but mostly go unnoticed. For example, did you know that there is a microkernel running in the Samsung Galaxy S3? (see here for a press release on that:

Also in safetly-critical systems, microkernels are ubiquitous. Because the correct functioning of such systems needs to be thoroughly evaluated, the use of microkernels is advantageous to split one complex system into several less complex parts, which can be looked at individually. Those uses of microkernel technology, however, are what I call "special-purpose computing". Those solutions are not designed to scale to dynamic and general-purpose workloads. This is where Genode is different as our declared goal is to scale beyond special-purpose application domains.

That said, there already exist microkernel-based general-purpose OSes. Minix3 or QNX come in mind. However, the user-land architectures of these OSes largely resemble the same concepts as used on monolithic systems, namely Unix / POSIX and a VFS. Genode radically departs from this classical POSIX approach and instead applies microkernel principles and in particular the principle of least privilege to the whole system, not just the kernel. So in contrast to those existing OSes, the critical parts of Genode do not carry the legacy of POSIX with it. It just happened that the resulting Genode API is capable to implement POSIX on top. This is the role of Noux, which I think is a quite fascinating approach to align POSIX compatibility with Genode's architecture.

Generally, too bad that "good enough is the enemy of better" ...the landscape, which form of OS will dominate, might be possibly largely decided; it would be a shame if all this remained mostly an academic curiosity. (maybe it's a bad sign when the project is hard to explain; or maybe the laymen always see ~permission mechanisms as too convoluted ;) - like it was with UAC, and that not even a very extreme mechanism)

We certainly do not strive for domination. :-) As I expressed in the interview, I think that Genode will eventually become integrated into devices without most people being aware of it's presence - similar of how most consumers that buy the Android brand do not realize that they are using Linux.

Are there any notable entities expressing their interest already? (maybe not necessarily the kinds of Red Hat or Google with their million or so servers and Android, but something which could already determine if the project goes somewhere)

Indeed, there is commercial interest. We actually built our small company around this technology and maintain a sustainable business by supporting the framework and conducting industrial research related to Genode. Hence, for me personally, the project already has gotten somewhere. :-)

As a surprising turn of events, there is even commercial interest in using Genode on top of Linux. Apparently, the qualities that the framework brings to the world of microkernels turned out to be valuable on Linux, too. This was quite unexpected.

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