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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I feel like a thicko
by Laurence on Fri 30th Nov 2012 16:35 UTC
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I know I'm being ultra thick, but I've never managed to wrap my head around the point of Genode. And I don't mean this in a "why do we need another x, y, z" argument that people often raise when reading about a new OS et al.

What I mean is, I understand enough about Genode to understand that it's considerably different to what's already out there. And I understand enough about it to know that it's a very interesting project. But I've never been able to wrap my head around the jargon on their web site to grasp the true concept and ramifications of their project.

Is anyone able to dumb this down for someone who understands technology but is largely illiterate? hehe

Reply Score: 3

RE: I feel like a thicko
by nfeske on Fri 30th Nov 2012 16:55 in reply to "I feel like a thicko"
nfeske Member since:

I am afraid that your perception is not uncommon. I find it extremely difficult to express the appeal of Genode in simple words. In a recent interview for the Brazilian EspĂ­rito Livre Magazine, I tried it anyway. Maybe you'd like to skim over it, in particular the first two questions?

Please don't hesitate to check back with me if things remain still unclear. In any case, I would welcome suggestions of how we could make the point of Genode more clear for people approaching the project. Maybe you (with being in this position right now) have a good idea? ;-)

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: I feel like a thicko
by Laurence on Fri 30th Nov 2012 17:58 in reply to "RE: I feel like a thicko"
Laurence Member since:

That article does clear a lot up. Thank you very much (I would rep but OSNews has a rule that people who comment in articles cannot vote).

I think I can see why you guys have difficulty dumbing down for the layman (if you don't mind me saying that). It sounds like Genode has a very specific vision, but one that crosses so many fields of OS development that it's very difficult to give an overall summary.

I've read about Linux distributions that try to tackle similar issues by running each application within their own virtual machine, but I like your approach much more.

I do have a few questions, if you don't mind:

How do applications grant themselves access to different subsystems? Your article reminded me a little of iOS and Android apps where the OS specifically has to request access to various subsystems on their respective mobile platforms; and the user is prompted about the requested permissions. I'm guessing your solution is more sophisticated than this though.

However, and with my limited understanding of Genode, I wonder if the same scope for permission abuse is available that you see with mobile apps. ie developers deciding they need access to various additional subsystems to implement largely pointless application features. (eg a camera app having access to your contact list to implement MMS). This is an increasing problem these days as users are used to integrated ecosystems and oblivious to the dangers of sharing data across the various different applications.

The other big question your article raised was how you're able to borrow subsystems from monolithic kernels like Linux? Does that require Linux to be compiled in a special way to support Genode or does Genode have bespoke code to interface with an array of kernels? ie is Genode a bit like an API and kernels have to be hacked to link with the Genode, or do you have to hardcode support in Genode to interface with the various components?

The way I'm imagining this is a bit like a website: Websites are written to be served on any platform as the web servers act like the 'kernel' and allow web developer to concentrate on just writing their applications. And websites should run on the majority of browsers, but browsers need to support various web standards to work.

I'm imagining Genode a bit like the web site. It's the essential interface between the web servers (kernels) and the applications (browsers). Applications need to be compiled to support Genode's standards (else users a faced with a very restricted environment; like browsing the web in Lynx) but Genode aims to be platform independent (like PHP).

I know no analogy is perfect and I appretiate that Genode is looked to include some bespoke applications and kernels of it's own, but is that the basic structure / aim you're working to?

And one last question, could Genode be used as a foundation for hobbyist OSs? There was a discussion on OSNews a little while back where one commenter speculated that Genode could be used as a common driver stack, thus enabling hobbyist OS developers to focus on the fun stuff (writing pretty user interfaces).

I think when I've wrapped my head around this, I'm going to write a layman's guide to Genode to help raise awareness for this fascinating project.

Edited 2012-11-30 18:06 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3