Genode Clarification Please

Lonnie Cumberland lonnie at ...218...
Fri Dec 20 01:05:26 CET 2013

On Thu, Dec 19, 2013 at 5:29 PM, Udo Steinberg <udo at ...121...> wrote:

> On Wed, 18 Dec 2013 19:29:35 -0500 Lonnie Cumberland (LC) wrote:
> LC> Will you be posting an ISO of the project?
> We used to provide ISO images of NOVA+NUL in the past when no other
> combination was available. Nowadays you can run NOVA with NUL, NRE and
> Genode and Genode with a bunch of other kernels besides NOVA, so providing
> an ISO image for all the different combinations is not practical.
> I would suggest to compile your desired combination of projects from source
> code and then use "mkisofs" to build your own ISO image.
I was actually looking into this as well but have not, as of yet completed
the builds. This question yields from the thesis that you have on your site which is about "*Adding SMP Support to a User-Level VMM
<>*" I think thast SMP
support is vital to make NOVA a success but was not sure if it had been
implemented in the latest GIT code.

If I understand the connections thus far, NOVA is just the "Type 1"
hypervisor that provides Protection Domains, Executions Context, Scheduling
Context, Portal, and Semaphore services at Ring 0, while NUL (the original
VMM) & NRE (the successor but less mature VMM) provide the VMM for the
guest OS's (ie... Linux, etc...)

On the other hand, Genode is a OS framework for a microkernel that can be
compiled against various existing OS's to allow for an compatibility
interface to the Genode microkernel thus allowing legacy OS's like Linux to
run native applications on the Genode microkernel instead of the standard
existing monolithic kernels.

On the NOVA side, I have been trying to determine the best combination:


which will allow me to run a more complex version of Linux like Debian or
Ubuntu in a VM, but I am not currently sure if either the NRE or NUL VMM
can support this type of configuration in that drivers may not yet be
available in either VMM.

Additionally, I am wanting to work toward seeing if I can get, or see, a
Windows VM running under one of the VMM's (NRE or NUL) as I would basically
like to see windows and linux VM's running concurrently under NOVA or
possible bootable as on your older NOVA 0.3 demo iso.

LC> I have tried the past livecd of NOVA 0.3 that is using Tiny Core Linux
> in a
> LC> small VM, but what I would like to get worked out is NOVA with one VM
> LC> running a much larger Linux LiveCD (perhaps Debian or Ubuntu, etc..),
> LC> another VM possibly running ReactOS (just for testing of the VM) and a
> LC> third VM possibly with Genode as in their dated demo.
> I'm not sure why you would want to run Genode in a VM on top of NOVA.
> Genode
> can run directly on top of NOVA without the need for virtualization.
I am still trying to get a good feel for Genode, but I really think that a
solid micorkernel based distribution would be a very successful

I was able to run the "Genode Live CD 10.11" which is a bit outdated, but
really liked what I saw and would like to see a new "Genode Live CD 13.11"
to show off similar functionality as the older one. Additionally, I think
that Genode could make a GREAT independent distribution given the security
advances and very nice construction that has gone into both Genode and NOVA
for which I really do commend everyone who has been working on these
outstanding projects.

Playing with a number of ideas on that side of things, I think that a good
Genode distribution compiled against the Linux kernel could compete with
native monolithic Linux distributions like Debian, Centos and Ubuntu since
Genode has many better features given its design.

> LC> I am still figuring out NRE (which I have been able to compile) and
> have
> LC> been looking at NUL to try and see what it might take to develop a VM
> that
> LC> could run a "semi-windows" environment like ReactOS initially as the
> goal
> LC> would be to possibly run some version of Windows in a VM instead of
> ReactOS
> LC> which is really not useful at this stage. Is these (NOVA with Genode,
> LC> Debian/Ubuntu Linux, and Windows (ie. ReactOS perhaps for testing.) is
> LC> possible then I can start to see how to modify and develop the VM's
> that I
> LC> need for my distributed VM cluster although there is still much to
> learn
> LC> about NOVA and Genode during this learning curve.
> It's probably a good idea to try out the 3 different NOVA user-level
> frameworks (NUL, NRE, Genode) to see which one is best for your purposes.
> If you need help making a decision, it may be useful to post a list of
> requirements or a bunch of questions to this mailing list.
To sum up what I want to do is spread into 2 projects:

1. Take the NOVA + (NUL or NRE) and have it be able to run in one VMM a
current Linux distribution like Debian, Centos, or Ubuntu VM. And, in
another VMM have it run a Windows version.  From that point once it is
working, I will start to work on the next steps towards a distributed
cluster version. I am trying to determine if NRE has all of the same
capabilities as NUL. If so, then I will use NRE.

2. Take the Genode Live CD 13.11, once it comes out as a starting point and
slowly evolve it into a solid and completely independent OS distribution
that can compete with other Linux distributions like Debian, Centos, and
Ubuntu as well as run the same applications but only on Genode. I think
that the microkernel approach that is being used by Genode offers
significant security advantages over current monolithic kernel
distributions as well and seems to have many more advantages from what I
have seen thus far.

Although, I am still a bit new to both of these code bases, I really like
what I have seen in the way that you have coded these projects as well as
the efficiency that is built into each project.

Thanks again for taking the time to answer my naive questions that I should
evolve over time as I gain a better understanding of both NOVA and Genode.

PS) I hope that everyone has a Veryy Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

> Udo
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