Road map 2013

John Bessa john.bessa at ...9...
Fri Jan 4 18:46:47 CET 2013

Thanks for this bulletin, seriously.  I just joined the list, and while I
understand the importance of an "agnostic" framework, I was having
difficulty comprehending your goals.

Regards from Canada, John

On Fri, Jan 4, 2013 at 8:55 AM, Norman Feske
<norman.feske at ...1...>wrote:

> Hello and happy New Year everybody,
> the advent of 2013 is a good opportunity to make up our minds about
> Genode's road map for this year. But before I will start with explaining
> my preferences, I'd like to outline my thoughts about the last year's
> road map.
> In 2012, we labeled our activities as "Eating our own dog food". Our
> goal was to bring Genode into a shape that makes it usable as working
> environment for conducting Genode development. On our road-map website
> ( we listed a long list of desirable
> goals. Looking through the list makes me proud of our achievements. Just
> to name a few highlights, there is the ability to build Genode on
> Genode, SSH, lighttpd, the new file-system infrastructure, the new DDE
> linux and DDE OSS. But even though the list is impressive and the pieces
> nicely come together, we are not quite there yet to realistically make
> the switch to Genode as development environment. Two major missing
> points are a solid UI concept that leverages Genode's unique
> architecture and a "real" file system. You will find those points in my
> suggestions for this year's road map below.
> Even though we missed our ambitious main goal for 2012, there is no
> cause for despair. There are indeed many achievements in addition to our
> road-map items to be proud of. The most visible addition is the thorough
> support for ARM-based platforms reaching from versatile express, over
> freescale i.MX, to OMAP4. Another amazing development is the added
> base-hw platform that enables Genode to be executed without a 3rd-party
> kernel. Furthermore, the largely revised support for the Linux base
> platform makes Genode fit to be used as component framework on Linux,
> which is a quite unexpected turn of events.
> So what is coming next?
> >From my point of view, I see four major construction sites that we
> should address this year: framework infrastructure, self-hosting,
> tooling and optimizations, and hardware support.
> Framework infrastructure
> ========================
> The primary group of people Genode tries to cater well are developers
> and integrators of systems. Genode is meant as a tool box to empower
> those people to build real-world component-based system solutions. From
> this audience, we receive requests for improvements in the following areas:
> * Multi-processor support: On some base platforms, SMP support is
>   available but the framework still misses a holistic concept to
>   manage and configure the use of multiple CPUs.
> * Storage: Block-device access is a general concern. Even though we
>   laid the foundations for Genode's storage infrastructure, several
>   pieces are still missing, in particular a "real" (non-FAT) file
>   system, block/file/directory caching, and I/O scheduling. Without
>   those pieces, there is no way to achieve the application performance
>   that we desire.
> * Networking: The current TCP/IP performance using lwIP has room
>   for improvement. So I'd like to find a solution to bring TCP/IP
>   performance on Genode on par with Linux. Maybe this means to find
>   the bottlenecks in our lwIP port, or even going for another TCP/IP
>   stack?
> * Qt5: Now that Qt5 is officially released, we should consider to
>   switch from Qt4 to Qt5.
> * Low-latency audio: The current audio_out-session interface was
>   our first shot into the direction of audio processing. To enable
>   use cases where streaming audio and sporadic sounds must be
>   accommodated at the same time, we need to revise our approach.
>   There is already work in progress on this topic.
> * Cryptography
>   * Random numbers
>   * Block-device encryption
> Self-hosting
> ============
> The second major topic is redeeming the promise stated for the past year
> - using Genode as a real-world OS. The following pieces are missing.
> Compared to the list on the old road map, this one is rather small. So I
> am very positive!
> * UI concept for pleasant working environment
>   * Tiled window manager
>   * Terminal improvements (e.g., scroll buffer)
>   * Noux improvements (e.g., signals)
> * Tools
>   * Git (work is already in progress)
>   * Mail user agent
>   * Instant-messaging software
>   * Support for 'make prepare' (e.g., SVN, wget, mawk)
>   * Support for run tool: expect, Qemu
> Tooling and optimization
> ========================
> Now that Genode's work loads get ever more complex, we feel the
> drastically increased need to understand its inner behavior and detect
> possible black holes where the performance goes.
> When the system scenarios were rather small, printf-debugging was quite
> feasible. But now, with multiple instances of Noux running concurrently
> with several drivers, we need better tools for understanding, debugging,
> and tracing the system. In a component-based system like Genode, the
> creation of such tooling support of especially challenging because we
> need to walk on new grounds. In my opinion, good tooling is key to
> direct our efforts spent with performance optimizations. The goal should
> be to ultimately debunk the slow performance of microkernel-based
> systems as a myth.
> Hardware support
> ================
> The attractiveness of our framework corresponds to the degree of
> hardware support. Since we want to make Genode more attractive, we need
> to continue our efforts with creating custom drivers, porting drivers,
> and enabling platforms. The following points are the most interesting
> ones from my point of view:
> * Intel architecture
>   * IOMMU support
>   * Improved virtualization support (Vancouver on NOVA)
>   * Intel wireless
> * ARM architecture
>   * Extending support for SoC platforms
>   * TrustZone
> Of course, Genode's road map for 2013 is not meant to be dictated by me.
> Please chime in, discuss the topics above and propose additional items.
> I hope that we will reach consent for the goals of this year by mid
> January. Then I will update the official road map on the website.
> Cheers
> Norman
> --
> Dr.-Ing. Norman Feske
> Genode Labs
> ·
> Genode Labs GmbH · Amtsgericht Dresden · HRB 28424 · Sitz Dresden
> Geschäftsführer: Dr.-Ing. Norman Feske, Christian Helmuth
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