Roadmap 2015

Tim Newsham tim.newsham at ...9...
Mon Dec 22 18:06:04 CET 2014

my two cents, tinted by my own personal world view (I
work in the security field) -- I think a great way to showcase
Genode's strengths (and the strengths of underlying kernels,
such as (soon) seL4) would be to port the chrome browser.
It's open source (and unfortunately very large), it's one of
the most important programs today, it is already designed
for security, and one of its strengths is its sandboxing of
components. However, chrome's sandbox is not nearly
as strong as it could be, and a capability based system
like Genode that can put together the minimal set of
necessary components would make a much stronger
sandbox. Chrome is already architected properly for this,
it would just needed to be ported appropriately with the
right platform support.

Chrome's security is among the best in the industry, but
it is still regularly defeated in challenges such as the
yearly pwn2own contest.

On Mon, Dec 22, 2014 at 1:22 AM, Norman Feske
<norman.feske at ...1...> wrote:
> Hello everybody,
> with New Year in sight, it is time to make up our minds regarding the
> plans for 2015. Everyone of you is invited to suggest directions that
> you find worthwhile to pursue - or even better - share your concrete
> plans with us. I intend to finalize the road map for 2015 by mid of January.
> Personally, I have three ambitions, namely the use of Genode as
> general-purpose OS, the base-hw kernel, and the seL4 kernel. Let me
> briefly revisit each of them.
> Genode as general-purpose OS
> ----------------------------
> We made big steps for pursuing Genode as general-purpose OS on x86-based
> platforms. I'd particularly like to highlight the following achievements:
> * The use of Rump kernels as file-system providers
> * VirtualBox with support for shared folders and guest networking
> * Intel wireless stack
> * New GUI stack
> That said, even though we are proud about the progress, we are still not
> there yet. So what keeps us back? I think that the answer is actually
> not technical. My observation is that each of us developers used to
> concentrate on individual features or technical challenges. But the
> integration of sophisticated system scenarios was left to only a few of
> us. Such integration feats were mainly motivated by a particular project
> or by a presentation. In order to make Genode fit for regular use, we
> will first need to make the composing of advanced systems a habit for
> most of the regular developers.
> I'd like to keep the topic as first priority in 2015 but concentrate
> less on features (as I think the feature set for us developers is fairly
> complete) but more on looking at Genode in a holistic way. I would like
> to see the following things realized:
> * A system booting from USB storage, which contains a VirtualBox
>   instance running a regular Linux-based OS besides native Genode
>   components. A shared folder is to be used to bridge both worlds.
>   We start out with working in the guest OS and then successively
>   move functionalities over to the Genode world. Those functionalities
>   are:
>   * Editing text, e.g., using Vim in a Noux environment
>   * Creating and starting Genode configurations on the fly
>   * Using a web browser in Genode
>   * Moving emails to the Genode world
>   * Use the Genode tool chain
>   * Using Git
>   I expect that we will stumble over several small issues and
>   inconveniences on our way, which gives us the right motivation
>   to rectify those things.
> * A way to easily install and use pre-packaged Genode subsystems.
>   I'd like to remove the burden to compile Qt5 + WebKit for everyone
>   who wants to use a web browser on Genode.
> * Tools for looking at the system at runtime to identify performance
>   hot spots. I'd love it identify strangely behaving components as
>   easily as running 'top' on Linux.
> * A solid solution for platform drivers (supporting MSIs and the
>   hot-plugging of devices). I.e., I'd like to access the content
>   of a plugged-in USB stick without the need to reboot the machine.
> * The evolution of our capability-based desktop environment, driven
>   by our actual requirements stemming from the daily use of Genode.
>   The system should be fun to use and put the user in control at
>   all times.
> * Making Genode components and libraries binary compatible across
>   different kernels. I see this as a prerequisite to offer binary
>   packages of Genode subsystems. The new dynamic linker introduced
>   in Genode 14.11 is an important step. The next step is the
>   unification of the Genode API across all kernels.
> Base-hw kernel
> --------------
> In 2014, our base-hw kernel made the transformation from a research
> vehicle to a feasible base platform for Genode. The past year brought a
> huge jump in terms of performance, MP support, a clean internal
> structure, and a new scheduler.
> In 2015 it will eventually become product-quality software. The only
> missing element is the support for capability-based security, which is
> being worked on right now. For base-hw, my wish list looks as follows:
> * Capability-based security
> * Integration of our existing ARM virtualization research
> seL4 kernel
> -----------
> I feel that the seL4 kernel and Genode could complement each other
> rather well. The use of seL4 as kernel would make Genode very appealing
> in application areas where both the kernel's formal verification and
> Genode's broad feature set are desired. From the perspective of the seL4
> developers, Genode would represent the first true microkernel-based
> general-purpose OS running on their kernel. I would hope that, by
> supporting seL4 as kernel for Genode, we may create an incentive for
> both developer teams to start collaborating more closely.
> These are my thoughts. I am looking forward to your ideas and comments.
> 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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Tim Newsham | | @newshtwit |

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