Roadmap 2015

Norman Feske norman.feske at ...1...
Tue Dec 30 13:26:11 CET 2014

Hi Emery,

thank you for sharing your plans! Your exploration of combining Genode
with Nix is very interesting. It is great to learn that you will go
further in this direction. You asked about feedback, so here is mine. :-)

> * Formally benchmark Nix performance against Make.

Personally, I do not perceive the build performance as a pressing issue
(apart from Qt5 + Webkit). Hence, I would not spend too much effort on
benchmarking but rather focus on practical aspects.

> * Generate binary packages using existing Nix continuous integration tools
>    and Make rules for fetching them.

This is very interesting, in particular in the light of Wolfgang's
email. I still wonder what a Genode "package" actually is. Honestly, I
cannot answer this question right away. I hope that throughout 2015, it
will become more clear. Your line of work could be a valuable
contribution here.

> * Adapt the Nix packages collection to build its existing packages for
>    Noux. This similar to how packages may be built for Darwin or BSD,
>   I would abort converting Make rules for anything not required for
>    bootstrapping a Noux toolchain.

Even though that sounds intriguing at the first glance, I cannot say
that I regard the porting of Noux packages as a big hurdle right now. So
far, my attempts to port software packages that use the GNU build system
went actually fairly smooth. Personally, I am not so much interested in
a big volume of packages. In my day to day work, only a few packages are
actually used (the most significant gap in this respect is a proper
LaTeX environment). While porting software to Noux, the most prominent
stumbling blocks use to be functionalities missing from our C runtime
(e.g., if a program relies on Unix signals), performance bottlenecks, or
limitations of our terminal (e.g., lack of support for ANSI pseudo
graphics). None of those issues will go away with the switch of Noux
packages to Nix.

> * Work towards running virtualizing instances of NixOS, building the Genode
>    host and the NixOS guest concurrently.
> I have had success related to virtualizing, I have managed to integrate my
> build expressions with the NixOS system expression on my host machine,
> installing a NOVA scenario to my boot partition and GRUB menu. One could
> obviously do this with a set of scripts calling make, but in this way the
> Genode components are treated as system dependencies just as my linux host
> would treat its system services.
> I think the next logical step in this line of thought would be to build my
> Linux host system as an image optimized for Seoul, but I am traveling at
> the moment and virtualizing Seoul scenarios has been slow going with only a
> single laptop.

That looks interesting and very much in line with the plans I laid out
in my initial posting. But you approach the idea from a different angle.
I am curious where this development is heading.

As another idea, have you considered to port Nix to Noux? That would
further blur the line between NixOS and Genode.


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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