Roadmap 2014

buzz heavyyear buzzheavyyear at ...16...
Thu Jan 2 15:49:41 CET 2014

Happy New Year!
I, for one, will be spending time on base-hw, hopefully full time in second quarter '14. Main focus will be on arm a7-cortex, although I should be able to find time for RPi and OpenRisc. Should be able to contribute something towards making base-hw 'the' first-tier platform by the end of the year ;)

> Date: Thu, 2 Jan 2014 12:27:27 +0100
> From: norman.feske at ...1...
> To: genode-main at
> Subject: Roadmap 2014
> Happy New Year everybody!
> Leaving the year 2013 behind us, it's time to recapture what we achieved
> in the past 12 months and to lay out the activities for this year. I am
> planning to update our official road map by mid of January and seek your
> input for doing so.
> Review of the past year
> -----------------------
> In 2013, we worked on four construction sites: Framework infrastructure,
> self-hosting, tooling and optimization, and hardware support. When
> reviewing the road map for 2013, it is great to see that we largely
> lived up to our planning.
> The framework infrastructure was enhanced with concepts for managing
> CPUs on multi-processor systems and for dynamically balancing memory
> resources, it received new audio and file-system capabilities, and, with
> the addition of Qt5 and the lxIP stack, we could enable highly
> sophisticated workloads natively on Genode.
> On our endeavour of self-hosting Genode on Genode, we could eliminate
> long-standing show stoppers for several base platforms. We were able to
> improve them to the point where we can routinely execute Genode's tool
> chain across several base platforms such as NOVA and Fiasco.OC as part
> of our nightly automated tests. On the user-facing side, a new
> command-line interface has seen the light of the day.
> Two highlights when it comes to tooling were the new event tracing
> facilities, and profound support for automated testing. Thanks to the
> latter, we expose Genode to over 500 test runs including automated
> performance benchmarks. By executing those tests each night, we have
> become able to resolve regressions before they enter the master branch.
> So the master branch remains always in a good shape.
> As expected for an operating-system project, most of our work was spent
> on hardware support. On x86, we added IOMMU support, and the
> virtualization capabilities on NOVA have seen a major upgrade. On ARM,
> we enabled or vastly enhanced the device drivers for Samsung Exynos 5,
> Freescale i.MX, and Raspberry Pi. We also explored the possibilities of
> combining Genode with ARM TrustZone.
> Only two topics, namely Intel wireless and a new user interface concept
> had been deferred. We decided to postpone the Intel wireless topic to
> address gigabit networking instead. Even though the new user-interface
> concept served as a strong motivation behind many improvements of the
> base system such as dynamic reconfiguration and dynamic resource
> balancing, the work on those fundamentals left little room to bring
> forward the actual GUI concept. Now that those pieces are in place, we
> can go full steam ahead.
> The most surprising topic that was not clearly laid out in our last
> year's road map is the advancement of the base-hw platform. Started as a
> mere experiment, it received so much love and attention that it
> unexpectedly became able to host the whole universe of Genode's software
> stack.
> What are we up to?
> ------------------
> Well, the answer to this question is not set in stone. Here are my
> suggestions:
> * Improved handling of 3rd-party code:
>   Many new users of Genode stumble over the installation of
>   3rd-party code. It is not obvious to see which packages are
>   required for a particular run script. Instead, users have to deal
>   with confusing error messages when a needed package is not
>   installed. We should definitely fix this inconvenience.
> * The base-hw platform
>   * Multi-processor support
>   * Kernel-protected capability-based security
>   * Exploring ARM's virtualization extensions
> * C runtime:
>   * Revisit libc plugin concept to make the configuration of per-
>     process virtual file systems as easy as it is for Noux. By
>     making Noux' VFS implementation reusable for the libc, normal
>     Genode programs could leverage stacked file systems in very
>     flexible ways.
>   * Abandon helper threads in favour for asynchronous I/O handling,
>     improving performance and the simplicity of the libc-internal
>     code.
> * Storage:
>   The work on the file-system stack is in full swing. Personally, I
>   desire a journaling file system as well as a block cache.
> * Device drivers:
>   * Intel wireless
>   * Merged SATA drivers: Right now, the high-performance SATA 3.0
>     driver for the Exynos-5 SoC does not share any code with the
>     older SATA driver for x86. We should consolidate both
>     implementations to get good disk performance on x86.
> * Virtualization on NOVA/x86:
>   Port of a "mainstream" VMM to Genode/NOVA. I am a fan of the Seoul
>   (ex Vanvouver) VMM. However, I get repeatedly asked for features
>   that people universally expect but that are unavailable on Seoul,
>   i.e., Windows guest support. In the future, I'd like to pull a
>   positive answer to such questions out of my sleeve.
> * User-interface concept:
>   This topic must look like a running gag, but it is not. :-)
> * Hardware-accelerated graphics:
>   Even though we looked into this topic some years ago with the
>   experimental port of Gallium3D and the Intel GPU driver, we left
>   the code almost unattended since then. However, with more and more
>   software relying on OpenGL ES2.0 (I am looking at QML in
>   particular), we definitely need to re-address the problem. In the
>   meantime, the Intel Linux graphics stack and Mesa have advanced a
>   lot. So we might even start looking at the problem from scratch.
> * Noux performance optimizations:
>   The Noux runtime has reached a state where it runs Unix tools
>   including GCC reliably. But it is not very fast in doing so. To
>   make it more pleasant to use Noux for day-to-day work, we should
>   start to optimize.
> The points above are merely my personal preferences.
> What are topics that you wish to see in Genode throughout the year 2014?
> Or are you working on a particular feature that you plan to integrate
> into Genode?
> 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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