About Genode

Stefan Kalkowski stefan.kalkowski at ...1...
Thu Feb 25 11:04:47 CET 2016

Hi Pramod,

welcome to the list!

On 02/25/2016 04:41 AM, Pramod Herath wrote:
> Hello Genode Community!
> I'm Pramod, a student in Computer Engineering. As a project assignment, we
> were asked to search for new developments in software/hardware used for
> embedded applications and do a presentation on it to the class. I was
> searching for a topic when I stumbled upon Genode.
> I read through some of the documentation and I think I do understand a
> little bit. But I still have some confusion about it. Therefore I decided
> to contact you for help. Here are few questions I have to raise:
> Genode is an OS framework. It is not an OS on it's own accord but could
> just supply a bare minimum kernel functionality for some OS you would
> develop. Am I correct here? Please correct me if I'm wrong, but as far as I
> understood, other microkernels such as L4 do a similar thing. How is Genode
> different?

Well, that is not fully appropriate. Although, Genode claims to be no
OS, but an OS framework, it provides much more than a L4-like kernel
API. "Genode is no OS" means it is not an Ubuntu-like or Windows-like
OS, or special-purpose network router OS, Android OS, but it is a box
full of components (like Lego bricks) that can be combined to form all
of these kinds of "special purpose" OSes for Desktop PCs, embedded
devices, or servers.
So it aims to build the foundation for different flavors of Genode OSes.
Thereby it makes also use of a lot of existing open-source software
(among others: different L4-like kernels), but it defines how these
software components interact, their dependencies and trust-relations
etc.. In contrast to past microkernel research Genode focuses not solely
on the kernel component, but concerns the userland too.

> Also, can you run a mainstream OS such as Ubuntu on top of Genode with or
> without modifications ?

You can run an unmodified version of Ubuntu using hardware
virtualization support and a virtual-machine-monitor implementation like
VirtualBox directly on top of Genode. Moreover, you can use different,
simple Unix applications directly on top of Genode using the noux (unix
like environment) server.

> Genode can also run virtually on top of another OS and the developers run
> it this way for development purposes. Is this correct?

Of course it can run inside a virtual environment, but what you are
refering to is Genode's port to Linux I assume. As already mentioned,
Genode comprises a bunch of components including more than one kernel.
Currently, Genode supports about 8 different kernels. Most of them are
microkernels in the tradition of L4, like NOVA, Fiasco.OC and sel4. But
it also runs directly on top of the Linux kernel, which was targeted to
ease development of new components, as most developers worked on top of
Linux until now.

> And the most importantly, what tasks Genode good for ? And what is it not
> suitable for?

The aim of Genode is to build a very flexible foundation that enables
all different kinds of computing. Of course, its origins are clearly
security focussed, and we aim to build a system architecture always with
security in mind. But we always try to think of very different use-cases
and environments. That's why our experiments, example scenarios and
hardware platforms varied in the past.

> Please understand that I'm just starting on learning OSes. So please bear
> with my dumb questions.

I hope I could partly clarify your questions. Feel free to ask further
questions on the mailing-list. But before, I recommend warmly to you to
look into the Genode foundation book, as it explains your questions in
more detail:


Best Regards

> Thank you,
> Regards,
> Pramod
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Stefan Kalkowski
Genode Labs

http://www.genode-labs.com/ ยท http://genode.org/

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