Questions about Address Space, Scheduling and CSpace

Sid Agrawal siagraw at
Wed Jan 12 05:08:33 CET 2022

Hi Norman,
Thanks for the response. I have replied inline below whilst quoting the
relevant parts. Let me know if this list has some other preferred way of
organizing longer email exchanges.


On Mon, Jan 10, 2022 at 6:14 AM Norman Feske <norman.feske at>

> Both constraints can be satisfied by managing the region allocation
> within a dedicated stack-region map manually.

Thanks. This makes sense.

> > 2. A PD is defined as Address Space and CSpace. I wondered if it is
> > possible to have multiple address spaces inside a PD. The RM for each of
> > these different Address spaces would still be separate capabilities in
> the
> > singular CSpace for that PD. This way, a thread can potentially jump
> across
> > different address spaces like [1, 2]. Or multiple threads can have
> slightly
> > different address spaces.
> Early versions of Genode indeed decoupled address spaces from PDs.
> However, as we never found reasonable use cases of this presumed
> flexibility, we abandoned this artificial separation of mechanisms. As a
> result, the implementation became less complex and thereby more robust.
> [1]
> BTW, it is still possible to share a portion of the virtual address
> space between multiple PDs by using core's RM service. E.g., the
> cached_fs_rom component uses this mechanism to make files available as
> read-only dataspaces shared by multiple clients.
> Thanks, I will look at fs_rom.
I want to share a portion of the virtual address space between multiple
threads in the same PD (and not different PD),
this was both the threads have access to the same Cspace.

> Regarding the idea of a thread "jumping across address spaces", that is
> really what's happening when issuing an RPC. Genode's RPC mechanism
> mimics plain synchronous function calls.
In the case of issuing an RPC, the Cspace is also changing, right? Since we
making the RPC call
from 1 PD to another.

> > 3. Where am I going with this? I am trying to implement a new type of
> > thread. In this thread(let's call it thread-stack), each thread's stack
> > will be completely isolated from the other threads. That is, threads will
> > not have access to each other's stacks. They will still share the
> > code-section, library, and heap sections. This is a toy idea, so I can
> get
> > my hand dirty with the Genode basics. I think everything I need to
> > implement is already there in Genode but wanted to get your opinion.
> Genode's mechanisms allow you to build that scenario. Just a rough sketch:
> A custom parent component (runtime) would create a new PD for each
> "thread". But instead of loading the real program into the PD, it would
> load a simple bootstrapping program. Once executed, this bootstrapping
> program would request ROM and RAM dataspaces containing the text and
> data segments of the designated program from the parent. The parent is
> free to hand out the same dataspaces for each child.
> What I just described is actually very similar to the regular function
> of our dynamic linker.
Thanks. I will take a look at that.

> > 4. Are they any helper functions to clone an entire address space?
> > Replicate the page table hierarchy with the same underlying page frames.
> Not an entire address space. But a region map can be used as a
> dataspace. On kernels other than Linux, this - so called managed
> dataspace" - can be shared between PDs. It can also be used to implement
> on-demand page-fault handling. Think of automatically growing threads or
> page swapping. You can find an example at [2] However, in practice the
> mechanism is not used much.
> [2]

thanks.  I will take a look at that.

> > 1. Using the notion of Affinity, I can restrict a thread to run on a
> > particular CPU, but is there a way to restrict other threads from running
> > on a given CPU. I am exploring isolating two threads by ensuring that
> they
> > run on separate cores.
> It's best to think in terms of PDs when partitioning resources. At the
> granularity of PDs, you can express the assignment of two PDs to a
> mutually exclusive set of CPU cores using init's configuration: defining
> an affinity space of 2x1, assigning the "left" part to one PD, and the
> "right" part to the other. Note however, that the boot CPU is
> effectively shared with other components and the execution of core's
> services. So to minimize the chance for cross talk, one would need to
> use a CPU with more than two cores (one for the boot CPU and one for
> each resource partition).
> BTW, you can readily experiment with the mechanism using the
> Genode-based Sculpt OS as described at [3].
> [3]
> > 2. Is there a way to restrict the time slices given to a particular
> thread.
> > I am thinking of something like cgroups. I see that seL4 has the MCS
> > kernel, which shares some of the motivations. But I think Genode does not
> > support the MCS sel4 kernel.
> We haven't used seL4's MCS kernel, yet.
> That said, our custom base-hw microkernel supports a similar scheduling
> feature since version 14.11 [4].
If a component has the capability for every thread in the system it can
implement any arbitrary scheduling policy using suspend/resume on the seL4
I think, my initial statement about not being able to do scheduling in
userspace in seL4 might have been premature.

> [4]
> > 1. Is the CSpace for a PD the same as CSpace in seL4, or is there a
> > different notion of Cspace in Genode?
> It is the same notion. It is only used in the seL4-specific part of
> Genode (in base-sel4/).
> > 2. Is there an easy way to print the entire CSpace for debugging
> purposes?
> Unfortunately not. However, while working with the code, you may chose
> to make any class you like printable (a valid argument to 'log',
> 'warning', 'error') by implementing a const 'print' method in the class.
> You can find simple examples at [5].
> [5]
> Have fun with the further exploration!
> Norman
> --
> Dr.-Ing. Norman Feske
> Genode Labs
> ·
> Genode Labs GmbH · Amtsgericht Dresden · HRB 28424 · Sitz Dresden
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