How to start exploring Genode
This guide is meant to provide you a painless start with using the Genode OS Framework. It explains the steps needed to get a simple demo system running on Linux first, followed by the instructions on how to run the same scenario on a microkernel.
Quick start to build Genode for Linux
The best starting point for exploring Genode is to run it on Linux. Make sure that your system satisfies the following requirements:
GNU Make version 3.81 or newer
tclsh and expect
byacc (only needed for the L4/Fiasco kernel)
qemu and genisoimage (for testing non-Linux platforms via Qemu)
Furthermore, you will need to install the official Genode toolchain, which you can download at http://genode.org/download/tool-chain.
The Genode build system never touches the source tree but generates object files, libraries, and programs in a dedicated build directory. We do not have a build directory yet. For a quick start, let us create one for the Linux base platform:
cd <genode-dir> ./tool/create_builddir linux_x86 BUILD_DIR=build.lx
The new build directory is called build.lx and configured for the linux_x86 platform. To give Genode a try, build and execute a simple demo scenario via:
cd build.lx make run/demo
By invoking make with the run/demo argument, all components needed by the demo scenario are built and the demo is executed. If you are interested in looking behind the scenes of the demo scenario, please refer to doc/build_system.txt and the run script at os/run/demo.run.
Using platforms other than Linux
Running Genode on Linux is the most convenient way to get acquainted with the framework. However, the point where Genode starts to shine is when used as the user land executed on a microkernel. The framework supports a variety of different kernels such as L4/Fiasco, L4ka::Pistachio, OKL4, and NOVA. Those kernels largely differ in terms of feature sets, build systems, tools, and boot concepts. To relieve you from dealing with those peculiarities, Genode provides you with an unified way of using them. For each kernel platform, there exists a dedicated directory called base-<platform>. Within this directory, you will find a Makefile, which automates the task of downloading the source codes of the kernel and interfacing the kernel with Genode. Just change to the respective base-<platform> directory and issue:
Note that each base-<platform> directory comes with a README file, which you should revisit first when exploring the base platform. Additionally, most base-<platform> directories provide more in-depth information within their respective doc/ subdirectories.
Now that the base platform is prepared, the create_builddir tool can be used to create a build directory for your platform of choice by giving the platform as argument. To see the list of available platforms, execute create_builddir with no arguments.
For example, to give the demo scenario a spin on the OKL4 kernel, the following steps are required:
Download the kernel:
cd <genode-dir> make -C base-okl4 prepare
Create a build directory
./tool/create_builddir okl4_x86 BUILD_DIR=build.okl4
Build and execute the demo using Qemu
make -C build.okl4 run/demo
The procedure works analogously for the other base platforms.
How to proceed with exploring Genode
Now that you have taken the first steps into using Genode, you may seek to get more in-depth knowledge and practical experience. The foundation for doing so is a basic understanding of the build system. The documentation at build_system.txt provides you with the information about the layout of the source tree, how new components are integrated, and how complete system scenarios can be expressed. Equipped with this knowledge, it is time to get hands-on experience with creating custom Genode components. A good start is the hello_tutorial, which shows you how to implement a simple client-server scenario. To compose complex scenarios out of many small components, the documentation of the Genode's configuration concept at os/doc/init.txt is an essential reference.
Certainly, you will have further questions on your way with exploring Genode. The best place to get these questions answered is the Genode mailing list. Please feel welcome to ask your questions and to join the discussions:
- Genode Mailing Lists