Genode OS Framework release 19.11 Nov 28, 2019

Following this year's theme of "bridging worlds", Genode 19.11 adds the ability to use popular build tools like CMake for application development, introduces a new virtual-machine monitor for 64-bit ARM, and enhances POSIX compatibility. As another highlight, it features the first version of our custom block-device encrypter.

Block-device encryption is a feature often requested by users of our Sculpt OS. Until now, we deliberately left this topic unaddressed because we felt that a profound answer was beyond our expertise. However, during the past year, we dived deep into it. The result is the prototype for a new block encrypter that encrypts data but also protects integrity and freshness. For us, the implementation of the encrypter is especially intriguing because - with about 7000 lines of code - it is Genode's first non-trivial component written in the SPARK programming language.

The second major addition is a new virtual machine monitor (VMM) for 64-bit ARM platforms such as the NXP i.MX8. It leverages the proof of concept we developed in 2015 for ARMv7, which we pursued as a technology exploration. In contrast, our aspiration with the new VMM is a product-quality solution.

In our road map for 2019, we stated the "bridging of worlds" as our overall theme for this year. On that account, the current release moves the project forward on two levels. First, by successively increasing the scope of POSIX compatibility, we reduce the friction when porting existing application software to Genode. We managed to bridge several gaps in our POSIX support that we considered as impossible to cover some years ago. In particular, we identified ways to emulate certain POSIX signals, ioctl calls, and fork/execve semantics. This way, popular software such as bash, coreutils, or Vim can now be executed as regular Genode components with no additional runtime environment (like Noux or a VMM) required.

At a higher level, the current release introduces new tooling especially geared at the development and porting of application software. Compared to Genode's regular development tools, which were designed for whole-system development, the new tool called Goa relieves the developer from the complexity of Genode's custom build system and instead promotes the use of popular commodity solutions like CMake.

These and more topics are described in the release documentation of version 19.11...