The seL4 Microkernel. Security is no excuse for poor performance! The world’s first operating-system kernel with an end-to-end proof of implementation. L4Ka::Pistachio is the latest L4 microkernel developed by the System Architecture Group at the University of Karlsruhe in collaboration with the DiSy group at the. L4 got rid of “long message passing”, in favor of shared memory and interrupt-like IPC. This is great for the kernel – no copying delays and no.

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It is certified to avionics and other standards and deployed in aircraft and trains. So, outside process is necessary for detection of anomalous behavior and recovery. Not possible with proper isolation between critical system drivers and application layer.

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From the beginning, development aimed for formal verification of the kernel. Jochen was the main visionary behind the L4 microkernel interface.

There have been various re-implementations of the original binary L4 kernel interface ABI and its successors, including L4Ka:: Micrpkernel on Isolation and Integration for Dependable Systems. The researchers state that the cost of formal software verification is lower than the cost of engineering traditional “high-assurance” software despite providing much more reliable results.

Yes, I’d assume it’s more heavily used in the higher-level application layer.

Pistachio and newer versions of Fiasco, all L4 microkernels had been inherently tied close to the underlying CPU architecture. Do you mean “seL4 is great”?

L4Ka – L4Ka Project

In addition, fully orthogonal persistence also opens up a yet mostly unexplored programming model where the programmer need not explicitly store any objects microkerneo stable storage. I’m not very knowledgeable in this area and haven’t used these tools myself, but you could start by looking into theorem-proving tools like coq and agda.


This make it the world’s first and still only protected-mode operating-system kernel with a sound and complete worst-case timing analysis, and thus the microkernep protected-mode OS that can actually provide hard real-time guarantees. L4 is widely deployed. I don’t care if you have ring-0 on my Nest camera, because I’m more worried about network-level attacks or an attacker being able to read from the camera which I’m guessing is available via user space.

Other deployments include automotive infotainment micrkernel. Sec Reference Manual available The first draft of the L4.

The modularity of a microkernel with the security of formal methods is something that would give hope of solving some really fundamental problems with the “IoT scene”. You need to apply that compartmentalization all the way through the stack, and even subdivide applications into smaller chunks of responsibility. They’re dual-licensed with open-source available. Archived from the original on February 11, In particular, it supports the separation of protection and translation that is a feature of some embedded processors, such as ARM cores, by encouraging a non-overlapping address-space layout.

But unlike Unix, those building blocks include not only applications but also all classical OS functionalities including kernels, device drivers, file systems, and protocol stacks.

Yeah, the companies’ financial incentive is to ignore the stuff since they’ll get the contracts anyway.

Like Liedtke’s original kernels, the UNSW kernels written in a mixture of assembly and C were unportable and each implemented from scratch. How many of the exploits for IoT devices are related to the kernel? Programs can create and manage sub-sandboxes out of their own resources, thereby forming hierarchies where policies can be applied at each level.


It has a complete analysis of timing, in particular, worst-case interrupt latencies. In L4 and related systems, that usually means that the kernel doesn’t even include the memory manager the “pager”. After all, it’s a building block you have to combine with other things.

Pistachio is available for the following hardware architectures: Pistachiocompletely from scratch, now with focus on both high performance as well as portability. The poor performance of first-generation microkernels, such as Machled a number of developers to re-examine the entire microkernel concept in the mids. The Fiasco microkernel is a complete implementation of the L4 version 2 interface. The kernel was based on initial work done at Dresden.

Klein, Proof Engineering Considered Essential. Microkernels are minimal but highly flexible kernels. Apple will ship million iOS devices in “. If the goal is to provide a verifiably correct kernel, why not build that kernel in something like OCAML so you can leverage a better type system and use the existing verification infrastructure in that language?

Where does one go to learn these formal methods? The “C” that was compiled was an embedding of it in HOL called Simpl which the aforementioned process verifies and converts to verified code.

This induced developers of Mach-based operating systems to move some time-critical components, like file systems or drivers, back inside the kernel.

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