Brussels / 2 & 3 February 2019


Lessons learned from porting HelenOS to RISC-V

Pros and cons of RISC-V from a microkernel OS point of view

HelenOS is an open source operating system based on the microkernel multiserver design principles. One of its goals is to provide excellent target platform portability. From the time of its inception, HelenOS already supported 4 different hardware platforms and currently it supports platforms as diverse as x86, SPARCv9 and ARM. This talk presents practical experiences and lessons learned from porting HelenOS to RISC-V.

While the unprivileged (user space) instruction set architecture of RISC-V has been declared stable in 2014, the privileged instruction set architecture is technically still allowed to change in the future. Likewise, many major design features and building blocks of HelenOS are already in place, but no official commitment to ABI or API stability has been made yet. This gives an interesting perspective on the pros and cons of both HelenOS and RISC-V. The talk also points to some possible research directions with respect to hardware/software co-design.


Photo of Martin Děcký Martin Děcký