Brussels / 4 & 5 February 2023


Device driver gardening

Transplant Linux drivers fast but gently

Transplanting device drivers out of the Linux kernel has a long history in microkernel-based operating systems. While being economically attractive, in contrast to developing all drivers from scratch, one still has to deal with complex APIs and semantics. Therefore, the porting process can be demanding and tiring together, which leads to new sources of errors.

Over the years the team around the Genode OS framework has collected a lot of experiences by porting device drivers out of the Linux kernel. Different approaches were followed. Recently, the methodology got reviewed again, new tools were developed, and the process got accelerated substantially. At the same time, the environment for device drivers in Genode got unified in between all architectures, and low-level platform support was enhanced. As a result it is now much easier and faster to port Genode to new boards, or SoCs.

The talk provides an insight into the new porting methodology and tools. It summarizes the results from this new approach that were achieved within a couple of months, and will show them in a short tech-demo.


Photo of Stefan Kalkowski Stefan Kalkowski