After trying the existing projects (especially those listed on Getting started) a good way to learn the intricacies of programming on top of seL4 is to do the exercises in the UNSW Advanced Operating Systems course.
Below is a set of suggested projects of varying degree of sophistication. If you’re interested in providing generally-useful infrastructure, you’re probably best off basing this on the CAmkES environment.
If you are planning to produce a significant and long-lived part of the seL4 open-source ecosystem (as opposed to just having fun for yourself) you should talk to us first. We run frequent student and occasionally larger development projects, and may already have something that can serve as a starting point. We will in the future try to be more pro-active in seeding projects with incomplete internal work.
Ports to other platforms
seL4 currently runs on only a small set of platforms. Porting seL4 itself is usually pretty easy; porting the platform support library and its drivers is trickier.
Some interesting platforms that could support seL4 include:
- Any of the Tegra SoCs from NVIDIA.
- The RK3188, maybe using the Radxa Rock Pro development board
- Any of the Arm V8 64-bit processors that are beginning to become available.
Qubes is an open source operating system designed to provide strong security for desktop computing using virtualisation to provide isolation. Qubes is based on Xen. seL4 is a much better fit for Qubes. The project is to port Qubes to seL4 (or develop an alternative Qubes-like system for seL4).
Bug fixes and enhancements
The build system needs work. A typical project comprises the kernel, libraries and apps; dependencies between these are not properly tracked, which means things are rebuilt even if up-to-date; also sometimes things are not rebuilt when they should be.
There are other problems with the system as a whole that need addressing. In particular the drivers in libsel4platsupport need extension and improvement.
Drivers, file systems, useful libraries… Especially a POSIX environment would be useful.
Port the PC game Doom to run on seL4.
Minix 3 on seL4
Minix is the original multi-server OS by Tannenbaum. Minix 3 is the latest shiny version of it, and is based on a more limited microkernel than seL4. So far x86 is supported.
The project is to port Minix 3 to run on seL4.
Userspace currently needs to be written in C (or assembler). An interesting challenge is to provide run-time support for higher level languages, such as C++, Java, Go, Haskell, Python. Some of that exists internally:
- reasonably mature support for a subset of C++ (no template library), we’ll probably release that soon for others to build on
- we have Haskell sort-of running on seL4 (thanks or friends from Galois for their help), should be released in the near future
- there is a student-level port of Go, which is bitrotted but could be made available if someone wants to revive it
- limited support of Rust applications
Stuff we’re working on
Kernel development will continue to happen primarily at NICTA for the foreseeable future, as this not only requires a good understanding of the kernel design and implementation, but also a good understanding of what is feasible to verify. Several of these internal projects are reasonably mature and will be pushed into the public tree soon, see our Roadmap