Redox OS 0.8.0: Rust operating system for x86 and Arm64 with microkernel


Redox OS is a free, Unix-like operating system based on the open source system programming language Rust and, unlike Linux distributions, which are based on a monolithic kernel, relies on a microkernel in which all drivers run as normal processes for more stability and security.

The operating system developed by the Redox community under the leadership of developer Jeremy Soller is based on the in-house Redox microkernel, which in contrast to a monolithic kernel like Linux only provides basic functions. The kernel is only responsible for memory management, the scheduler and a service for communication between the processes. This allows the microkernel to easily restart crashed device drivers.

Redox OS with the in-house desktop Orbital (Picture: Redox OS)

The in-house Orbital desktop, the Orbital window system and the Ion Shell are used, which all behave like Unix in many respects and are based on POSIX, but are not POSIX-compatible.

Systems based on the architectures are used as platforms i686, x86-64 and Arm64 supported.

Redox OS in detail

  • Written in Rust
  • First published April 2015
  • Based on the Redox microkernel
  • < li>Adressed to desktop, workstation and server

  • Support for i686, x86-64 (x86) and Arm64
  • Orbital desktop and window system
  • Open source (MIT license)

The basic design of the microkernel is very similar to that of the free UNIX-like operating system MINIX. Other fundamental components are the ZFS-inspired TFS file system, the Package Extension Utility written in Python, which acts as a package manager, and the POSIX C standard library.

Redox OS 0.8.0 receives innovations

The latest release, Redox OS 0.8.0, has received improved support for the main processors based on the i686 CPU family, initial audio playback for Realtek and Intel, and multi-display support. In addition, the boot process on BIOS and UEFI systems and the installation infrastructure of the operating system have been further simplified and made more stable. A new NVMe driver should ensure that Redox OS now also runs better outside of virtual machines on “real” hardware.

  • Support for i686/32-bit x86 has been added and is expected to be "generally working" on real hardware. This also included working on AC'97 audio and IDE drivers common to i686 era hardware.
  • Improved support for 64-bit Arm (AArch64) and is booting on QEMU but not yet working on actual AArch64 hardware.< /li>
  • Multiple display support, permitting that the firmware provides the proper frame-buffer information. This is still done using the VESA driver.
  • Audio support is "generally" working and the Intel HD Audio driver is now enabled by default.
  • The NVMe storage driver now better supports real hardware.
  • The same Redox OS images can now work on both BIOS and UEFI systems.
  • Refactoring of the build system to improve the multi-architecture support from the same source tree.

Redox OS 0.8.0 – Release Notes

In its current state, Redox OS is not intended for everyday use, but is still classified as experimental. A modern “Unix” should come out of it at some point, but we're talking about years here.

More information can be found in the official release notes of Redox OS 0.8.0 and the project page on the Developer platform GitLab as well as the official website.

The editors would like to thank the community members ” SE.” and “karuso”, who pointed out the topic in the ComputerBase forum.