Rather sooner than later, HelenOS will become a complete and usable modern operating system, offering room for experimenting and research. HelenOS uses its own microkernel written from scratch and supports SMP, multitasking and multithreading on both 32-bit and 64-bit, little-endian and big-endian processor architectures, among which are AMD64/EM64T (x86-64), ARM, IA-32, IA-64 (Itanium), 32-bit MIPS, 32-bit PowerPC and SPARC V9. Thanks to the relatively high number of supported architectures and suitable design, HelenOS is very portable. On top of the microkernel, HelenOS provides services such as file systems, networking, device drivers and user interface. Most of these services are composed of multiple independent server processes, which makes HelenOS one of the most modular operating systems.
As of now, HelenOS is being developed mostly by faculty members, and former and contemporary students of Faculty of Mathematics and Physics at Charles University in Prague. Nonetheless, the project is open for everyone, so we also have developers with different backgrounds from various places around the world. The source code is open and available under the BSD license. Some third party components, and components based on GPL software, are licensed under GPL.
In case you are interested in our project or have any questions about it, feel free to subscribe to our mailing list or chat with us on our IRC channel. The HelenOS operating system is, as of today, feature incomplete and the project is currently under heavy development (see roadmap). We are looking for people to join our team as co-developers or to merely try out our system and become our beta testers. If you have the skills and enthusiasm, you may consider making a contribution.
Despite our efforts, HelenOS was not accepted for Google Summer of Code 2013. While the decision not to accept us certainly cannot make us happy, we understand that with the acceptance rate of about 40 % it is hard to get in every year. We will apply next year again and we acknowledge the huge importance of GSoC for the whole FOSS community. Note that HelenOS is still a great project to contribute to (if you are interested in operating systems and related topics), also for students. You can even contribute to HelenOS as part of your school assignment (seminar project, team project, bachelor thesis, master thesis, etc.) – 15 successfully defended bachelor and master theses, 3 student team projects and 5 GSoC projects is a great history to extend.
"While not one of the most well known multi-server micro-kernel operating systems compared to GNU Hurd and others, HelenOS continues to move forward as a general purpose BSD-licensed operating system that dances to its own beat."
Did you visit on the microkernel devroom at FOSDEM 2013? Do you have any thoughts, suggestions or comments? Please do not hesitate to share them with us on our mailing list or IRC.
The HelenOS team is proud to announce the immediate availability of HelenOS 0.5.0, the next major release of our microkernel multiserver operating system. The 0.5.0 release is codenamed Fajtl, in honour of Lieutenant General František Fajtl, a Royal Air Force fighter pilot from the World War II.
This major release delivers many improvements that have been developed in our mainline branch since March 2011, including the deliverables from GSoC 2011. Some of the noteworthy new features are USB support, reimplemented networking stack with full TCP support and new network drivers (including Realtek RTL8139 and Intel E1000), read-only ext2 and ISO 9660 file system support, read-write MINIX FS support and several ported applications (GNU Binutils, PCC, MSIM). For a complete list of user-visible changes, see the release notes. The release files can be downloaded from the download page.
Petr Koupý apparently likes to create HelenOS screencasts during the summer break and we like watching them. Here is his latest one demonstrating the initial basic implementation of HelenOS graphics stack and GUI.
The GSoC 2012 student application period is now over. We would like to thank all the students for submitting their applications, for sending their patches to our mailing list and discussing their proposals.
For your information, please see below a graph of applications against time plotted using the spreadsheet by Olly Betts. You can use it to compare the trend with other GSoC 2012 mentoring organizations.
After making a very successful Google Summer of Code debut last year, we are pleased to announce that HelenOS has been accepted as a mentoring organization for 2012 again. In the Google Summer of Code, university and college students work during the summer break and contribute code to open source projects represented by the accepted mentoring organizations. During the duration of the program, Google provides stipends to successful students that sum up to $5000 at the end of the program.
The HelenOS team is organizing the Microkernel OS Devroom at FOSDEM 2012. If you are interested in hearing what is new not only in the world of HelenOS, but also other state-of-the-art microkernel operating systems, consider visiting FOSDEM 2012 in Brussels from February 4th to 5th.
Petr Koupý created a HelenOS screencast showing his and Jiří Zárevúcky's progress on porting parts of binutils and pcc to HelenOS. Both Petr an Jiří work on HelenOS as part of their Google Summer of Code internship. It's just shortly after the program's midterm, but the video already shows that their version of HelenOS can build a playable tetris binary from sources - something which was not possible until now.