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.
After a one-year hiatus, we are extremely honoured to announce that HelenOS has been accepted as a mentoring organization for Google Summer of Code 2014. 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 mentoring organizations. Successful students receive a stipend from Google that sum up to 5500 USD at the end of the program.
The HelenOS development team is again participating on the Microkernel-based operating systems devroom at FOSDEM 2014 in Brussels, Belgium. The devroom could be considered traditional already. It serves as a meeting venue for the microkernel-based OS developers and likely-minded people since 2012 and hosts talks and demos from projects such as MINIX 3, Genode, Hurd, HelenOS and others. This year the devroom is scheduled for Sunday February 2nd in H.2214 and it is chaired by Julian Stecklina from the OS group of TU Dresden.
Besides the devroom, HelenOS team members will be also available at the Google Summer of Code stand on Saturday February 1st from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. The GSoC stand should be located on the ground floor of the Building K. We'll be glad if you just drop by to say hello.
We are pleased to announce that ESA (European Space Agency) accepted HelenOS as a mentoring organization for this year of their ESA Summer of Code in Space (SOCIS 2013). SOCIS is inspired by (but not affiliated or related in any way to) Google's Summer of Code initiative. If you are an interested and eligible student, make sure to apply before the deadline on August 4. Our ideas list can be found here. Note that the list is not exhaustive and we encourage students to also suggest ideas that were not originally on it. We are looking forward to talking to you about your suggestions on our IRC channel or the mailing list.
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.