Symbiotes: A New step in Linux’s Evolution

Computers and the way we use them have dramatically evolved since the inception of UNIX in the 1970s. Linux’s ability to evolve and adapt has proved invaluable in enabling everything from data center scale cloud computing to tiny wearable smart devices. There is a line however that has not been crossed. UNIX has always enforced a strict boundary between what constitutes the core, kernel, of the running operating systems and the applications programs, processes running on top of it. While this boundary is very useful in ensuring that programs cannot corrupt other programs it also means that writing applications that can directly use any part of the hardware or directly integrate OS kernel functionality is very difficult.

This work explores how a new kind of software entity, a symbiotie, might bridge this gap. By adding the ability for application software to shed the boundary that separates it from the OS kernel it is free to integrate, modify, and evolve into a hybrid that is both application and OS.

Principal Investigator: Jonathan Appavoo

Project Team