3 min read

Two days ago, Jeremy Soller, the Redox OS BDFL (Benevolent dictator for life) shared recent developments in Redox which is a Unix-like operating system written in Rust. The Redox OS team is pretty close to running rustc, the compiler for the Rust programming language on Redox. However, dynamic libraries are a remaining area that needs to be improved.

Redox is a Unix-like Operating System written in Rust, aiming to bring the innovations of Rust to a modern microkernel and full set of applications. In March this year, Redox OS 0.50 was released with support for Cairo, Pixman, and other libraries and packages.

Ongoing developments in Redox OS

Soller says that he has been running the Redox OS on a System76 Galago Pro (galp3-c) along with the System76 Open Firmware and has found the work satisfactory till now. “My work on real hardware has improved drivers and services, added HiDPI support to a number of applications, and spawned the creation of new projects such as pkgar to make it easier to install Redox from a live disk,” quotes Soller in the official Redox OS news page.

Furthermore, he notified users that Redox has also become easier to cross-compile since the redoxer tool can now build, run, and test. It can also automatically manage a Redox toolchain and run executables for Redox inside of a container on demand.

However, “compilation of Rust binaries on Redox OS”, is one of the long-standing issues in Redox OS, that has garnered much attention for the longest time. According to Soller, through the excellent work done by ids1024, a member of the GSoC Project, Readox OS had almost achieved self-hosting.

Later, the creation of the relibc (a C library written in Rust) library and the subsequent work done by the contributors of this project led to the development of the POSIX C compatibility library. This gave rise to a significant increase in the number of available packages.

With a large number of Rust crates suddenly gaining Redox OS support, “it seemed that as though the dream of self-hosting would soon be reality”, however, after finding some errors in relibc, Soller realized, “rustc is no longer capable of running statically linked!” 

Read More: Rust 1.39 releases with stable version of async-await syntax, better ergonomics for match guards, attributes on function parameters, and more

Finally, the team shifted its focus to relibc’s ld_so which provides dynamic linking support for executables. However, this has caused a temporary halt to porting rustc to Redox OS. Building Redox OS on Redox OS is one of the highest priorities of the Redox OS project.

Soller has assured its users that Rustc is a few months away from being run permanently. He also adds that with Redox OS being a microkernel, it is possible that even the driver level could be recompiled and respawned without downtime, which will make the operating system exceedingly fast to develop.

In the coming months, he will be working on increasing the efficiency of porting more software and tackling more hardware support issues. Eventually, Soller hopes that he will be able to successfully develop Redox OS which would be a fully self-hosted, microkernel operating system written in Rust.

Users are excited about the new developments in Redox OS and have thanked Soller for it.

One Redditor commented, “I cannot tell you how excited I am to see the development of an operating system with greater safety guarantees and how much I wish to dual boot with it when it is stable enough to use daily.”

Another Redditor says, “This is great! Love seeing updates to this project 👍”

Head over to the official Redox OS news page for more details.

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