VxWorks MILS 2.1 Platform hands-on

Last week, I visited Wind River headquarters in Alameda, California, to learn about VxWorks MILS Platform 2.1 and to get hands-on experience with the release.

I had been looking forward to the trip, as the 2.1 release adds some significant new capabilities: Wind River Linux as a guest operating system and the new High Assurance Network Stack (see Bill Graham's recent blog for a more detailed overview).

So, the VxWorks MILS separation kernel (SK) can now host Wind River Linux, VxWorks and a High Assurance Environment as guest operating systems in a virtualised environment (as shown below).

VxWorks MILS architecture

To me this is a very significant development, as it extends the depth and breadth of applications which can be run in on top of VxWorks MILS. This enables existing applications to he hosted securely in a high robustness system, but also enables new systems to be developed using the most appropriate technologies for a given component.

Of course, learning the theory is great, but it is not as much fun as hands-on experience, so I was glad to have the opportunity to run some Wind River Linux demo applications on top of VxWorks MILS and run and debug them using Wind River Workbench while I was in Alameda.

The screenshot below shows Workbench debugging a multi-threaded Linux application running on top of VxWorks MILS 2.1 on my PowerPC 8548-based demo board. There's a thread-specific breakpoint on a line of shared code, which can be used to halt one thread while the other thread(s) run free. 

Workbench debug of Linux GOS application running on VxWorks MILS SKThe next step will be to incorporate these new capabilities into some MILS demos. Stay tuned.