Lightweight and secure 64-bit multiprocessor microkernel written in Rust for x86, ARM and MIPS systems
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Latest commit 9674633 Mar 21, 2016
diodesign [x86] Allow machines with >1GB of RAM to boot. Initially first 1GB of…
… RAM is mapped into kernel memory and used to bring up the kernel and map all physical memory into kernel space. During this initialization, the kernel will pull physical pages off its page stack and if they are outside the low 1GB area, it will fault because only the first 1GB is accessible. This fix allows the early kernel to use the first 1GB as a priority over other pages by splitting physical memory into two stacks - one for 0-1GB and the other for >1GB. the rest of the kernel should treat the stacks as one stack (previously SYSTEMSTACK). Now there are LOWSTACK and HIGHSTACK but provides veener functions to access either one in an abstract manner. Thanks to Nick Rathke for reporting this bug.
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.travis.yml Removed redundant dependency from CI script, added button to README Nov 29, 2015
Cargo.toml Implemented kprint! and kprintln! macros for debug logging via serial… Nov 30, 2015
LICENSE Tweaked README for typos, added contact address to LICENSE, added rel… Nov 29, 2015 Fix screenshot after fixing heap accounting bug Dec 19, 2015


Build Status

This is a lightweight and secure 64-bit multiprocessor microkernel operating system written in Rust for x86, ARM and MIPS systems. It's a work in progress: I'm starting from scratch after previously writing a working microkernel for 32-bit SMP x86 computers in C and assembly.

I learned a lot from that first iteration, and this is the second iteration of diosix, codenamed Menchi. Crucially, it will be written in Rust, a C/C++-like programming language that has a fierce emphasis on guaranteed memory safety, threads without data races, and other security features.

Check out the wiki for documentation on how it all works internally.


These are the tools I've got installed on a Debian "Jessie" GNU/Linux server for building diosix; other versions of the software are probably fine, too:

  • cargo 0.7.0-nightly
  • GNU ld 2.25
  • GNU make 4.0
  • grub-mkrescue 2.02
  • nasm 2.11.05
  • multirust 0.7.0 (for installing Rust)
  • qemu 2.1.2 (for testing)
  • rustc 1.6.0-nightly
  • vim ;-)

To build the software, open a terminal, check out the source code in the usual way, and change into its directory:

git clone
cd diosix

Then pick a hardware platform to build a kernel for. Let's start with 64-bit x86, aka a standard PC machine. Change into its directory:

cd platform/x86

Next, make sure you're using a suitable Rust toolchain: you'll need a nightly build as we need features not present in the stable edition:

multirust override nightly

Now build a bootable ISO image suitable for burning to a CD/DVD or throwing at an emulator or hypervisor to test:

make iso

The ISO should be saved in the platform's release directory - in this case: diosix/release/x86/boot.iso. To fire up the ISO image in QEMU:

make run

If I haven't broken the kernel, the emulator will start up in your ncurses-friendly terminal, and boot the tiny operating system. QEMU will be automatically killed after a timeout period, typically 10 seconds. This is because the kernel cannot, right now, power off the system; an ACPI driver to handle power management will eventually be written, and until then we have to kill QEMU manually. If you want to see the kernel's detailed debugging output via the serial port, boot QEMU headless, and the serial port will be logged to the terminal.

make run-headless

Finally, make clean removes the debris left behind by the build process.


Here's a very early build of diosix booting on x86.

Screenshot of QEMU running diosix

And here's the kernel's debugging output after its physical and virtual memory allocator was implemented – this output can be seen by running make run-headless.

Screenshot of QEMU running diosix


Feel free to email me, Chris Williams, if you have any questions, want to get involved, have source to contribute, or found a security flaw. You can also find me, diodesign, on Freenode IRC in the #osdev channel, or on Twitter.

Copyright, license, and thanks

© Chris Williams and contributors, 2015. See LICENSE for source code and binary distribution and use.

With thanks to Philipp Oppermann for his guide to linking Rust code to low-level bare-metal assembly, and to the OSdev community for its notes and documentation.