Google focuses on security with KataOS, the new open source operating system

Elizabeth Smith

The structure of KataOS – developed by Google – is based on the seL4 microkernel, and is implemented using Rust, the programming language adopted by the Android Open Source Project and the Linux kernel project.

Google’s announcement about KataOS, a new operating system developed for embedded systems, arrived in the past few days. It is based on the seL4 microkernel. And is implemented using Rust, the programming language adopted by the Android Open Source Project and the Linux Kernel Project.

It is these two elements that make KataOS an open source definitely worth keeping an eye on. Especially since the level of security offered here beats the competition. Let us see in detail what KataOs is about.

KataOS based on seL4: security comes first

Google’s choice to base KataOS on the seL4 microkernel demonstrates its desire to create an unrivalled operating system in terms of security. But what specifically is the kernel?

It is a part of the operating system that supervises processes and allows the basic software components to ‘talk’ to the hardware to perform actions. The microkernel, consequently, is a version of a kernel that delegates various functions to the core programmes.

This increases the level of security exponentially. And, also, makes crashes more manageable. In other words, an interruption due to a programme malfunction is isolated from the system, and a hard reset is therefore not necessary.

The difference between seL4 and several other types of kernel on the market today is the focus on security, a mathematically proven safeguard with no margin for error.

KataOS developed in Rust to increase efficiency

Rust is certainly not the most famous programming language. But it is definitely effective in eliminating problems that occur in languages such as C. Created by Mozilla, Rust simplifies and eliminates pointing errors, incorrect memory allocations and other bugs that we commonly find in everyday operating systems.

This makes it – fundamentally – impervious to malicious and problematic bugs that we are confronted with on a daily basis. And which considerably slow down work on traditional languages.

KataOS remains, however, an operating system designed for embedded systems, but the early announcement does not explain in what form. And, above all, to what devices it is resolved. If we think of Fuschsia, another extremely innovative project by Google, it is an operating system that is already being used on devices that can be defined as embedded – for example, Nest Hub.

One thing is certain, however: the scope of KataOS will be environmental machine learning. In other words, intelligent devices that can assimilate notions from their surroundings and perform increasingly seamless operations for the user.

Read also: Top 5 alternative search engines to Google that don’t track your data

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