Microsoft Releases Singularity 2.0 Research Development Kit (RDK)

Microsoft has just unleased the initial release of the Singularity 2.0 Research Development Kit (RDK). Singularity is a research operating system started around 2003 by Microsoft Research to write an OS in managed code. The inner-workings of Singularity taken from Wikipedia:

The lowest-level x86 interrupt dispatch code is written in assembly language and C. Once this code has done its job, it invokes the kernel, whose runtime and garbage collector are written in Sing# (an extension of C#) and runs in unsafe mode. The hardware abstraction layer is written in C++ and runs in safe mode. There is also some C code to handle debugging. The computer’s BIOS is invoked during the 16-bit real mode bootstrap stage; once in 32-bit mode, Singularity never invokes the BIOS again, but invokes device drivers written in Sing#{.mw-redirect}, an extended version of Spec#, itself an extension of C#. During installation, Common Intermediate Language (CIL) opcodes are compiled into x86 opcodes using the Bartok compiler.

This new release brings some funky changes:

  • Support for AMD64 64-bit platforms
  • Updates to the Bartok MSIL-to-native compiler and the Sing# compiler
  • A new, more modern and extensible bootloader
  • Several new applications and application documentation
  • Eventing support
  • More extensive ACPI support
  • A unit testing library
  • A ramdisk device
  • An SMB client service
  • Can now check out the most recent version of the Singularity RDK directly from CodePlex source control

Its released under Microsoft’s shared source academic license which in basically means you can do what you like, just don’t make any money out of our hard work.

For convenience there’s even an ISO already baked ready to slap into a Virtual Machine 🙂

There are others that deviate from Singularity that tackle the use of a managed operating system slightly differently and I wrote about them a while ago.

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