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Native OKL4 Android stack

Authors

Michael Hills

NICTA, Sydney, Australia
UNSW, Australia

Abstract

Embedded devices such as mobile phones are offering increasingly more powerful environments to users, but the hardware is still characterised by low-power processors, limited system memory, and less than optimal battery life. Second generation microkernels like OKL4 optimise for embedded hardware and offer high- performance with a minimal memory footprint.

The Android mobile phone operating system currently uses Linux as its kernel and offers a Java runtime environment using the Dalvik virtual machine. OKL4 offers improvements that could benefit the performance of Android. OKL4 is small, sports a high-performance IPC mechanism, provides support for superpages, and provides the flexibility of being able to build a minimal operating system environment.

In this thesis, we port various parts of the Android operating system to run Android applications on the OKL4 microkernel. Using the Android Developer Phone 1, system comparisons are made between Android running on OKL4 and Android running on Linux. We conclude that OKL4's fast IPC mechanism and superpage support can provide performance improvements to Android, but measured gains are mitigated by the poor performance of the Dalvik virtual machine.

BibTeX Entry

  @mastersthesis{Hills:be,
    author           = {Michael Hills},
    month            = nov,
    year             = {2009},
    title            = {Native {OKL4} {Android} Stack},
    address          = {Sydney, Australia},
    school           = {School of Computer Science and Engineering}
  }

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Served by Apache on Linux on seL4.