seL4 Microkernel Optimized for Security Gets Support of Linux Foundation

seL4 foundation aims to accelerate the security, safety and reliability of any software system

San Francisco, April 7, 2020 –  The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization enabling mass innovation through open source, today announced it will host the seL4 Foundation, the nonprofit organization established by Data61, the digital specialist arm for Australia’s national science agency CSIRO. The seL4 microkernel is the world’s first operating system (OS) kernel that is proved secure; it is designed to ensure the security, safety and reliability of real-world critical computer systems.

The new Foundation aims to accelerate the development of seL4 and related technologies, and under the Linux Foundation will provide a global, independent and neutral organization for funding and steering the future evolution of seL4. Founding members include Cog Systems, DornerWorks, Ghost Locomotion, HENSOLD Cyber and UNSW Sydney.

The trustworthiness of embedded computing systems is vital to improving the security of critical systems around the world to safeguard them from cyber threats. This is particularly paramount in industries including avionics, autonomous vehicles, medical devices, critical infrastructure and defense.  The seL4 microkernel is the world’s first operating system with a proof of implementation correctness and presents an unparalleled combination of assurance, generality and performance, making it an ideal base for building security- and safety-critical systems. The seL4 Foundation provides a forum for developers to collaborate on growing and integrating the seL4 ecosystem.

“The Linux Foundation will support the seL4 Foundation and community by providing expertise and services to increase community engagement, contributors and adopters, helping to take the OS ecosystem to the next level,” said Michael Dolan, VP of strategic programs, the Linux Foundation. “The open governance and standards-based model will provide a neutral, mature and trustworthy framework to help advance an operating system that is readily deployable and optimized for security.”

Dr June Andronick, Leader of Trustworthy Systems at CSIRO’s Data61 said, “We are very excited about this step to provide a sustainable, long-term trajectory for seL4, and very keen to see the seL4 Foundation grow and thrive under the Linux Foundation umbrella.”

“With the help of the Linux Foundation we can broaden the community of contributors as well as adopters of seL4,” said UNSW Scientia Professor Gernot Heiser, Chair of the new Foundation. “This will provide the support that allows us to continue the research that ensures seL4 will remain the most advanced and secure OS technology.”

For more information on the seL4 Foundation visit https://sel4.systems/Foundation/

Supporting Quotes

Cog Systems

“seL4 has set the new standard for high assurance for embedded solutions on connected devices,” said Carl L. Nerup, CEO of Cog Systems, Inc. “This enables us to deliver commercial solutions that meet the rigorous demands associated with formal verification to deliver a certified approach that meet the highest standard for safety & security in the market today.”

 DornerWorks

“The seL4 proof provides a secure foundation to answer the growing need for cyber-security.  By joining the seL4 Foundation, DornerWorks can do more to help accelerate customer adoption of seL4 as the trusted software base for their embedded products.  We’re looking forward to the future of seL4 kernel and tool development,” said Gregg Wildes, Innovation Leader and Partnership Manager, DornerWorks Ltd.

Ghost Locomotion

“Ghost is a self-driving system that integrates seamlessly into your current car. Designed to be safer than a human driver, Ghost will give you the power to fully disengage on the highway and focus on what matters to you. Nowhere is the pursuit of perfection more important than our highways and we are proud to join the seL4 community to make provably correct, safety-critical systems a reality for millions of daily commuters,” said Dr Daniel Potts, Ghost Locomotion Inc.

 HENSOLDT Cyber

“We strongly believe in the benefits of open source software for critical IT systems in order to foster the development of one of the most important security assets,” said Sascha Kegreiß, CTO of HENSOLDT Cyber. “We provide our expertise to a community, which uses combined forces of different professionals from all over the world to strengthen the development of seL4. we were excited to become part of the seL4 Foundation.”

John Launchbury

“In system security, seL4 is one-of-a-kind. COVID-19 has taught us all the value of “distancing” in keeping any kind of system healthy and secure. That’s what microkernels like seL4 do for software. What makes seL4 unique is that we know with mathematical certainty that the seL4 code implements its “distancing” specification with ZERO functionality bugs. That it does so without a performance hit is doubly astonishing. I am eagerly anticipating seeing more and more system builders incorporate it to increase their digital security, and I’m confident that the seL4 foundation has been well structured to be effective in curating the ongoing open source development of seL4,” said John Launchbury, Galois, Formerly DARPA I2O Director.

About the Linux Foundation

Founded in 2000, the Linux Foundation is supported by more than 1,000 members and is the world’s leading home for collaboration on open source software, open standards, open data, and open hardware. Linux Foundation’s projects are critical to the world’s infrastructure including Linux, Kubernetes, Node.js, and more.  The Linux Foundation’s methodology focuses on leveraging best practices and addressing the needs of contributors, users and solution providers to create sustainable models for open collaboration. For more information, please visit us at linuxfoundation.org.

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