As Stadia recently showed, Google is always working on new “experimental” technologies even if there’s a chance they will fail in the most pitiful ways. The company’s newest experiment is KataOS, a highly secure open-source operating system.
KataOS is the main core of Project Sparrow, which combines the new OS with a secured hardware platform to power embedded devices that run machine learning (ML) applications.
KataOS is written “almost entirely” in Rust, Google said, the memory safe programming language which will provide “a strong starting point for software security” by eliminating entire classes of potential bugs like buffer overflows.
Google partnered with Ant micro and chose seL4 as the OS microkernel, using the sel4-sys technology to make the kernel (written mainly in C) and the new Rust-based system work together. The hardware platform used by KataOS’ initial release is the Arm64 instruction set, while the final project should run on the RISC-V-based open Titan open-source silicon design.