Web site: brix-os.sourceforge.net
Desktop environment: CLI
Based on: Independent
The last version | Released: October 29, 2002
BRiX – a fast single-privilege single-address-space preemptive-multithreading persistent data-centric secure multiuser operating system with safe-language and reconfigurable graphical interface.
BRiX is a new operating system that redefines how operating systems should be designed. Like conventional operating systems, it will provide features such as SMP, preemptive multi-threading, virtual memory, a secure multi-user environment and an easy to use graphical interface.
BRiX is not a conventional operating system and some of its new features include:
– Small, fast and responsive – There is no reason why operating systems should be bloated, slow and unresponsive. Features should be split among several smaller and reusable packages to avoid single large packages that require each feature to be reimplemented in another similar package. Smaller packages load faster and optimizations can be applied to a single package instead of its many implementations over multiple packages.
– Data-centric – All data is stored in a flat filesystem and accessed using search queries on the attached metadata. The traditional hierarchical filesystem requires the user to remember where files are stored and what they were named. An easy-to-use graphical interface plugs the data into special interface objects that provide multiple means of viewing and modifying it. The traditional approach involves launching applications to display data and requires the user to manually launch additional applications if the default is not what the user wants. With BRiX the user flips through various viewers and editors all in the same window.
– Persistence – All changes to data are automatically saved and can be undone even after the current session has been closed.
– Reconfigurable User Interface – The interface objects, that present the user with multiple views of data, can also be modified by the user. This allows the user to add or remove features to or from interfaces and change the layout to be more efficient and easier to use.
– Safe-language – BRiX uses a special language that guarantees fine-grained safety instead of relying on hardware that only isolates programs from each other and does nothing to protect a user’s data from programs running as that user. The language allows user’s to browse a repository, download and compile packages and warn the user when code requires certain resources or restricted capabilities. File safety is provided by capabilities that prevent access without a reference that must be given to the package by the user. Data is further protected by making networking a restricted service requiring all packages to explain to the user why they need to be able to access the network.
– Security – Other operating systems use special hardware features and lots of runtime checks to secure the system but programmers aren’t perfect and sometimes make mistakes. These mistakes can lead to the system being exploiting and lost or stolen data. BRiX makes use of its safe-language to provide fine-grained protection and frees the programmer from writing runtime checks. The service manager launches and tracks all service threads while the UI (console or graphical) launches and tracks all user threads. Each thread executes without any user privileges and are only restricted by compile-time access restrictions. Users (administrators) who have a full capability for the service manager and UI components can grant limited or full capabilities to other users, allowing them to manager users and services. The tight integration between the user authentication, UI, service manager and language, all at the top of the software stack, provide a level of security not available in other systems.
– Repository – BRiX uses a repository to give users a trusted location from which all code can be easily and automatically downloaded.
The project founder is Brand Huntsman.