Skip to main content


Future directions in the evolution of the L4 microkernel


Kevin Elphinstone

NICTA, Sydney, Australia
UNSW, Australia


L4 is a small microkernel that is used as a basis for several operating systems. L4 seems an ideal basis for embedded systems that possess and use memory protection. It could provide a reliable, robust, and secure embedded platform. This paper examines L4's suitability as a basis for trustworthy embedded systems. It motivates the use of a microkernel, introduces L4 in particular as an example microkernel, overviews selected embedded applications benefiting from memory protection (focusing mostly on security related applications), and then examines L4's applicability to those application domains and identifies issues with L4's abstractions and mechanisms.

BibTeX Entry

    publisher        = {NICTA},
    author           = {Kevin Elphinstone},
    month            = oct,
    editor           = {Gerwin Klein},
    year             = {2004},
    title            = {Future Directions in the Evolution of the {L4} Microkernel},
    booktitle        = {Proceedings of the {NICTA} workshop on {OS} verification 2004, Technical Report 0401005T-1},
    address          = {Sydney, Australia}


Served by Apache on Linux on seL4.
Served by Apache on Linux on seL4.