Including Programs in Redox

Redox's Cookbook toolchain makes packaging a program to include in a build fairly straightforward. First, we will show how to add an existing program for inclusion. Then we will show how to create a new program to be included. In Coding and Building, we discuss the development cycle in more detail.

Existing Package

Redox has many frequently used packages and programs that are available for inclusion. Each package has a recipe in the directory cookbook/recipes/packagename. Adding an existing package to your build is as simple as adding it to config/$ARCH/myfiles.toml, or whatever name you choose for your .toml configuration definition. Here we will add the games package, which contains several low-def games.

Set up the Redox Build Environment

  • Follow the steps in Building Redox or Podman Build to create the Redox Build Environment on your host computer.
  • Check that CONFIG_NAME in mk/ is desktop.
  • Build the system as described. This will take quite a while the first time.
  • Run the system in QEMU.
    cd ~/tryredox/redox
    make qemu
    Assuming you built the default configuration desktop for x86_64, none of the Redox games (e.g. /bin/minesweeper) have been included yet.
  • On your Redox emulation, log into the system as user user with an empty password.
  • Open a Terminal window by clicking on the icon in the toolbar at the bottom of the Redox screen, and type ls /bin. You will see that minesweeper is not listed.
  • Type Ctrl-Alt-G to regain control of your cursor, and click the upper right corner of the Redox window to exit QEMU.

Set up your Configuration

Read through Configuration Settings. Then do the following.

  • From your redox base directory, copy an existing configuration, then edit it.

    cd ~/tryredox/redox
    cp config/x86_64/desktop.toml config/x86_64/myfiles.toml
    gedit config/x86_64/myfiles.toml &
  • Look for the [packages] secion and add the package to the configuration. You can add the package anywhere in the [packages] section, but by convention, we add them to the end or to an existing related area of the section.

    uutils = {}
    # Add this line:
    games = {}
  • Change your CONFIG_NAME in .config to refer to your myfiles.toml configuration definition.

    gedit .config &
    # Add this line:
  • Save all your changes and exit the editor.

Build the System

  • In your base redox folder, e.g. ~/tryredox/redox, build the system and run it in QEMU.
    cd ~/tryredox/redox
    make all
    make qemu
  • On your Redox emulation, log into the system as user user with an empty password.
  • Open a Terminal window by clicking it on the icon in the toolbar at the bottom of the Redox screen, and type ls /bin. You will see that minesweeper is listed.
  • In the terminal window, type minesweeper. Play the game using the arrow keys or WSAD,space to reveal a spot, f to flag a spot when you suspect a mine is present. When you type f, an F character will appear.

And that's it! Sort of.


Some packages may have dependencies, which will have their own recipes. You can look at the recipe.toml or file in the cookbook/recipes/PACKAGE directory to see what dependencies exist for your package, and verify that you have a recipe for each dependency as well. Some packages may also require libraries such as sdl or build tools such as ninja-build. Make sure you install those required items. See Install Prerequisite Packages or Podman Adding Libraries for examples.

Modifying an Existing Package

If you want to make changes to an existing Redox package for your own purposes, you can do your work in the directory cookbook/recipes/PACKAGE/source. The cookbook process will not fetch sources if they are already present in that folder. However, if you intend to do significant work or to contribute changes to Redox, please follow Coding and Building.

Create your own - Hello World

To create your own program to be included, you will need to create the recipe. This example walks through adding the "hello world" program that cargo new automatically generates to a local build of the operating system.

This process is largely the same for other Rust crates and even non-Rust programs.

Setting up the recipe

The cookbook will only build programs that have a recipe defined in cookbook/recipes. To create a recipe for Hello World, first create a directory cookbook/recipes/helloworld. Inside this directory create a file recipe.toml and add these lines to it:

template = "cargo"

The [build] section defines how cookbook should build our project. There are several templates but "cargo" should be used for Rust projects.

The [source] section of the recipe tells Cookbook how fetch the sources for a program from a git or tarball URL. This is done if cookbook/recipes/PACKAGE/source does not exist, during make fetch or during the fetch step of make all. For this example, we will simply develop in the source directory, so no [source] section is necessary.

Writing the program

Since this is a Hello World example, we are going to have Cargo write the code for us. In cookbook/recipes/helloworld, do the following:

mkdir source
cd source
cargo init --name="helloworld"

This creates a Cargo.toml file and a src directory with the Hello World program.

Adding the program to the Redox build

To be able to access a program from within Redox, it must be added to the filesystem. As above, create a filesystem config config/x86_64/myfiles.toml or similar by copying an existing configuration, and modify CONFIG_NAME in .config to be myfiles. Open config/x86_64/myfiles.toml and add helloworld = {} to the [packages] section. During the creation of the Redox image, the build system installs those packages on the image filesystem.

userutils = {}
# Add this line:
helloworld = {}

Then, to build the Redox image, including your program, go to your redox base directory and run make rebuild.

cd ~/tryredox/redox
make rebuild

Running your program

Once the rebuild is finished, run make qemu, and when the GUI starts, log in to Redox, open the terminal, and run helloworld. It should print

Hello, world!

Note that the helloworld binary can be found in /bin on Redox (ls file:/bin).