Q: How does philix differ from Intel's software?

A: philix is built to take advantage of Intel's software. It's meant to make it easier for developers looking to get some system software quickly running on the Phi.

Q: What bootloader should I use with Philix?

A: You should use Inky the Cat, the bootloader we've included in the distribution. See the documentation for instructions on how to build inky. Inky is bassed on the Weever bootloader, which was created by the Systems group at ETH for integration with Barrelfish. We've made modifications to Weever to generalize the boot process a bit, and our goal is to trim it down even further to speed up boot times and give you more flexibility in how your kernel is linked and loaded.

Q: What are the requirements of my kernel?

A: There are a few requirements of your kernel so that it will work with Philix on the Xeon Phi. The most important is that your kernel be compliant with the Multiboot2 specification. This is actually fairly simple. You can see all of the details on how to meet philix's requirements and the interfaces that your kernel should conform to on the Documentation page for more details. Note that we've provided a tiny kernel in the source tree to help you get started.

Q: How do I use philix?

A: See the build instructions.

Q: Where do I start?

A: If you don't already have a kernel that you're trying to port to the Xeon Phi, write your own! It's not as difficult as you may think. There are actually fewer requirements for machine setup on the Xeon Phi compared to a typical x86 machine. Take a look at OSDev for pointers and tips.

Q: What if I don't have a Xeon Phi?

A: Unfortunately, you're out of luck. There are currently no emulation options available for the Xeon Phi. That means no QEMU support. Intel has its SDE, but it's not meant for system software. The good news is that you can expect the Knights Corner cards to get a lot cheaper soon when Knights Landing comes out.

Q: Does philix speak Intel's SCIF protocol?

A: No. In principle it could, but we didn't have a good reason to implement it. We built this tool for research and rapid prototyping, so reconstructing something like SCIF was not a priority. That said, let us know if you'd be interesting in making SCIF happen for philix.

Q: Will philix boot Linux?

A: The short answer is no. However, if you're determined, I suppose you could write a philix kernel module for Linux (but then why not just use MPSS?).

Q: Will philix work with Knights Landing?

A: Our guess is as good as yours.