Userlevel process environments

The CheriBSD userspace likewise supports two different execution environments, hybrid processes and CheriABI (pure-capability) processes:

  • Hybrid processes provide strong binary compatibility with the non-CHERI version of the same architecture -- for example, aarch64 on Morello.
  • CheriABI processes implement strong referential and spatial memory protection through the system-call interface, dynamic linker, language runtime including heap memory allocators, and compiler-generated code. This protects against memory memory-safety vulnerabilities in both system services and applications. CheriABI is described in an ASPLOS 2019 paper.

Both environments can be used over either of the hybrid or pure-capability kernels.

Pre-compiled third-party software applications (packages) are provided for both ABIs, although CheriABI packages are currently considered experimental. This is discussed further in the chapter on packages.