In September 2009, Microsoft researchers released a prototype OS, code-named "Barrelfish," an OS written specifically for multicore environments.
The Barrelfish platform is a prototype developed by ETH Zurich in collaboration with Microsoft Research. It's important to underline that Barrelfish cannot be considered anything else but an experiment, at least for the time being.
The team have now released a new version of the Barrelfish operating system which is available for download to early adopters.
Researchers interested in playing around with Barrelfish can download it via Mercurial. "The latest version of Barrelfish is now available. We've also moved over to anonymous access using Mercurial, so we'll do a new release whenever the regression tests all pass," reads an announcement on the platform's official website.
"We're exploring how to structure an OS for future multi- and many-core systems. We're motivated by two closely related trends in hardware design: first, the rapidly growing number of cores, which leads to a scalability challenge, and second, the increasing diversity in computer hardware, requiring the OS to manage and exploit heterogeneous hardware resources," a project team member revealed.
Barrelfish is of course offered for download free of charge, being available under the MIT Open Source license.