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IVI EG and Production Ready Discussion

App Framework in IVI EG

Automotive Grade Linux / Collabora
Daniel Stone <>

What is the App Framework?

Why is the App Framework?

Current App Framework in IVI

  • App Framework developed by
  • Developed for AGL IVI applications
  • Based on JSON + WebSockets
  • Communication separated between services in different
  • processes
  • Clients and services can be written in any language
  • Heavily integrated with SMACK

App framework: the good

  • Communication separated between services in different processes
  • Allows common authentication between security domains
  • Clients and services can be written in any language
  • Portable to multi-ECU solutions

App framework: the bad

  • Communication separated between services in different processes
    •  ... but is JSON + WebSockets the best transport mechanism?
    • proposing to replace JSON with binary serialisation due to performance overhead
    • Not always the best signalling for every usecase
  • Allows common authentication between security domains
    • ... but that authentication is heavily based on SMACK
    • Reliant on UNIX process model and privilege inheritance
    • Complex, difficult to get right
    • (to the point it’s a FAQ)
    • Still no support for WAM-like usecases
  • Clients and services can be written in any language
    • Few helpers and bindings for many languages
    • Lacks rich features compared to other IPC and RPC systems: deeper API integration (FFI, callbacks), service enumeration and discovery●
  • Portable to multi-ECU solutions
    • ... but, SMACK
    • Enumeration and discovery also undefined

App framework: the ugly

  • Requires bespoke effort and binding for every language and app
  • No community support buy-in outside AGL-IVI &
  • AGL app framework is not production ready (lacks features, performance, etc)
  • Toyota proposing to replace app framework (?) as part of PR effort
  • IC EG proposing to avoid IVI app framework
  • ... a lot of effort for little help

App framework: the ... good, again?

  • AGL production-readiness model emphasises tier-1 needs
  • AGL IC effort has own clearly defined architecture
  • AGL IVI supposed to be ‘innovation’ area
    • New technology development
    • Emphasis on collaboration with upstream open community
    • Success stories: PipeWire, Wayland, etc

App framework: getting to good?

  • Restart from fundamentals, focus on base requirements
  • Activity, lifecycle, lifetime management of services
  • Authentication domains
  • Inter-service discovery, enumeration, connection (like Android intents and Binder, D-Bus, cloud services)
  • Restart from upstream OSS projects
    • Consider systemd sessions and scopes for lifecycle
      • Works with standard UNIX services
      • Works with modern container workloads e.g. CRI
      • Uses cgroups for isolation and separation
      • Monitoring process lifecycle, bidirectional notification
    • Reconsider authorization strategy
      • Investigate alternate authorization mechanisms not based on single LSM
      • Use of privileged sockets (as in Wayland privilege model), network namespaces, to differentiate different services
      • Alternate authorization mechanisms such as OAuth2/JWT or ephemeral certificates (as in Kubernetes) for remote services
    • Strongly reconsider IPC mechanisms

      • Most other IPC services (Binder, D-Bus, gRPC, others) already handle common problems

      • Authorization, performance, tracing: key considerations

      • Service enumeration and discovery: helpful addition on top of existing app FW

      • Investigate domain-specific solutions: like WirePlumber for audio, Wayland for window management, etc

  • Accept limitations of current resourcing and funding
  • We do not have enough engineering time to produce a complete app framework from scratch
  • AGL should be close to open upstream communities
  • Focus on the glue: reuse, improve, integrate, iterate!

App framework: when will we be good?

● Detailed time estimates for new app framework:

● ...

● Please discuss! :)


Collaboration between Virt, IVI and IC EG's , gathering needs and requirements.

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