Evergreen Lite Partner Doc

What is Cobalt Evergreen Lite?

Evergreen Lite is a Cobalt configuration similar to Evergreen Full. Evergreen Lite takes advantage of the same Evergreen software architecture, but removes the need for additional storage and is missing the defining cloud-based Cobalt Updater feature used in Evergreen Full.

Evergreen Lite relies on separating the Starboard (platform) and Cobalt (core) components of a Cobalt implementation into the following discrete components:

Evergreen Lite Overvew


Google-built (on Google toolchain)

  • Cobalt Core
    • Pre-built shared library available for all supported architectures
  • Cobalt Updater - disabled

Partner-built (on Partner toolchain)

  • Starboard
    • Platform-specific implementation
    • Contains system dependencies (e.g. libpthread.so, libEGL.so)
  • Cobalt Loader (Loader App)
    • Loads the Cobalt core shared library
    • An ELF loader is used to load the Cobalt core and resolves symbols with Starboard APIs when Cobalt starts up in Evergreen mode
  • Crash handler
    • Uploads crash reports to Google server when crash happens

With this new Cobalt Evergreen platform architecture, less engineering effort is necessary for a full Cobalt integration/deployment.

The idea here is you should only need to implement Starboard one time (as long as the Starboard API version is supported by Cobalt), and any Cobalt Core-level binary updates are provided by Google with pre-built configurations/symbols via our open-source releases (GitHub). These pre-built Cobalt Core Evergreen binaries should be a direct replacement to update Cobalt without any engineering work required. As Cobalt Core binaries are pre-built, they should only require platform testing. NOTE that certain new Cobalt features may require Starboard changes, so if you want to take advantage of some of these new features, Starboard changes may be necessary.

Benefits compared to non-Evergreen

  • Less engineering work/accelerated timeline for Cobalt integration/deployment as Google builds Cobalt core code and partners only need to build and maintain the Starboard layer
  • Performance enhancements as the Cobalt core is built with modern toolchain
  • Crash reports are uploaded to Google backend and monitored by Google, so they can be acted on and addressed more quickly

New in Evergreen Lite compared to non-Evergreen

  • New loader_app and crashpad_handler components required to be built on platform toolchains
  • No Cobalt Core customization is allowed because the vanilla Cobalt Core binary is provided by Google.

Differences compared to Evergreen Full

  • The Google-control cloud-based automatic updates are disabled. Instead, Cobalt provides the update binary to partners, and partners control the release process
  • No extra storage required comparing to the existing software requirements

How is Evergreen different from porting Cobalt previously?

Same as the Evergreen full doc.

Building Cobalt Evergreen Components

kSbSystemPathStorageDirectory is not required to implement. Set both sb_evergreen_compatible and sb_evergreen_compatible_lite to 1s in the gyp platform config. The remaining is the same as the Evergreen full doc.

How does the update work with Evergreen Lite?

Cobalt will release the Cobalt Core binary to partners for each Cobalt LTS major and minor release, and partners decide whether to update their devices with the latest Cobalt Core code via firmware OTA update. To update, partners only need to put the new Cobalt Core binary at the system image location under <kSbSystemPathContentDirectory>/app/cobalt. More about the system image slot is explained below.

Platform Requirements

Cobalt Evergreen currently supports the following

Target Architectures:

  • x86_32
  • x86_64
  • armv7 32
  • armv8 64

Supported Javascript Engines

  • V8

Building and Running Tests

Same as the Evergreen Full doc - cobalt_evergreen_overview.md.

System Design

Cobalt Evergreen Components

Cobalt updater is disabled. The binary will not check for updates by sending requests to the Google update server, nor download updates from the Google Download server.

Cobalt Evergreen Interfaces

Same as the Evergreen Full doc - cobalt_evergreen_overview.md.

System Image Slot

Evergreen Lite will have only one system image slot. This is stored in the directory specified by kSbSystemPathContentDirectory under the app/cobalt subdirectory.

├── content <--(kSbSystemPathContentDirectory)
│   └── fonts <--(kSbSystemPathFontDirectory, `standard` or `limit` configuration)
│   └── app
│       └── cobalt <--(System image, provided by Google)
│           ├── content <--(relative path defined in kSystemImageContentPath)
│           │   ├── fonts <--(`empty` configuration)
│           │   ├── icu
│           │   ├── licenses
│           │   ├── ssl
│           ├── lib
│           │   └── libcobalt.so
│           └── manifest.json
└── loader_app <--(Cobalt loader binary)
└── crashpad_handler <--(Cobalt crash handler binary)


Same as the Evergreen Full doc - cobalt_evergreen_overview.md.

How to run Evergreen Lite

Launch Cobalt with the loader app binary with the evergreen_lite flag

$ ./loader_app --evergreen_lite


What’s the path from Evergreen Lite to Evergreen Full?

  • Provision storage for the installation slots to contain downloaded update binaries - kSbSystemPathStorageDirectory and configure the slots as instructed in the Evergreen full doc
  • Configure icu table under kSbSystemPathStorageDirectory to be shared among slots
  • Set sb_evergreen_compatible_lite to 0
  • Implement the handling of pending updates
  • Rebuild and rerun nplb_evergreen_compat_tests
  • Launch Cobalt with loader app without the evergreen_lite flag

More details can be found in the Evergreen Full doc.