QEMU Build Tutorial
If you don't have a mainboard supported by coreboot don't worry: QEMU can help you to emulate one. Using coreboot with QEMU may serve the purpose to familiarize you as a developer with coreboot and may be a reference system during development.
While there are many ways to use coreboot to load and run a Linux kernel, this tutorial covers two of the most common:
- coreboot with FILO as payload, using FILO to load a Linux kernel (and optional initramfs) from a hard disk image. This approach involves a bit more mechanism (it relies on FILO's built-in disk and filesystem drivers) but it produces a tiny coreboot image.
- coreboot with a Linux kernel (and optional initramfs) as payload. This cuts FILO out of the picture, but the main challenge with this approach is squeezing the resulting coreboot image into QEMU's BIOS ROM area (currently 2 MB, but easy to extend by patching QEMU).
You need the following software packages:
- coreboot v2 r2405 or greater
- Qemu 0.9.0 or greater
- FILO 0.4.2 or greater (if using FILO)
- mkelfImage 2.7 or greater (if not using FILO)
plus a Linux kernel and root filesystem and a working development environment (make, gcc, etc.). gcc 4.0.x and 4.1.x are known to work for all packages except QEMU, which requires gcc 3.x.
Building or finding a Linux kernel
If you are using FILO, you can simply grab a Linux kernel and initramfs from your favorite distribution.
Otherwise, you will probably need to build a kernel and initramfs from scratch, ensuring that the final coreboot image does not exceed QEMU's BIOS size limit (2MB if qemu-bios-size patch applied, 256KB otherwise). Building the kernel and initramfs is beyond the scope of this tutorial; how you configure them depends on your application.
If you plan to use kexec to chain-boot another Linux kernel, tools from these projects can help automate the process of generating a kernel and initramfs:
Building a FILO payload
If you plan to build your Linux kernel and root filesystem directly into coreboot, you can skip this section.
Download FILO (I used filo-0.4.2.tar.bz2), decompress it, and cd to the created directory.
First invocation of make creates the default Config file.
Edit this file as you like. The default configuration worked for me.
$ vi Config
Run make again to create filo.elf, the ELF FILO image.
You will use this file (filo.elf) as the coreboot payload later on.
Building a Linux kernel payload
If you are using FILO, skip this section.
Download mkelfImage (I used mkelfImage-2.7.tar.gz), decompress it, and cd to the created directory.
Configure and build the mkelfImage binary.
$ ./configure && make
Now use mkelfImage to convert your Linux kernel image (vmlinuz) and initramfs (initrd) into a usable coreboot payload (linux.elf):
$ mkelfImage --append="console=ttyS0" --initrd=initrd vmlinuz linux.elf
Download the coreboot source code (I used coreboot-v2 r2405) and extract it.
Change to directory targets/emulation/qemu-x86 and modify Config.lb:
- change payload to point to your payload (filo.elf or linux.elf)
- if you are using a Linux payload, increase the value of option ROM_SIZE to 2048*1024 (2 MB)
Return to targets directory and execute:
$ ./buildtarget emulation/qemu-x86
Go to targets/emulation/qemu-x86/qemu-x86 and execute:
This creates the coreboot image (qemu-bios.rom). Copy and rename this file to bios.bin in your home directory.
If you plan to run Qemu version 0.9.0, you will have to build QEMU from source after applying a couple of patches. (Later versions of QEMU might incorporate these patches, allowing you to run them unmodified; hopefully someone will be kind enough to update this tutorial if this happens.)
Download the QEMU source code (I used qemu-0.9.0.tar.gz) and extract it.
Download these three patches and save them to the QEMU source directory:
Enter the QEMU source directory and apply the patches:
$ patch -p1 < qemu-isa-bios-ram.patch $ patch -p1 < qemu-piix-ram-size.patch $ patch -p1 < qemu-bios-size.patch
Configure and make QEMU (use the --cc option if your default gcc is newer than version 3.4):
$ ./configure --cc=gcc-3.4 --target-list=i386-softmmu && make
The QEMU binary is stored in the i386-softmmu directory.
Building Qemu on FreeBSD
Qemu can easily be installed using FreeBSD's Ports tree. The Qemu port lives in emulators/qemu. However, as of version 0.9.1 the FreeBSD port can unfortunately no longer be used with coreboot. The latest working version is 0.9.0 which can be retrieved from the FreeBSD CVS repository. For your convenience, an archive of the last working port version has been uploaded to this wiki. You can download the archive from here. For some reason, the downloaded archive cannot be extracted with tar only, so use these steps to extract the archive:
$ gunzip FreeBSD-Qemu-0.9.0.tgz $ tar -xvf FreeBSD-Qemu.0.9.0.tar
To build and install the port, do this:
$ cd qemu $ make clean install
Make sure you load the aio(4) kernel module before starting QEMU. Also, QEMU can be build with the kqemu kernel module that enhances QEMU's performance. To load both kernel modules at boot time, add the following lines to /boot/loader.conf:
You can now use the Qemu binary located in /usr/local/bin.
Creating a hard disk image
If you are using FILO, you must create a hard disk image containing the Linux kernel and optional initramfs that FILO loads.
Whether or not you use FILO, you may also wish to populate the disk image with the root filesystem of whatever Linux distribution you want to run.
Create an empty disk image:
$ qemu-img create -f raw disk.img 200M
$ mkfs.ext2 -F disk.img
The remaining steps must be performed as root. Create a temporary mountpoint and mount the image:
# mkdir /mnt/rootfs # mount -o loop disk.img /mnt/rootfs
Create a boot directory and copy your Linux kernel (vmlinuz) and initramfs (initrd) to it:
# mkdir /mnt/rootfs/boot # cp vmlinuz /mnt/rootfs/boot/vmlinuz # cp initrd /mnt/rootfs/boot/initrd
At this point, you can also copy a complete root filesystem to the disk image.
# cp -R /* /mnt/rootfs
Alternatively, with Debian you can use the debootstrap command to create a basic root filesystem:
# debootstrap --arch i386 sarge /mnt/rootfs http://ftp.debian.org/debian/
If you are using a debootstrap filesystem, open the file /mnt/rootfs/etc/inittab and change runlevel to level 1:
cd out of /mnt/rootfs and umount it:
# umount /mnt/rootfs
Exit from the root account:
Starting coreboot in QEMU
Execute QEMU using the following parameters:
$ qemu -L ~ -hda disk.img -nographic
The -L option tells QEMU to look for bios.bin in your $HOME directory. The -nographic option suppresses the graphical VGA display and connects the virtual machine's serial port to your console.
You should now see all sorts of interesting coreboot messages, followed by Linux kernel boot messages or a FILO prompt.
If you are using FILO, enter at the boot: prompt:
boot: hda:/boot/vmlinuz root=/dev/hda initrd=/boot/initrd console=ttyS0