As you know, qemu has a user-mode emulation. This means binaries for one CPU (for example SPARC) can be executed on another CPU (for example i686) under the same OS. The system calls are executed directly on the host (which means they are executed as fast as for native binaries), and the executable code itself is translated with TCG.
After I fixed ELF loading for SPARC64 binaries, qemu can load not only static Linux/sparc64 binaries, but dynamically linked ones too. To achieve that qemu has to be statically linked (it may sound confusing, for launching statically linked binaries qemu doesn't have to be built statically but for the dynamically one it has to be) and chrooted to the guest OS file system image:
qemu$ ./configure --target-list=sparc-linux-user,sparc64-linux-user,sparc32plus-linux-user --static && make
qemu$ mv -i sparc32plus-linux-user/qemu-sparc32plus ../debian-6-sparc64-initrd/
# /usr/sbin/chroot ../debian-6-sparc64-initrd/ /qemu-sparc32plus -L . /bin/busybox
BusyBox v1.17.1 (Debian 1:1.17.1-8) multi-call binary.
Copyright (C) 1998-2009 Erik Andersen, Rob Landley, Denys Vlasenko
and others. Licensed under GPLv2.
See source distribution for full notice.
Usage: busybox [function] [arguments]...
or: function [arguments]...
BusyBox is a multi-call binary that combines many common Unix
utilities into a single executable. Most people will create a
link to busybox for each function they wish to use and BusyBox
will act like whatever it was invoked as.
Currently defined functions:
[, [[, ar, ash, basename, blockdev, cat, chmod, chown, chroot, cp, cut, dd, df, dirname, dmesg, dnsdomainname, echo, egrep, env, expr, false,
find, free, freeramdisk, grep, gunzip, halt, head, hostname, id, init, ip, kill, klogd, ln, logger, ls, md5sum, mkdir, mknod, mkswap, modinfo,
more, mount, mv, nc, pidof, pivot_root, poweroff, printf, ps, pwd, readlink, realpath, reboot, rm, rmdir, route, sed, sh, sleep, sort,
swapoff, swapon, sync, syslogd, tail, tar, test, tftp, touch, tr, true, tty, udhcpc, umount, uname, uniq, wc, wget, zcat
This is a great tool to find CPU bugs! One can use existing binaries for example to check that emulated CPU produces the same md5 or sha512 sum for a certain binary as the host does, or pack/unpack using gzip and bzip, or just observe weird unames:
/usr/sbin/chroot ../debian-6-sparc64-initrd/ /qemu-sparc32plus -L . /bin/uname -a
Linux localhost 188.8.131.52-69.fc13.x86_64 #1 SMP Tue May 3 09:23:03 UTC 2011 sun4 GNU/Linux