Sunday, May 6, 2012

Qemu is going to boot Linux/sparc64

After considering it a bit, I thought, it's a good marketing strategy: the free QEMU version shall run the free OS - Linux. And if anyone is interested in running something else, feel free to ask me for a [paid] support. :-)

So, Linux is going to be the second OS which vanilla qemu-system-sparc64 would boot - HelenOS was the first one. But, unlike HelenOS, Linux will be fully functional, having not just a stdout, but a stdin as well. And a serial port support!

At the moment OpenBIOS has some missing features - it doesn't describe the interrupt mappings - and a regression - currently it can't even boot HelenOS from a command line. But both are not show-stoppers.

Once my patches are accepted I'll publish the OpenBIOS command to boot Linux (not because it's top secret, but due to the dependency to a certain version).


Jakub Jermar said...

I hope to be able to dedicate some time to make HelenOS use the serial as its console based on what it finds in the OFW tree after our next release. This will be useful both for running in QEMU and on some of our headless servers that have been mostly idling in a rack cabinet so far. At the moment, we are buried deep in a bug-fixing phase :-)

At the same time, it would be nice if QEMU allowed HelenOS to detect the standard su device, which is the ns16550 serial controller wired to a Sun keyboard. This can't be too difficult to do either, right? :-)

atar said...

Detecting wouldn't have been a big deal if the device were there. :-)

The problem is that qemu-system-sparc64 doesn't have a Sun keyboard. It has a PS/2 keyboard instead.

Actually qemu even doesn't know about "Type 6 keyboard" which is typically used in sun4u machines.

There is a "Type 5 keyboard" used in the qemu-system-sparc (aka sun4m), but it's implemented in the escc (aka zs) serial port.

If "Type 6" is just another name for a PS/2 keyboard, it should be possible to get it recognized. If it's something else, it needs to be implemented first.

Alternatively we can try an USB keyboard. If it doesn't need IOM/DMA in order to function.

ольга крыжановская said...

How is HelenOS related to Solaris/Illumos? Will you work on getting Solaris/Illumos booting on qemu? We're in desperate need of sparc64 test machines.

atar said...

HelenOS is not related to Solaris/Illumos at all (see

I have a Proof-of-Concept patch which allows booting Solaris 10 and Solaris 11 Express.

Currently Mark Cave-Ayland and me are looking for the funding to continue work on OpenBIOS and qemu-system-sparc64 to make it boot [Open]Solaris.

Are you from the Illumos team? I haven't seen any sparc release of Illumos yet. If I get one, I can test if it boots in my environment. (If it hasn't dropped UltraSPARC-II support, like Solaris 11).

ольга крыжановская said...

We want to work on Belenix, which is a bit related to Illumos. Can I have your mail address for further discussions, please (mine is

Anonymous said...

Hi Atar,

I deperately try to reach you. I want to run:
- Host: x86, 64bit, one of the later RedHat Linux releases
- Guest: UltraSparc, 64bit with Solaris 10

Could you please let me know how to contact you. Some sponsoring might be possible.

atar said...

My e-mail: