4.10. Emulated targets

Some targets barebox runs on are virtualized by emulators like QEMU, which allows basic testing of barebox functionality without the actual hardware.

4.10.1. Generic DT image

Supported for ARM and RISC-V. It generates a barebox image that can be booted with the Linux kernel booting convention, which makes it suitable to be passed as argument to the QEMU -kernel option (as well as booted just like Linux from barebox or other bootloaders).

The device tree can be passed externally via QEMU’s -dtb option, but also the QEMU internal device tree can be used.

The latter can be very useful with VirtIO Support, because QEMU will fix up the virtio mmio regions into the device tree and barebox will discover the devices automatically, analogously to what it does with VirtIO over PCI.

4.10.2. test/emulate.pl

The emulate.pl script shipped with barebox can be used to easily start VMs. It reads a number of YAML files in test/$ARCH, which describe some virtualized targets that barebox is known to run on.

Controlled by command line options, these targets are built with tuxmake if available and loaded into the emulator for either interactive use or for automated testing with Labgrid QEMUDriver.

Install dependencies for interactive use:

cpan YAML::XS # or use e.g. libyaml-libyaml-perl on Debian
pip3 install tuxmake # optional

Example usage:

# Switch to barebox source directory
cd barebox

# emulate x86 VM runnig the EFI payload from efi_defconfig
ARCH=x86 ./test/emulate.pl efi_defconfig

# build all MIPS targets known to emulate.pl and exit
ARCH=mips ./test/emulate.pl --no-emulate

The script can also be used with a precompiled barebox tree:

# Switch to build directory
export KBUILD_OUTPUT=build

# run a barebox image built outside tuxmake on an ARM virt machine
ARCH=arm ./test/emulate.pl virt@multi_v7_defconfig --no-tuxmake

# run tests instead of starting emulator interactively
ARCH=arm ./test/emulate.pl virt@multi_v7_defconfig --no-tuxmake --test

emulate.pl also has some knowledge on paravirtualized devices:

# Run target and pass a block device (here /dev/virtioblk0)
ARCH=riscv ./test/emulate.pl --blk=rootfs.ext4 rv64i_defconfig

Needed command line options can be passed directly to the emulator/pytest as well by placing them behind --:

# appends -device ? to the command line. Add -n to see the final result
ARCH=riscv ./test/emulate.pl rv64i_defconfig -- -device ?

For a complete listing of options run ./test/emulate.pl -h.