‘virt’ Generic Virtual Platform (
virt board is a platform which does not correspond to any real hardware;
it is designed for use in virtual machines. It is the recommended board type
if you simply want to run a guest such as Linux and do not care about
reproducing the idiosyncrasies and limitations of a particular bit of
virt machine supports the following devices:
Up to 8 generic RV32GC/RV64GC cores, with optional extensions
Core Local Interruptor (CLINT)
Platform-Level Interrupt Controller (PLIC)
CFI parallel NOR flash memory
1 NS16550 compatible UART
1 Google Goldfish RTC
1 SiFive Test device
8 virtio-mmio transport devices
1 generic PCIe host bridge
The fw_cfg device that allows a guest to obtain data from QEMU
The hypervisor extension has been enabled for the default CPU, so virtual machines with hypervisor extension can simply be used without explicitly declaring.
Hardware configuration information
virt machine automatically generates a device tree blob (“dtb”)
which it passes to the guest, if there is no
-dtb option. This provides
information about the addresses, interrupt lines and other configuration of
the various devices in the system. Guest software should discover the devices
that are present in the generated DTB.
If users want to provide their own DTB, they can use the
These DTBs should have the following requirements:
The number of subnodes of the /cpus node should match QEMU’s
The /memory reg size should match QEMU’s selected ram_size via
Should contain a node for the CLINT device with a compatible string “riscv,clint0” if using with OpenSBI BIOS images
virt machine can start using the standard -kernel functionality
for loading a Linux kernel, a VxWorks kernel, an S-mode U-Boot bootloader
with the default OpenSBI firmware image as the -bios. It also supports
the recommended RISC-V bootflow: U-Boot SPL (M-mode) loads OpenSBI fw_dynamic
firmware and U-Boot proper (S-mode), using the standard -bios functionality.
The following machine-specific options are supported:
When this option is “on”, ACLINT devices will be emulated instead of SiFive CLINT. When not specified, this option is assumed to be “off”.
This option allows selecting interrupt controller defined by the AIA (advanced interrupt architecture) specification. The “aia=aplic” selects APLIC (advanced platform level interrupt controller) to handle wired interrupts whereas the “aia=aplic-imsic” selects APLIC and IMSIC (incoming message signaled interrupt controller) to handle both wired interrupts and MSIs. When not specified, this option is assumed to be “none” which selects SiFive PLIC to handle wired interrupts.
The number of per-HART VS-level AIA IMSIC pages to be emulated for a guest having AIA IMSIC (i.e. “aia=aplic-imsic” selected). When not specified, the default number of per-HART VS-level AIA IMSIC pages is 0.
Running Linux kernel
Linux mainline v5.12 release is tested at the time of writing. To build a
Linux mainline kernel that can be booted by the
virt machine in
64-bit mode, simply configure the kernel using the defconfig configuration:
$ export ARCH=riscv $ export CROSS_COMPILE=riscv64-linux- $ make defconfig $ make
To boot the newly built Linux kernel in QEMU with the
$ qemu-system-riscv64 -M virt -smp 4 -m 2G \ -display none -serial stdio \ -kernel arch/riscv/boot/Image \ -initrd /path/to/rootfs.cpio \ -append "root=/dev/ram"
To build a Linux mainline kernel that can be booted by the
in 32-bit mode, use the rv32_defconfig configuration. A patch is required to
fix the 32-bit boot issue for Linux kernel v5.12.
$ export ARCH=riscv $ export CROSS_COMPILE=riscv64-linux- $ curl https://email@example.com/mbox/ > riscv.patch $ git am riscv.patch $ make rv32_defconfig $ make
qemu-system-riscv32 in the command
line above to boot the 32-bit Linux kernel. A rootfs image containing 32-bit
applications shall be used in order for kernel to boot to user space.
U-Boot mainline v2021.04 release is tested at the time of writing. To build an
S-mode U-Boot bootloader that can be booted by the
virt machine, use
the qemu-riscv64_smode_defconfig with similar commands as described above for Linux:
$ export CROSS_COMPILE=riscv64-linux- $ make qemu-riscv64_smode_defconfig
Boot the 64-bit U-Boot S-mode image directly:
$ qemu-system-riscv64 -M virt -smp 4 -m 2G \ -display none -serial stdio \ -kernel /path/to/u-boot.bin
To test booting U-Boot SPL which in M-mode, which in turn loads a FIT image that bundles OpenSBI fw_dynamic firmware and U-Boot proper (S-mode) together, build the U-Boot images using riscv64_spl_defconfig:
$ export CROSS_COMPILE=riscv64-linux- $ export OPENSBI=/path/to/opensbi-riscv64-generic-fw_dynamic.bin $ make qemu-riscv64_spl_defconfig
The minimal QEMU commands to run U-Boot SPL are:
$ qemu-system-riscv64 -M virt -smp 4 -m 2G \ -display none -serial stdio \ -bios /path/to/u-boot-spl \ -device loader,file=/path/to/u-boot.itb,addr=0x80200000
To test 32-bit U-Boot images, switch to use qemu-riscv32_smode_defconfig and
riscv32_spl_defconfig builds, and replace
qemu-system-riscv32 in the command lines above to boot the 32-bit U-Boot.
A TPM device can be connected to the virt board by following the steps below.
First launch the TPM emulator:
$ swtpm socket --tpm2 -t -d --tpmstate dir=/tmp/tpm \ --ctrl type=unixio,path=swtpm-sock
Then launch QEMU with some additional arguments to link a TPM device to the backend:
$ qemu-system-riscv64 \ ... other args .... \ -chardev socket,id=chrtpm,path=swtpm-sock \ -tpmdev emulator,id=tpm0,chardev=chrtpm \ -device tpm-tis-device,tpmdev=tpm0
The TPM device can be seen in the memory tree and the generated device tree and should be accessible from the guest software.