Ready-made kernels that can be used to emulate a Raspberry Pi using QEMU.
They are compiled from the same kernel sources used for official Raspian images, with tweaks to make them suitable for use with QEMU, and are supposed to be used along with official Raspbian images.
Before starting, you should download a Raspbian image from the Raspberry Pi
website and extract the
.zip archive to obtain an
Choosing a kernel image
This repository contains three types of kernel images:
kernel-qemu-4.*.*-busterare the most recent images, which are compatible with Raspbian Buster and Stretch. To use these images, you'll need a compiled device tree file (.dtb) which is also contained in this repository. Use
versatile-pb-buster.dtbfor Buster, or use
versatile-pb.dtbfor Stretch. Unless you are positive you need a different kernel, the most recent of these images is probably what you want.
kernel-qemu-4.*.*-stretchare images compatible with Raspbian Stretch and Jessie. To use these images, you'll need the
versatile-pb.dtbfile which is also contained in this repository.
kernel-qemu-4.4.*-jessieare images compatible with Raspbian Jessie and Wheezy.
kernel-qemu-3.10.25-wheezyis the original image from xecdesign.com, which is compatible with Raspbian Wheezy only.
Using kernel images with QEMU
The QEMU command line will look like
$ qemu-system-arm \ -M versatilepb \ -cpu arm1176 \ -m 256 \ -hda /.../2019-09-26-raspbian-buster-lite.img \ -net user,hostfwd=tcp::5022-:22 \ -dtb /.../versatile-pb-buster.dtb \ -kernel /.../kernel-qemu-4.19.50-buster \ -append 'root=/dev/sda2 panic=1' \ -no-reboot
with the paths to the disk image,
.dtb file and kernel image adjusted
There is a Docker image available to automate this whole process:
docker run -it lukechilds/dockerpi
More information: https://github.com/lukechilds/dockerpi
Using kernel images with libvirt
Assuming your libvirt version is at least 5.0.0, you can use something like
$ virt-install \ --name pi \ --arch armv6l \ --machine versatilepb \ --cpu arm1176 \ --vcpus 1 \ --memory 256 \ --import \ --disk /.../2019-09-26-raspbian-buster-lite.img,format=raw,bus=virtio \ --network user,model=virtio \ --video vga \ --graphics spice \ --rng device=/dev/urandom,model=virtio \ --boot 'dtb=/.../versatile-pb-buster.dtb,kernel=/.../kernel-qemu-4.19.50-buster,kernel_args=root=/dev/vda2 panic=1' \ --events on_reboot=destroy
to create a new libvirt guest called
pi. You'll be able to manage the guest
with all the usual tools, such as
Building your own kernel image
See the contents of the
tools/ directory, where the build scripts and
instructions on how to use them are stored.
Origin of this repository
While searching the Internet for information on emulating a Raspberry Pi using QEMU in Jun 2015, most of the guides pointed to kernel images hosted on xecdesign.com; however, at the time the resource was no longer online, and that's still the case as of Feb 2019.
This repository was initially created as a way to make those kernel images available once again, and has since been expanded to provide improved and up-to-date images.
Additional documentation can be found on the wiki.