Base Nerves system configuration for a Qemu ARM image
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ARM Versatile image for QEMU

Build Status

This is the base Nerves System configuration for QEMU.

Feature Description
CPU Emulated single core ARM Cortex A9
Memory Per QEMU commandline
Storage N/A
Linux kernel 4.4.1
IEx terminal ttyAMA0
Camera No
Ethernet Yes
WiFi No
Bluetooth No

This is the start of a QEMU configuration. Instructions are given below to make networking work on Linux and OS X QEMU hosts.


Hello, Nerves!

Here follows a baseline example of how to run the Nerves getting started example on QEMU:

$ mix hello_nerves --target qemu_arm

$ cd hello_nerves && mix deps.get && mix firmware

$ fwup -a -d _images/qemu_arm/hello_nerves.img -i _images/qemu_arm/hello_nerves.fw -t complete

$ qemu-system-arm -M vexpress-a9 -smp 1 -m 256                         \
    -kernel _build/qemu_arm/dev/nerves/system/images/zImage            \
    -dtb _build/qemu_arm/dev/nerves/system/images/vexpress-v2p-ca9.dtb \
    -drive file=_images/qemu_arm/hello_nerves.img,if=sd,format=raw     \
    -append "console=ttyAMA0,115200 root=/dev/mmcblk0p2" -serial stdio \
    -net none

If all goes well, you will shortly see the QEMU graphical monitor console pop up, displaying the Nerves logo in the top left corner and running an interactive Elixir shell (IEx):



To enable networking with Nerves on QEMU, you will need to do more elaborate setup, and you will require superuser (i.e., root) privileges.

Networking on OS X

Note: These instructions are up to date as of OS X El Capitan 10.11.6. In the following, en0 is assumed to be your primary physical OS X network interface (Ethernet or Wi-Fi), and bridge1 a virtual bridge interface that we'll create for use with QEMU. In case those interface names don't work for you, adjust all instructions accordingly. Similarly, the subnet is an arbitrary choice for example purposes, change it as you please.

Kudos to @salessandri for his guide to setting up a NAT network for QEMU on OS X on which the following is based.

1. TunTap drivers

Install the TunTap kernel extensions either manually from SourceForge or directly with Homebrew:

$ sudo brew cask install tuntap

Note that sudo is required in the above, as these kernel extensions will get installed into the system paths /Library/Extensions/{tap,tun}.kext.

Now load the tun/tap kernel extensions, and ensure that they will get automatically loaded on startup when your machine is rebooted in the future:

$ sudo launchctl load /Library/LaunchDaemons/net.sf.tuntaposx.tap.plist
$ sudo launchctl load /Library/LaunchDaemons/net.sf.tuntaposx.tun.plist

2. Bridge interface

Create and configure a virtual network bridge interface bridge1 for QEMU, connecting the bridge to your primary physical network interface en0 and configuring it to use its own /24 subnet:

$ sudo ifconfig bridge1 create
$ sudo ifconfig bridge1 addm en0
$ sudo ifconfig bridge1   # 78 = ?N

3. Packet forwarding and NAT

Configure your Mac such that packets arriving from the bridge1 interface are routed correctly, and enable NAT such that response packets find their way back:

$ curl -OL

$ sudo sysctl -w net.inet.ip.forwarding=1
$ sudo pfctl -F all              # flush existing rules
$ sudo pfctl -f qemu-pf.conf     # load NAT rules for bridge1

(Note that pfctl -F all also flushes any other rules, unrelated to QEMU. If you know how to improve this, please contribute a README improvement.)

4. DHCP configuration

As a last prerequisite, let's set up Dnsmasq to handle DHCP requests on the bridge1 interface. Dnsmasq is available via both Homebrew and MacPorts. The following depicts installation from Homebrew:

$ brew install dnsmasq

$ curl -OL

$ dnsmasq --conf-file=qemu-dnsmasq.conf  # daemonizes into the background

Networking on Linux

Note: These instructions are valid for Ubuntu 16.04 LTS Xenial Xerus, which uses QEMU version 2.5.0. In the following, eth0 is assumed to be the machine's primary physical network interface (Ethernet or Wi-Fi), and bridge1 a virtual bridge interface that we'll create for use with QEMU. If those interface names don't work for you, adjust all instructions accordingly. Similarly, the subnet is arbitrary; change it as required

Development and testing was conducted on a remote machine over ssh -X for X-Windows forwarding.

1. Prerequisites

Install QEMU and the network bridge utilities:

$ sudo apt-get install qemu-system-arm bridge-utils

2. Bridge interface configuration

This was done on an Intel NUC computer connected via Ethernet to a home network and configured with a static IP address. The network is assumed to have a DHCP server on it somewhere, which will provide network config information to the QEMU guest.

Edit (as root) /etc/network/interfaces to look something like this:

# interfaces(5) file used by ifup(8) and ifdown(8)
auto lo
iface lo inet loopback

auto eth0
iface eth0 inet manual

auto bridge1
iface bridge1 inet static
  address         # static IP of linux host
  gateway           # router
  dns-nameservers   # router again
  dns-search lan local
  bridge_ports eth0
  bridge_stp off
  bridge_fd 0
  bridge_maxwait 0

Reboot the machine.

3. Tap interface configuration

In conjunction with the networking setup in /etc/network/interfaces above, set up a tap interface joined to the main bridge. This will provide the QEMU (nerves) guest with an appearance on the LAN. Other configurations are possible using routed or NAT-ed "back-end" networks, but not covered here.

Note: These commands are automatically executed by the script referenced below. tears down the tap interface once the VM exits. If you already hav a tap0 interface on your machine, you'll want to choose something else.

# create the tap interface
$ sudo ip tuntap add dev tap0 mode tap user `whoami`

# enable the tap interface
$ sudo ip link set tap0 up

# add tap interface to existing bridge
$ sudo brctl addif bridge1 tap0

Hello, Network!

Now you're ready to proceed to building and booting up the Nerves hello_network example:

$ git clone

$ cd nerves-examples/hello_network

$ curl -OL
$ curl -OL

$ NERVES_TARGET=qemu_arm mix deps.get

$ NERVES_TARGET=qemu_arm mix firmware

$ fwup -a -d _images/qemu_arm/hello_network.img -i _images/qemu_arm/hello_network.fw -t complete

$ sudo qemu-system-arm -M vexpress-a9 -smp 1 -m 256                    \
    -kernel _build/qemu_arm/dev/nerves/system/images/zImage            \
    -dtb _build/qemu_arm/dev/nerves/system/images/vexpress-v2p-ca9.dtb \
    -drive file=_images/qemu_arm/hello_network.img,if=sd,format=raw    \
    -append "console=ttyAMA0,115200 root=/dev/mmcblk0p2" -serial stdio \
    -net nic,model=lan9118                                             \
    -net tap,ifname=tap0,,

Once booted up into the IEX console, you can verify that network connectivity and DNS name resolution works by typing in:

iex(1)> HelloNetwork.test_dns
 {:hostent, '', [], :inet, 4,
  [{192, 30, 252, 154}, {192, 30, 252, 153}]}}



If available in Hex, the package can be installed as:

  1. Add nerves_system_qemu_arm to your list of dependencies in mix.exs:

    def deps do
      [{:nerves_system_qemu_arm, "~> 0.6.0"}]
  2. Ensure nerves_system_qemu_arm is started before your application:

    def application do
      [applications: [:nerves_system_qemu_arm]]