Repo: rumpctrl

Antti Kantee edited this page Sep 14, 2015 · 8 revisions
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This page describes rumpctrl. If you are completely unfamiliar the rump kernel ecosystem, we suggest following the Getting Started Tutorial before attempting to read the rest of this page.

Rumpctrl provides configuration, control and diagnostic utilities for rump kernels. These utilities can be run on a POSIX-type userspace platform to remotely inspect and adjust the status of rump kernels via the sysproxy remote system call facility. This repository provides both the build framework and a selection of familiar utilities such as ifconfig, mount, sysctl, and more.


To build, run:


This will automatically fetch and build all dependencies.

If you want support for the experimental ZFS utilities to be included, run:

./ zfs


The model of operation is such that the rump kernel runs in a separate domain from the control applications. The rumpctrl utilities run as userspace processes, and the rump kernel can be for example a userspace rump kernel server, or a Rumprun unikernel running on Xen.

The environment variable $RUMP_SERVER determines which method and address the rumpctrl utility uses for communicating with the rump kernel. Currently, two methods are supported (as of writing this more are being planned):

  • unix: local domain sockets
  • tcp: TCP communication

The address is given in an URL-like fashion, e.g. unix:///path/to/socket or tcp://

For example, assuming a rump kernel server accepting sysproxy requests via a unix domain socket located at path csock, we can create and configure a networking interface in the following fashion:

$ .
rumpctrl (NULL)$ export RUMP_SERVER=unix://csock
rumpctrl (unix://csock)$ ifconfig shmif0 create
rumpctrl (unix://csock)$ ifconfig shmif0 linkstr busmem
rumpctrl (unix://csock)$ ifconfig shmif0 inet netmask 0xffffff00
rumpctrl (unix://csock)$ ifconfig shmif0
shmif0: flags=8043<UP,BROADCAST,RUNNING,MULTICAST> mtu 1500
    address: b2:a0:57:b0:8a:69
    linkstr: busmem
    inet6 fe80::b0a0:57ff:feb0:8a69%shmif0 prefixlen 64 scopeid 0x2
    inet netmask 0xffffff00 broadcast

Bundled programs

A few dozen NetBSD utilities such as ifconfig, sysctl, dd and wpa_supplicant are bundled with rumpctrl. You can list the currently available ones by running rumpctrl_listcmds (the routine is provided by

Generally speaking, supporting a program is a matter of pulling in the unmodified NetBSD source code and adding the name of the program to Makefile, so if you have requests, do not hesitate to file an issue.

The manual page for each command is available from, e.g. cat.


  • ktrace: there is no kdump support yet. you can cat ktrace.out to a NetBSD host and kdump there
  • mount: mount -vv needs some more work (it fork+exec's)
  • ping6: uses signals not timeouts so only first ping working
  • reboot: not working due to signals; there is a simple halt available.
  • wpa_passphrase: does not really use the rump kernel, for completeness with wpa_supplicant

For programs that fork and exec, the rumpclient library will fork the provided host binary, so for ktrace you must do ./bin/ktrace ./bin/ls.


  • Why does shell redirecting not work? E.g. wpa_passphrase net passkey > wpa.conf creates the config file on the host instead of in the rump kernel.
    • Your shell is not a rumpctrl program, so shell redirects are interpreted in host context. As a workaround, use dd, which is a Rumprun program, e.g. wpa_passphrase net passkey | dd of=wpa.conf