Welcome to the SPARC homepage. This page contains news and resources for users looking to emulate sun4m, sun4u or sun4v systems under QEMU.
- 1 Status
- 2 Installation
- 3 Getting started
- 4 Changes to sun4u machine from 2.11 onwards
- 5 Compatibility
- 6 Timeline
- 7 Useful links
- 8 Pictures
- 9 Contact
The table below gives the status of the SPARC machines available in QEMU and is correct as of the latest release:
Users should install the
qemu-system-sparc package in order the use the SPARC system emulators provided by their distribution.
Building from source
By default QEMU will build both the
qemu-system-sparc64 system emulators unless QEMU has been configured with a specific target list. If you are looking to build just the SPARC system emulators from source yourself, then pass the options
--target-list="sparc-softmmu sparc64-softmmu" to QEMU's configure script.
The most common ways to start
qemu-system-sparc64 are shown below:
- sun4m with HD and CD (boot from CD)
qemu-system-sparc \ -drive file=hd.qcow2,if=scsi,bus=0,unit=0,media=disk \ -drive file=cdrom.iso,format=raw,if=scsi,bus=0,unit=2,media=cdrom,readonly=on \ -boot d
- sun4m with HD only
qemu-system-sparc \ -drive file=hd.qcow2,if=scsi,bus=0,unit=0,media=disk
- sun4u with HD and CD (boot from CD)
qemu-system-sparc64 \ -drive file=hd.qcow2,if=ide,bus=0,unit=0 \ -drive file=cdrom.iso,format=raw,if=ide,bus=1,unit=0,media=cdrom,readonly=on \ -boot d
- sun4u with HD only
qemu-system-sparc64 \ -drive file=hd.qcow2,if=ide,bus=0,unit=0
- sun4u with virtio HD and CD (boot from CD, requires QEMU >= 3.1)
qemu-system-sparc64 \ -drive file=hd.qcow2,if=none,id=hd \ -drive file=cdrom.iso,format=raw,if=ide,bus=1,unit=0,media=cdrom,readonly=on \ -device virtio-blk-pci,bus=pciB,drive=hd -boot d
- sun4u with virtio HD (requires QEMU >= 3.1)
qemu-system-sparc64 \ -drive file=hd.qcow2,if=none,id=hd \ -device virtio-blk-pci,bus=pciB,drive=hd,bootindex=0
Changes to sun4u machine from 2.11 onwards
In order to improve the compatibility of QEMU's sun4u machine, there have been a number of changes that have been made during the 2.11 development cycle which in some cases will require changes to the command line to start qemu-system-sparc64.
Default network card changed from ne2k_pci to sunhme (Happy Meal Ethernet)
Many OSs either don't have drivers for other network cards, don't build other network cards for SPARC architecture or even have fauly drivers because they have never been tested on big-endian machines. Implementing the real onboard sunhme enables networking for just about every OS.
Example: using ne2k_pci (the previous default) as for QEMU <= 2.10:
qemu-system-sparc64 -net nic,model=ne2k_pci -net user
All PCI devices are attached behind one of the simba PCI bridges
Previous versions of QEMU attached all PCI devices to the sabre PCI bus which does not match the PCI topology of a real Ultra 5. On a real Ultra 5 all PCI devices are attached behind the two simba bridges; in-built devices are attached to bus A whilst bus B has 4 free PCI slots for use.
In order to support this topology QEMU included some hacks to enable PCI devices to be connected directly to the sabre PCI bus and re-work the interrupt routing. Typically this is visible during Linux boot as a set of warnings about overlapping PCI window ranges, and it is up to the OS to attempt to resolve the clashes itself.
By correctly modelling these bridges, the PCI topology and interrupt routing are now implemented correctly as per the available documentation which removes all visible guest OS warnings in my tests and allows these hacks to be removed.
IMPORTANT: as it is now impossible to plug PCI devices into the sabre PCI bus then it is necessary to make a slight change to the command line used to plug additional PCI devices into QEMU.
- Example: adding a virtio block device
qemu-system-sparc64 -drive id=hd,if=none,file=hd.qcow2 -device virtio-blk-pci,bus=pciB,drive=hd
Note that the important part of the -device parameter is the bus=pciB which ensures that the virtio-blk-pci device is plugged into the correct simba bus.
If by accident this is omitted (as typically when using QEMU <= 2.10) then QEMU will exit with a message similar to the following:
qemu-system-sparc64: -device virtio-blk-pci,drive=hd: PCI: no slot/function available for virtio-blk-pci, all in use or reserved
The tables below show the results of testing various SPARC and SPARC64 guests in QEMU in the latest release:
|sun4m||Aurora Linux 1.0 (Ansel)||aurora-1.0-sparc-disc1.iso||Working||Requires -vga cg3 for graphics (default TCX adapter not supported)|
|sun4m||Aurora Linux 2.0 (Kashmir FC3)||aurora-2.0-sparc-DVD.iso||Working||-|
|sun4m||Bobware 10.2||bobware-10.2.rc7-disk1.iso||Working||Requires -vga cg3 for graphics (default TCX adapter not supported)|
|sun4m||Debian Sarge||debian-31r1a-sparc-businesscard.iso||Working||Requires -vga cg3 for graphics (default TCX adapter not supported)|
|sun4m||Mandrake 7.1 (Hydrogen)||Mandrake71-inst.sparc.iso||Working||Requires -vga cg3 for graphics (default TCX adapter not supported)|
DHCP autoconfiguration fails. Shutdown freezes at unloading cs4231 kernel module.
|sun4m||MirOS #10semel||MIR80316.ISO||Broken||Panic: NMI|
|sun4m||NetBSD 7.99.1 (7.0 pre-release)||NetBSD-7.99.1-sparc.iso||Working||Works fine, although intermittent ESP DMA errors appear on the console.|
|sun4m||NextSTEP 3.3||?||Partially working||Tends to hang during disk access, possible ESP emulation bug or interrupt delay required. Some success has been reported using a non-SMP host kernel suggesting a buggy interrupt race in the NS guest drivers.|
|sun4m||OpenADK (modern Linux kernel)||http://www.openadk.org||Working||-|
|sun4m||OpenBSD 5.8||install58.iso||Working||Requires -nographic to boot|
|sun4m||OpenSTEP 4.2||?||Partially working||Tends to hang during disk access, possible ESP emulation bug or interrupt delay required. Some success has been reported using a non-SMP host kernel suggesting a buggy interrupt race in the NS guest drivers.|
|sun4m||RedHat 6.2 (Zoot)||redhat-6.2-sparc.iso||Working||Requires -vga cg3 for graphics (default TCX adapter not supported)|
|sun4m||Solaris 7 32-bit||?||Working||-|
|sun4m||Solaris 8 32-bit||?||Working||-|
|sun4m||Splack 8.0||splack-24oct2k3.iso||Working||Requires -vga cg3 for graphics (default TCX adapter not supported)|
|sun4u||Debian Wheezy||debian-7.8.0-sparc-netinst.iso||Working||Requires -nographic in order to boot|
|sun4u||Debian Stretch||debian-9.0-sparc64-NETINST-1.iso||Working||Requires -nographic in order to boot|
|sun4u||FreeBSD 10.3||FreeBSD-10.3-RELEASE-sparc64-disc1.iso||Working||Requires -nographic in order to boot. Due to a restriction in reading the psycho device properties, kernels < 10.3 panic on boot. A fix for this has been merged into both 10.3 and the up-and-coming 11.0 release.|
|sun4u||HelenOS 0.7.0||HelenOS-0.7.0-sparc64-ultra.iso||Working|| QEMU < 2.11:|
Requires -nographic -prom-env boot-args="console=devices/\\hw\\pci0\\00:03.0\\com1\\a" to boot.
QEMU >= 2.11:
|sun4u||Milax 0.3.2 (OpenSolaris)||milax032sparc.iso||Broken||Requires -nographic to boot. Reaches userspace console then freezes.|
|sun4u||OpenADK (modern Linux kernel)||http://www.openadk.org||Working||-|
|sun4u||OpenBSD 5.5||install55.iso||Working||Requires -nographic to boot. Due to hard-coded device tree paths for the cmd646-ide device, the root device must be entered on boot.|
|niagara||HelenOS 0.7.0||HelenOS-0.7.0-sparc64-niagara.iso||Working|| Tested with the command line:
qemu-system-sparc64 -M niagara -m 256 -L /usr/local/opensparc/image/ -drive file=hdisk.img,index=0,media=disk,format=raw -drive if=pflash,readonly=on,file=HelenOS-0.7.0-sparc64-niagara.iso -nographic
|niagara||OpenSPARC T1 Solaris 10 image||OpenSPARCT1_Arch.1.5.tar.bz2||Working|| Tested with the command line:
qemu-system-sparc64 -M niagara -L /path-to/S10image/ -nographic -m 256 -drive if=pflash,readonly=on,file=/S10image/disk.s10hw2
SPARC emulation is gradually improving over time and newer versions of QEMU will run significantly better than older ones. For more detailed information, check your QEMU version against the table below:
|3.1||sun4u||Add support for boot from virtio-blk-pci block devices (QEMU/OpenBIOS)|
|3.0||sun4u||Add icount support|
|2.12||*||Add "power-off" command to OpenBIOS (including implementing power device and SUNW,power-off CIF service for sun4u)|
|2.12||sun4u||Convert APB, IOMMU and ebus devices to use QOM/qdev, add trace-events support, split out sun4u-iommu into a separate device, split apb.c into separate Simba and Sabre devices|
|2.11||sun4u||Include Simba PCI bridges in sun4u PCI topology|
|2.11||sun4u||Add support for Sun Happy Meal Ethernet NIC and make it the default for the sun4u machine|
|2.11||sun4m||Rework sun4m DMA/IOMMU to use QEMU's DMA/IOMMU APIs rather than using existing legacy code|
|2.10||sun4m||Fix for panic when booting 32-bit Solaris 2.6 (OpenBIOS)|
|2.10||sun4m||Fix for Solaris terminal console colors (OpenBIOS)|
|2.9||niagara||Complete rewrite from Artyom now able to boot OpenSPARC reference image (see the docs at https://qemu.weilnetz.de/doc/qemu-doc.html#Sparc64-System-emulator for more info)|
|sun4m||Fix for SS-20 regression with original PROM bug.|
|2.8||*||More TCG improvements from Richard.|
|2.7||sun4m||Updated ldstub fix for latest TCG improvements and updated OpenBIOS boot path fix Solaris 9 boot regression|
|2.6||sun4m||Fix for ldstub instruction resolves several 32-bit Solaris bugs (MUTEX_HELD hang, libC error, Java WebStart segfault)|
|2.6||sun4u||FreeBSD 10.3+ can now run under qemu-system-sparc64 in -nographic mode|
|2.5||sun4u||Fixes in OpenBIOS fix EBus enumeration under FreeBSD sparc64 in -nographic mode|
|2.5||*||Significantly improved TCG performance for software TLB systems (including SPARC)|
|2.3||sun4m||Fix Solaris 1.1.2 boot in OpenBIOS and multi-user mode in Solaris 9|
|sun4u||Fix m48t59 MMIO access to allow guests to read the NVRAM clock correctly|
|2.2||sun4u||Add ability to boot NetBSD sparc64 and OpenBSD sparc64 in -nographic mode|
|2.1||sun4u||Fixes for APB PCI bridge and added IOMMU implementation|
|2.0||sun4m||Add cg3 framebuffer implementation primarily to support older Solaris versions|
|1.7||sun4m||Add TCX FCode ROM for framebuffer (allows TCX adapter to boot Sun PROM in graphics mode)|
- Aurelien Jarno's Debian SPARC page - http://www.aurel32.net/info/debian_sparc_qemu.php
This page details how to set up a basic Debian SPARC image in QEMU.
- Artyom Tarasenko's blog - http://tyom.blogspot.com
Artyom has contributed several patches to improve SPARC emulation under QEMU and has lot of related information, particularly for users trying to run Solaris images under emulation. Some of the content is a little out of date (OpenBIOS should work with practically all Solaris versions now) but the FAQ is very helpful indeed.
- Torbjörn Granlund's QEMU page - https://gmplib.org/~tege/qemu.html
Torbjörn uses QEMU to build and test the GNU GMP libraries on various platforms, and while the information is a little out of date, there are some useful configurations listed on the page.
- NSS blog on Sparc Virtualisation - http://kb.networksystemssolutions.info/index.php/Sparc_Virtualization
This page contains a description of how to take an SS-20 Solaris image from a physical machine and run it under QEMU.
- TemLib, a sun4m machine in an FPGA - http://temlib.org
Olivier Danet has implemented a sun4m machine in an FPGA which is capable of booting many SPARC32 OSs, and as a consequence has provided several patches to fix bugs in SPARC32 emulation (and also OpenBIOS)
- OpenBIOS - http://www.openfirmware.info/OpenBIOS
OpenBIOS is the Open Firmware implementation used by QEMU for SPARC32/SPARC64 (and indeed also for PPC)
- Fun with virtualisation - https://virtuallyfun.com/
Neozeed's fun with virtualisation blog has several useful articles on booting various OSs (including SPARC) under QEMU.
- MVoloshin's 4pda page for Limbo SPARC emulator (Russian) - http://4pda.ru/forum/index.php?showtopic=840418
The forum page contains several screen shots and links to the associated QEMU SPARC disk images.
Mark Cave-Ayland <email@example.com>