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Add a Hypervisor.framework accelerator

Summary: Add x86 virtualization support on macOS using Hypervisor.framework

QEMU does not yet take advantage of Hypervisor.framework, the API for hypervisors on macOS. Currently one must use the slower TCG just-in-time compiler or the Intel HAXM accelerator module that relies on a third-party driver.

Hypervisor.framework was added to macOS in Yosemite (10.10). It exposes the Intel VMX CPU feature for running guest code safely at native speed. The main difference to the KVM or HAXM APIs is that the Hypervisor.framework user must implement instruction emulation to handle instructions that vmexit due to I/O accesses. Most of the code will be related to this emulator.

QEMU would be able to run x86 virtual machines with much better performance and without relying on third-party drivers thanks to Hypervisor.framework. This will make QEMU more useful on macOS and encourage more contributions from developers on that platform.

This project is an advanced project. You should be familiar with the concept of an emulator. Luckily there is the Linux KVM code as well as other code that implements VMX or Hypervisor.framework to use for inspiration. You will learn about writing the most core part of a hypervisor.

There is an existing QEMU-based Hypervisor.framework implementation in Veertu's hypervisor. This can serve as a reference and one way to approach the project is to take that code and get it merged into QEMU after necessary changes have been made.



  • Skill level: advanced
  • Language: C
  • Mentor: Alexander Graf <>