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This project is for running virtualised Linux guests on seL4 for ARM platforms. The camkes-arm-vm implements a virtual machine monitor (VMM) server, faciliating the intialisation, booting and run-time management of a guest OS.

Currently the supported ARM platforms the camkes-arm-vm can run on include:

  • Exynos5 (exynos5410, exynos5422)
  • TK1
  • TX1
  • TX2
  • QEMU ARM virt machine

Getting and Building

The following example builds the camkes arm vmm for the TK1.

repo init -u
repo sync
mkdir build
cd build
../ -DCAMKES_VM_APP=vm_minimal -DPLATFORM=tk1

Note: To buid for another platform you can substitute the value of the -DPLATFORM variable e.g. (exynos5422, tx1, tx2, qemu-arm-virt)

An EFI application file will be left in images/capdl-loader-image-arm-tk1 We normally boot using TFTP, by first copying capdl-loader-image-arm-tk1 to a tftpserver then on the U-Boot serial console doing:

dhcp tftpboot $loadaddr
bootefi ${loadaddr}

CAmkES ARM VMM Applications

This project contains various reference CAmkES applications that incorporate the VMM component. These applications include:

  • vm_minimal: A simple VMM application, launching a single guest Linux with a buildroot RAM-based file system
  • vm_cross_connector: Application demonstrating communication between a Linux guest user-level process and a native seL4 component. This leveraging cross vm communication channels established between the VMM and the seL4 component.
  • vm_multi: Application demonstrating running multiple guest VM’s. This is achieved through having multiple VMM components, each managing a single Linux guest (1-1 model).
  • vm_serial_server: Application demonstrating the use of Virtio Console, where a VM’s serial I/O is forwarded to/from a serial server.
  • vm_virtio_net: Application demonstrating the use of Virtio Net, where a virtual network interface is presented to a VM and subsequent network traffic on the virtual network interface is sent to/from other native seL4 components.

See the apps/ subdirectory for all the supported virtual machine manager apps, their implementations and the platforms they target.


See the below feature matrix for the various features the CAmkES ARM VMM implements/facilitates across the various supported platforms.

Plaform Guest Mode SMP Support Multiple VM Support Virtio PCI Virtio Console Virtio Net Cross VM Connector Support Notes
exynos5422 32-bit Unsupported Supported Supported Supported Supported Supported SMP configurations are unsupported due to: * No exynos5422 kernel SMP support * No virtual power device interface to manage VCPU’s at runtime (e.g. core startup)
TK1 32-bit Unsupported Unsupported Unsupported Unsupported Unsupported Unsupported SMP configurations are unsupported due to: * No TK1 kernel SMP support * No virtual power device interface to manage VCPU’s at runtime (e.g. core startup) Virtio PCI, Console, Net, Cross VM connector support & Multi-VM are untested
TX1 64-bit Supported Unsupported Unsupported Unsupported Unsupported Unsupported Virtio PCI, Console, Net, Cross VM connector support & Multi-VM are untested
TX2 64-bit Supported Supported Supported Supported Supported Unsupported Cross VM connector support is untested
QEMU Virt 64-bit Supported Unsupported Supported Supported Supported Supported Multi-VM support depends on porting the TimeServer to QEMU (See

Platform Configuration Notes

Exynos5422, TX1, TX2, QEMU ARM Virt configuration

We provide a pre-built Linux image and Buildroot image for our guest VM’s. See the images in the camkes-vm-images repository @ When compiling an application for these platforms, the images are sourced from the platforms subdirectory in the camkes-vm-images repo. Feel free also to compile your own Linux and Rootfs images, see the README’s in each platform subdirectory (within camkes-vm-images) for information about our image build configurations.

TK1 configuration

We currently provide two linux binaries and two device tree configurations.

  • linux-tk1-debian will try and load a debian userspace off of an emmc partition
  • linux-tk1-initrd will load an included buildroot ramdisk
  • linux-tk1-secure.dts is a device tree configuration with the devices that aren’t provided to the linux are disabled.
  • linux-tk1-nonsecured.dts is a device tree configuration with all devices enabled.

In the tk1 app configuration there is a boot mode selection option that chooses between the two linux binaries, and an Insecure option which selects whether to provide all hardware devices to the linux vm or not. If Insecure is not set then the VM will only be provided a minimal amount of hardware frames and the linux-tk1-secure.dts DTS will be used. If Insecure is set then the VM will be provided all device frames apart from the Memory controller and the linux-tk1-nonsecured.dts DTS will be used.

U-Boot is required to initialise the USB devices if linux-tk1-secure.dts is used. This is done by: usb start 0.

The tk1 currently uses linux binaries constructed using Buildroot 2016.08.1 with the following configs:

  • buildroot_tk1_initrd_defconfig builds linux with an included ramdisk that will be loaded at boot.
  • buildroot_tk1_emmc_defconfig builds linux without a ramdisk and it will mount and run /sbin/init /dev/mmcblk0p2

To copy the files back into this project, change into the Linux directory and run make for each file as shown below. Note that you can only update one of linux-tk1-debian or linux-tk1-initrd at a time as they are built from different Buildroot configs:

cd projects/vm/linux
LINUX_FILE=linux-tk1-initrd BUILDROOT_DIR=~/workspaces/buildroot-2016.08.1/ make
LINUX_FILE=linux-tk1-dtb-secure BUILDROOT_DIR=~/workspaces/buildroot-2016.08.1/ make

Both of these configs use the tegra124-jetson-tk1-sel4vm-secure device tree file. To change to the tegra124-jetson-tk1-sel4vm.dts this will need to be changed in the buildroot make menuconfig. To change the mounted emmc partition the chosen dts file’s bootargs entry will need to be updated.

The linux version used can be found in the seL4 branch of our linux-tegra repo.

When buildroot starts:

buildroot login: root

When debian starts:

Debian GNU/Linux 8 tk1 ttyS0
tk1 login: root
Password: root

Wireless Configuration

To configure the Ralink 2780 USB wifi dongle:

ifconfig wlan0 up
iw wlan0 scan
wpa_passphrase SSID_NAME >> /etc/wpa_supplicant.conf
wpa_supplicant -B -i wlan0 -c /etc/wpa_supplicant.conf
iw wlan0 link
dhclient wlan0

TK1 Build Notes

The default setup does not pass though many devices to the Linux kernel. If you make menuconfig you can set insecure mode in the Applications submenu; this is meant to pass through all devices, but not everything has been tested and confirmed to work yet. In particular, the SMMU needs to have extra entries added for any DMA-capable devices such as SATA.

FAQ and Implementation Notes

How do I update camkes-arm-vm to support platform ‘X’

Whilst large parts of the ARM VMM implementation tries to be platform agnostic, there are a few things to keep in mind and implement in order to correctly run the camkes-arm-vm on your new target platform. See the below list as as a rough list of items to check off:

  • Ensure the platform is already supported by seL4 (or you have developed support for the platform prior). See the following page for a list of supported platforms.
  • The platform supports ARM’s hardware virtualisation features, these being found on ARMv7 (with virtualisation extensions) and ARMv8.
    • Second to this, the seL4 port to the given platform also supports running with KernelArmHypervisorSupport
  • Does your platform use a GICv2 or GICv3? Note: We currently only support a virtual GICV2, with virtual GICV3 support under-development. See the listed features of libsel4vm for further information:
  • When porting a VMM application to your platform, say vm_minimal, ensure you provide the following:
    • A devices.camkes file for your platform. These containing platform specific definitions, see in particular the vm dtb field and the untyped_mmios field (for device passthrough). The values in the aforementioned fields corresponding with those found in the kernel device tree.
    • A vmlinux.h header for you platform. See the header file for the other supported platforms at components/VM/plat_include
  • Provide a pre-compiled Linux kernel and initrd image for your platform. Once compiled these are usually linked in through your apps CMakeLists.txt. See apps/vm_minimal/CMakeLists.txt for examples of how other platforms link in their images.

Feel free to contact the team for further support on porting the camkes-arm-vm to your desired platform. We are also always open to contributions for new platforms.

Can a single VMM component support running multiple VM’s?

Currently, No. A VMM component only creates and manages a single VM instance. To support multiple VM’s, you can run multiple VMM components, each managing its own VM. See apps/vm_multi for an example of this configuration.

How do I enable SMP support for a VM instance?

To configure your VM with multiple VCPU’s, you can set the VM instance attribute num_vcpus in your camkes configuration. See here for an example. In addition, when initialising your build, ensure the KernelMaxNumNodes configuration option is set to your desired value. You can also initialise your build with variable -DNUM_NODES variable e.g.


Note: ensure your platform supports SMP configurations through the above feature matrix

End file included from github repo edit