Building a hobby OS with Bochs and Qemu

Hobby Time

Article from Issue 240/2020
Author(s):

Reading and understanding the complete Linux kernel is a challenging project. A hobby kernel lets you implement standard OS features yourself in a few hundred lines of code.

Everyone who works professionally with Linux is used to building software from the source code, perhaps implementing small changes, automating routine work with shell scripts, or developing their own software in one of the many current programming languages. Tinkering with your own, completely new operating system, on the other hand, is a pretty unusual pastime. If you start from scratch, it will take a long time before your system is useful for anything.

If you are looking for a challenging amateur project (for example, if you are a computer science student) or you want a better understanding of the theoretical basics of interrupts, memory management, scheduling, and other OS features, working on your own kernel can provide valuable insights. Linus Torvalds actually created Linux through a similar tinkering project. In 1991, he posted in a Minix news group, "I'm doing a (free) operating system (just a hobby, won't be big and professional like gnu) for 386(486) AT clones." [1]

A development environment for an operating system is more complex than one for an application, because you cannot simply compile the source code and run it on a trial basis. Instead, you need to create a bootable disk that can be used to boot a VM or emulated PC. It makes the work easier if there are debugging possibilities. The Qemu [2] and Bochs [3] emulation tools have proven useful for building a virtual environment.

[...]

Use Express-Checkout link below to read the full article (PDF).

Buy Linux Magazine

SINGLE ISSUES
 
SUBSCRIPTIONS
 
TABLET & SMARTPHONE APPS
Get it on Google Play

US / Canada

Get it on Google Play

UK / Australia

Related content

  • Bochs Emulator

    Bochs, the granddaddy of all emulators, is alive and kicking; thanks to regular vitamin jabs, the lively old pretender can even handle Windows XP.

  • Sandboxing

     

  • User-Mode Linux

    User-Mode Linux feels like Linux because it is Linux. You’ll find a hundred uses for this fast and sensible virtual Linux system

  • Virtualization Intro

    You’ll find a virtualization solution for every Linux environment – from the desktop to the enterprise server. In this month's cover story, we investigate some promising virtualization tools for Linux users.

  • QEMU System Emulation

    Do you ever wish you could run Linux within Linux? Or how about DOS within Linux? QEMU is an open source application that lets you emulate a complete hardware environment within your Linux system.

comments powered by Disqus

Direct Download

Read full article as PDF:

News