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QEMU support status regarding hppa/parisc

Starting with QEMU version 2.12 (April 2018), qemu fully supports 32-bit hppa user emulation (hppa-linux-user) and 32-bit hppa system emulation (qemu-system-hppa). All necessary changes have been merged into the upstream qemu git tree.

PA-RISC machines need a firmware ("PDC" = Processor Dependend Code). Qemu includes a precompiled PDC firmware for hppa (pc-bios/hppa-firmware.img), which is based on a fork of SeaBIOS .

The emulated machine is a HP B160L desktop machine, with one or more 32-bit PA7100LC CPUs.

The QEMU emulation is able to run Linux and HP-UX. HP-UX support still needs improvement which is being worked on.

QEMU on parisc has been made available by:

  • Richard Henderson: QEMU CPU emulation (32-bit only), QEMU hardware divers
  • Helge Deller: QEMU hardware drivers, SeaBIOS PDC firmware
  • Sven Schnelle: Lots of fixes all over QEMU and SeaBIOS (SCSI, CPU emulation fixes, SeaBIOS PDC firmware)

Ready-to-run QEMU image for parisc

Download Debian hard disc image:

wget http://backup.parisc-linux.org/qemu/debian-10-hdd-img.tar.bz2

Unzip image:

tar xvfj debian-10-hdd-img.tar.bz2

Run qemu:

./hppa-softmmu/qemu-system-hppa -drive file=debian-10-hdd.img -nographic -serial mon:stdio -accel tcg,thread=multi -smp cpus=4 

Log in as root, root password is "rootme"

How to build QEMU from source

Check out the qemu git tree

Run configure, e.g.

  • (for system emulation) ./configure --target-list=hppa-softmmu --enable-numa
  • (for user emulation) ./configure --target-list=hppa-linux-user --disable-stack-protector --prefix=/home/qemu-hppa/chroot-unstable --interp-prefix=/home/qemu-hppa/chroot-unstable --static

Run "make"

How to run QEMU with Debian-10 installer image

  • Create a virtual hard disc once:
qemu-img create -f qcow2 hdd.img 50G
./hppa-softmmu/qemu-system-hppa -drive file=hdd.img -drive file=debian-10.0-hppa-NETINST-1.iso,media=cdrom -boot order=d -nographic -serial mon:stdio 
  • Choose typical installation options, the defaults are OK.
  • Either skip the step "Configure the Package manager", or configure the mirror as with hostname "ftp.ports.debian.org", and directory "/debian-ports"
  • Shut down virtual machine after installation
  • Start emulator with installed operating system any time:
./hppa-softmmu/qemu-system-hppa -drive file=hdd.img -nographic -serial mon:stdio -accel tcg,thread=multi -smp cpus=2 
  • Edit the sources.list (/etc/apt/sources.list) file:
deb http://ftp.ports.debian.org/debian-ports unstable main
deb [arch=all] http://ftp.debian.org/debian unstable main 
deb-src http://ftp.debian.org/debian unstable main

Some QEMU notes

Prefer the e1000 driver over the rtl8129 card. The latter gives irq issues with Dino emulation.

Possible qemu options:

  • -accel tcg,thread=multi - always use this to enable parallel tcg (otherwise all guest CPUs run on one host CPU)
  • -smp cpus=4 - define number of CPUs in the guest (maximum CPUs: 32)
  • -boot menu=on - Firmware: enable interactive mode (boot prompt)
  • -boot order=c - Firmware: Boot from hard disc
  • -boot order=d - Firmware: Boot from CD/DVD
  • -serial mon:stdio use serial console
  • -nographic - no graphics device
  • -device VGA - provide PCI VGA graphic card

Tips and Tricks when running an emulation

  • Linux kernel >= 4.14 runs best. Initial Linux kernel optimizations were added to kernel >= 4.9.
  • The "INTERRUPT KEY" mentioned sometimes by HP-UX can be emulated with the "Ctrl-\" key combination
  • In case you lost the HP-UX root password, boot at ISL 'hpux -is' and then give a new password with running "passwd".

qemu important patches

Possible emulation guest targets


Still LASI NIC emulation and NCR 710 Emulation needed in order to be able to boot older HP-UX releases.

Astrobaby wrote about his test results.


Images at http://nycdn.netbsd.org/pub/NetBSD-daily/HEAD/latest/images/

Info at https://www.netbsd.org/releases/current.html

qemu-system-hppa \
       -kernel ${KERNEL} \
       -drive file=hdd.img \
       -drive file=NetBSD-8.99.37-hppa.iso,media=cdrom \
       -nographic \
       -serial telnet::55555,server

(info by Nick Hudson <nick.hudson@gmx.co.uk>)


Download at ftp://ftp.cirr.com/pub/hppa/mklinux/ The file root_ext2_g.dd.bin.gz doesn't cleanly decompress.. so I did a gzip -dc into root_ext2_g.dd.bin.

MkLinux sources: https://github.com/slp/osfmk-mklinux

qemu-system-hppa -boot c -drive if=scsi,bus=0,index=3,file=root_ext2_g.dd.bin,format=raw \
       -serial mon:stdio -nographic -m 128 

It boots, but fails during device detection because Qemu currently emulates a B160, while MkLinux expects a HP700. So it fails to see the LASI chip below the GSC bridge.

NVM bootdata Bad Checksum (0)
OSF Mach boot
: /mach
text (0x95618) at 0x11000
data (0x48594) at 0xa8000
Mach 3.0 VERSION(PMK1.1): cb <pmk1_1>; Wed Nov 26 17:20:37 MET 1997; mach_kernel/PRODUCTION (cameleon)
unknown machine type 0x502
good luck :-)
, 0K Icache, 0K Dcache, 256 entry shared TLB)
Warning: unsupported module at ffc00000 (type:7 svers:0 hvers:50)
Stack Trace (depth=1):
End of Stack 

(info by Jason Stevens <neozeed@gmail.com>)

Future QEMU work

Upstream merging currently beeing worked on (September 2019):

  • Emulate Lasi
  • Emulate Lasi NIC (Intel Apricot i82596)
  • Artist graphics emulation
  • STI text console emulation for Linux and HP-UX
  • Add PS/2 mouse and keyboard ports

Still need to do:

  • Add Dino/Lasi serial port
  • Harmony sound card in Lasi
  • Does HP-UX has some kind of "sleep" assembler instruction in it's idle loop which can be used to lower qemu power consumption?
  • Fix virtio-drivers in SeaBIOS (endianess-bugs, because SeaBIOS is originally only Little-endian from x86)
  • Emulate Tulip (DEC 21x40) network cards in Qemu
  • More correct emulation of B160L in Qemu
  • Emulate a 712 and/or j5000/c3000 machine
  • Emulate built-in LASI SCI controller instead of PCI SCSI add-on card
  • Elroy PCI emulation, then emulate e.g. a C3000?
  • PA2.0/64bit (low prio)
  • ...
  • Push SeaBIOS changes upstream!!


HP-UX booting up


HP-UX CDE Login screen


HP-UX CDE initial screen


Some applications started in CDE


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