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Using QEMU for cross-platform development

Feb 18, 2010, 12:02 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Roderick W. Smith)

"An advantage of virtualization is extending the utility of computing hardware, enabling a single computer (the host) to fulfill several roles by running multiple guest operating systems. Many of today's popular virtualization tools, however, are still architecturally limited—they enable you to run multiple operating systems for the same architecture, such as multiple x86-64 operating systems on a single x86-64 computer. QEMU can do this, but it can also run operating systems in a cross-platform manner. This capability can help you test the platform-specific features of your program without adding more computers to your desk!

"To use QEMU for cross-platform development, you must first set it up and install guest operating systems on it. You may need to jump through some extra hoops to do this for cross-platform development. With the emulator up and running, you can investigate some QEMU features that can help you manage your cross-platform development efforts, such as enabling file transfers or file sharing between the emulator and its host.

"Installing QEMU

"You may be able to install QEMU easily through a package manager, but you may need to dig a little deeper if you plan to use the program for cross-platform software development. For example, you should understand your options for QEMU installation as well as installation of necessary support files such as firmware. You should also understand the difference between system emulation and user-space emulation, because each requires its own additional software installation."

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