Linux on Qemu’s s390x-softmmu

It’s getting there….!

With a bit of poking around in the latest Qemu 0.15.0 rc2 beta, the S390x now builds by default.  Finding something for it to run was a bit of a stretch but I should have figured that Debian would have something.

It does take a few seconds to boot up, and by default you’ll just be sitting at a blank screen until you toggle to the virtcon0 screen.

But it’s VERY snappy… I haven’t gotten it to install (unsupported NIC?!) but I’m pretty positive it’s 100% my fault.  I’m just happy I saw it boot.  And it runs the busybox stuff just fine so it’s tentatively working.

If anyone wants to give it a whirl, download my exe, and the kernel/init.rd I’ve found that at least boot up here.

I’m hoping this will spur someone to spell out how/what to install onto it, and maybe if things like MUSIC/SP and CMS will run on it… That’d be fantastic!

In the meantime I’d imagine this combined with KVM on people with accelerated configs will enjoy some SERIOUS competition to the IBM Mainframe monopoly!


7 thoughts on “Linux on Qemu’s s390x-softmmu

  1. Please update the linux.disk image in linux-s390.7z to the new qcow2 format. It currently triggers the “Header extension too large” error introduced by the (in)famous patch in linked to several frustrated user posts. If only Kevin Wolf had also added a flag to make this file rejection optional…

    I read your suggestion about using an older version of qemu-img to convert to raw and then a newer version of qemu-img to convert back to newer qcow2. To a newcomer to qemu that is a formidable task requiring a toolchain and a specific source revision.

    Also, every potential user of your download is forced to do the same remediation. You could fix it once and for all, surely in far less time than any of your readers could manage.

    • actually the disk image is blank. This is simply booting off the ramdisk/initrd on the 390. To switch to the console, you have to hit control+alt+2 and then you can see.

      This was more of a ‘wow it does do something!’ kind of post rather than a full blown system.

      • Actually, the newer releases of qemu-system-s390x does have CCW based virtio emulation, so it’s actually possible to get a recent copy of Debian (Jessie) installed. Not easily, mind you, but it could be done.

  2. I run several versions of MVS, zLinux and VM380/CMS under hercules, but I have not been able to startup qemu-system-s390x successfully yet.

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