Building for Emulation

Building an image for emulation allows you to simulate your image without actual target hardware.

This section describes the steps you need to take to build the AGL demo image for emulation using either Quick EMUlator (QEMU) or VirtualBox.

1. Making Sure Your Build Environment is Correct

The “Initializing Your Build Environment” section presented generic information for setting up your build environment using the script. If you are building the AGL demo image for emulation, you need to specify some specific options when you run the script:

source meta-agl/scripts/ -f -m qemux86-64 agl-demo agl-devel

The “-m” option specifies the “qemux86-64” machine. The list of AGL features used with script are appropriate for development of the AGL demo image suited for either QEMU or VirtualBox.

2. Using BitBake

This section shows the bitbake command used to build the AGL image. Before running BitBake to start your build, it is good to be reminded that AGL does provide pre-built images for developers that can be emulated using QEMU and VirtualBox. You can find these pre-built images on the AGL Download web site.

For supported images, the filenames have the following forms:


Start the build using the bitbake command.

NOTE: An initial build can take many hours depending on your CPU and and Internet connection speeds. The build also takes approximately 100G-bytes of free disk space.

For this example, the target is “agl-demo-platform”:

  bitbake agl-demo-platform

By default, the build process puts the resulting image in the Build Directory:





If you built your image with bitbake, you can now just use the runqemu wrapper.

Note: If you need to run it outside of the bitbake environment or need special settings for hardware pass-through or the like, read on:

3. Deploying the AGL Demo Image

Deploying the image consists of decompressing the image and then booting it using either QEMU or VirtualBox.

Decompress the image:

For Linux, use the following commands to decompress the image and prepare it for boot:

cd tmp/deploy/images/qemux86-64
xz -d agl-demo-platform-qemux86-64.vmdk.xz

For Windows, download 7-Zip and then select agl-demo-platform-qemux86-64.vmdk.xz to decompress the image and prepare it for boot.

Boot the Image:

The following steps show you how to boot the image with QEMU or VirtualBox.


Depending on your Linux distribution, use these commands to install QEMU:

NOTE: if you have created an AGL crosssdk, it will contain a QEMU binary for the build host. This SDK QEMU binary does not support graphics. Consequently, you cannot use it to boot the AGL image and need to call your host’s qemu binary instead.

NOTE: the VM images need UEFI in the emulator to boot. Thus you need to install the necessary files with below commands (ovmf).

If your build host is running Arch Linux, use the following commands:

sudo pacman -S qemu ovmf
export OVMF_PATH=/usr/share/ovmf/x64/OVMF_CODE.fd

If your build host is running Debian or Ubuntu, use the following commands:

sudo apt-get install qemu-system-x86 ovmf
export OVMF_PATH=/usr/share/ovmf/OVMF.fd

If you build host is running Fedora, use the following commands:

sudo yum install qemu qemu-kvm edk2-ovmf
export OVMF_PATH=/usr/share/edk2/ovmf/OVMF_CODE.fd

Once QEMU is installed, boot the image with KVM support:

qemu-system-x86_64 -enable-kvm -m 2048 \
    -bios ${OVMF_PATH} \
    -hda agl-demo-platform-qemux86-64.wic.vmdk \
    -cpu kvm64 -cpu qemu64,+ssse3,+sse4.1,+sse4.2,+popcnt \
    -vga virtio -show-cursor \
    -device virtio-rng-pci \
    -serial mon:stdio -serial null \
    -soundhw hda \
    -net nic \
    -net user,hostfwd=tcp::2222-:22

NOTE: KVM may not be supported within a virtualized environment such as VirtualBox. This is indicated by the qemu command above giving the error message Could not access KVM kernel module: No such file or directory or the kernel log output contains the error message kvm: no hardware support. The image can be booted in such an environment by removing -enable-kvm from the qemu command line, however this will result in lower perfromance within the AGL demo.


Start by downloading and installing VirtualBox 5.2.0 or later.

Once VirtualBox is installed, follow these steps to boot the image:

  1. Start VirtualBox
  2. Click New to create a new machine
  3. Enter AGL QEMU as the Name
  4. Select Linux as the Type
  5. Select Other Linux (64-bit) as the Version
  6. Set Memory size to 2 GB
  7. Click Use an existing virtual hard disk file under Hard disk
  8. Navigate to and select the agl-demo-platform-qemux86-64.vmdk image
  9. Select the newly created AGL QEMU machine and click Settings
  10. Go to the System tab and ensure Enable EFI (special OSes only) is enabled then click OK
  11. With the AGL QEMU machine still selected, click Start to boot the virtual machine