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Introduction to User-Mode-Linux: Preparing a development environment

This text has been written with especially the task to develop a driver for the serial interface in mind. See here for the first sub-task. It does however also serve those who generally want to have a quick start. All information might be specific to Debian/unstable, YMMV.

First of all, make sure that User-Mode-Linux is installed.
apt-get install user-mode-linux user-mode-linux-doc uml-utilities
Then, get a root file system image from somewhere. One possibility is to start with a minimal image and fetch missing tools via network, but networking with UML is not trivial, so I recommend my own image. You can download it here (130 MB image, 37 MB compressed), or just type:
mkdir umldevel
cd umldevel
wget http://mindx.dyndns.org/uni/linux/umldevel.base.bz2
tar xjf umldevel.base.bz2

dd if=/dev/zero of=umldevel.swap bs=1M seek=300 count=1
mkswap umldevel.swap

Once completed, simply start UML, and login as user 'student' and password 'student'. Remember to change this immediately! You are then equipped with a preconfigured vim, gcc and other stuff. The root password is 'root', you will need it to shutdown the system (unless you know how to use uml_mconsole).
linux ubda=cowfile,umldevel.base ubdb=umldevel.swap umid=umldevel

In case anything goes terribly wrong, simply remove the cowfile, and boot again. One note about Kernel versioning: The host kernel will most likely carry a name different from the kernel includes. Use insmod -f, or apply some macro magic to fix this problem.

Thanks for reading.

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Josef Spillner (mail)
Created: 26.04.2003