The following lhype quickstart recipe was originally written by James Morris. It was turned into a wiki page so it can easily be updated if lhype changes in the future.

Note: this is becoming outdated and will soon be removed or rewritten: see the official web site.


First, you need to get a copy of the kernel sources with lhype in it. Either grab the appropriate patches from Rusty's paravirt patches repository or clone the (out of date but stable) git repository like this:

$ git clone git://

After that, check out the patches branch and configure your kernel:

$ cd linux-2.6-lhype
$ git-checkout patches
$ make menuconfig

Keep it simple initially, to get up and running. Also keep in mind that lhype currently only works for i386, no high memory and no SMP. Enable the paravirt ops framework and select lhype as a module:


Build and install the kernel, either doing whatever you always do, or what James Morris does. Note that the kernel you're building will be for both the host and guest domains.

$ make -j12
$ sudo make modules_install
$ sudo make install

Now reboot into the kernel you just built. If it doesn't work right, go back to the make menuconfig step and fix things :)

Using lhype

First, grab a Linux OS image for testing:

$ wget
$ tar -xzf linux-test-0.5.1.tar.gz linux-test/linux.img

After that, create a file for shared network i/o:

$ dd if=/dev/zero of=netfile bs=1024 count=4

Now you are ready to launch a guest!

$ sudo /sbin/modprobe lhype
$ sudo linux-2.6-lhype/drivers/lhype/lhype_add 32M 1 linux-2.6-lhype/vmlinux \
       linux-test/linux.img netfile root=/dev/lhba

If all went well, you should see the kernel boot messages fly past and then something like:

Linux version 2.6.19-rc5-mm2-gf808425d (jmorris@xeon.namei)
(gcc version 4.1.1 20060928 (Red Hat 4.1.1-28)) #1 PREEMPT Tue Nov 28 00:53:39 EST 2006

QEMU Linux test distribution (based on Redhat 9)

Type 'exit' to halt the system

sh: no job control in this shell

It's already useful for kernel hacking. Local networking works. It'd also likely be useful for teaching purposes, being relatively simple yet quite concrete.

'lhype_add' is an app included with the kernel which launches and monitors guest domains. It's actually a simple ELF loader, which maps the guest kernel image into the host's memory, then opens /proc/lhype and writes some config info about the guest. This kicks the hypervisor into action to initialize and launch the guest, while the open procfile fd is used for control, console i/o, and DMA-like i/o via shared memory (using ideas from Rusty's earlier XenShare work). The hypervisor is simply a loadable kernel module. Cool stuff.

It's a little different to Xen, in that the host domain (dom0) is simply a normal kernel running in ring 0 with userspace in ring 3. The hypervisor is a small ELF object loaded into the top of memory (when the lhype module is loaded), which contains some simple domain switching code, interrupt handlers, a few low-level objects which need to be virtualized, and finally an array of structs to maintain information for each guest domain (drivers/lhype/hypervisor.S).

The hypervisor runs in ring 0, with the guest domains running as host domain tasks in ring 1, trapping into the hypervisor for virtualized operations via paravirt ops hooks (arch/i386/kernel/lhype.c) and subsequent hypercalls (drivers/lhype/hypercalls.c). Thus, the hypervisor and host kernel run in the same ring, rather than, say, the hypervisor in ring 0 with the host kernel in ring 1, as is the case with Xen. The advantage for lhype is simplicity: the hypervisor can be kept extremely small and simple, because it only needs to handle tasks related solely to virtualization. It's just 463 lines of assembler, with comments. Of course, from an isolation point of view the host kernel is effectively part of the hypervisor, because they share the same hardware privilege level. It has also been noted that in practice, a typical dom0 has so much privileged access to the hypervisor that it's not necessarily meaningful to run them in separate rings. Probably a good beer @ OLS discussion topic.

Overall, it seems like a very clean and elegant design. I'll see if I can write up some more detailed notes on what I've learned about it soon.

Note that Rusty will be giving a presumably canonical talk on lhype at LCA 2007.


LinuxVirt: RustyvisorQuickstart (last edited 2017-12-30 03:30:07 by localhost)