[Unofficial] ArchLinuxARM as uVirt guest

The Ten64 documentation highlights that ArchLinux as a guest requires “some assembly […]”. Does it run? - Traverse Ten64 Documentation For this matter, I layed out all the steps required to get one in place. Maybe that could be useful for you as well.

Assumption: x86 host, but could be aarch64 as well

  • ArchLinux: sudo pacman --noconfirm -S qemu-headless parted dosfstools
  • Ubuntu: sudo apt -y install qemu-utils parted dosfstools libarchive-tools


Create qcow2 image (16GB):

qemu-img create -f qcow2 ArchLinuxARM-aarch64-latest.qcow2 16G

Treat qcow2 image as a proper device:

modprobe nbd max_part=8
qemu-nbd --connect=/dev/nbd0 ArchLinuxARM-aarch64-latest.qcow2

Partition qcow2 image and create filesystem (512MB /boot, rest /):

parted /dev/nbd0 mktable gpt \
	       mkpart ESP fat32 1MiB 513MiB \
	       set 1 boot on \
	       mkpart primary ext4 513MiB 100% \
mkfs.vfat -F 32 -n "AARCH64_EFI" "/dev/nbd0p1"
mkfs.ext4 -m 1 "/dev/nbd0p2"

Mount filesystem:

mkdir ArchLinuxARM-aarch64-latest-sysroot
mount /dev/nbd0p2 ArchLinuxARM-aarch64-latest-sysroot

mkdir ArchLinuxARM-aarch64-latest-sysroot/boot
mount /dev/nbd0p1 ArchLinuxARM-aarch64-latest-sysroot/boot

Download ArchLinuxARM aarch64 latest, and install into filesystem:

curl -O http://de4.mirror.archlinuxarm.org/os/ArchLinuxARM-aarch64-latest.tar.gz
bsdtar -xpf ArchLinuxARM-aarch64-latest.tar.gz -C ArchLinuxARM-aarch64-latest-sysroot

Setup fstab:

# on aarch64 host: genfstab -Up ArchLinuxARM-aarch64-latest-sysroot >> ArchLinuxARM-aarch64-latest-sysroot/etc/fstab
# on x86 host:
VDA_BOOT=$(blkid -s PARTUUID -o value /dev/nbd0p1)
VDA_ROOT=$(blkid -s PARTUUID -o value /dev/nbd0p2)

cat << EOF > ArchLinuxARM-aarch64-latest-sysroot/etc/fstab
# Static information about the filesystems.
# See fstab(5) for details.

# <file system> <dir> <type> <options> <dump> <pass>
PARTUUID=${VDA_BOOT}	/boot     	vfat      	rw,defaults	0 2
PARTUUID=${VDA_ROOT}	/         	ext4      	rw,relatime	0 1

Setup booloader systemd-boot:

# on aarch64 host: arch-chroot and then bootctl install, see Archlinux 
# on x86 host hack:
mkdir -p ArchLinuxARM-aarch64-latest-sysroot/boot/EFI/systemd
cp ArchLinuxARM-aarch64-latest-sysroot/usr/lib/systemd/boot/efi/systemd-bootaa64.efi ArchLinuxARM-aarch64-latest-sysroot/boot/EFI/systemd/systemd-bootaa64.efi
mkdir -p ArchLinuxARM-aarch64-latest-sysroot/boot/EFI/BOOT
cp ArchLinuxARM-aarch64-latest-sysroot/usr/lib/systemd/boot/efi/systemd-bootaa64.efi ArchLinuxARM-aarch64-latest-sysroot/boot/EFI/BOOT/BOOTAA64.EFI

As this is a hack for now, run bootctl install the first time the image boots.

Setup loader.conf, arch-efi.conf and arch-fallback-efi.conf for systemd-boot:

mkdir -p ArchLinuxARM-aarch64-latest-sysroot/boot/loader/entries

cat << EOF > ArchLinuxARM-aarch64-latest-sysroot/boot/loader/loader.conf
default       arch-efi
timeout       0
editor        no
console-mode  max
auto-entries  0
auto-firmware 1

VDA_BOOT=$(blkid -s PARTUUID -o value /dev/nbd0p1)
VDA_ROOT=$(blkid -s PARTUUID -o value /dev/nbd0p2)

cat << EOF > ArchLinuxARM-aarch64-latest-sysroot/boot/loader/entries/arch-efi.conf
title   Arch Linux (EFI)
linux   /Image
initrd  /initramfs-linux.img
options root=PARTUUID=${VDA_ROOT} rw quiet

cat << EOF > ArchLinuxARM-aarch64-latest-sysroot/boot/loader/entries/arch-fallback-efi.conf
title   Arch Linux - Fallback (EFI)
linux   /Image
initrd  /initramfs-linux-fallback.img
options root=PARTUUID=${VDA_ROOT} rw

Optional: automatic update of system-boot (systemd-boot - ArchWiki):

cat << EOF > ArchLinuxARM-aarch64-latest-sysroot/usr/share/libalpm/hooks/95-systemd-boot.hook
Type = Package
Operation = Upgrade
Target = systemd

Description = Updating systemd-boot
When = PostTransaction
Exec = /usr/bin/bootctl update

Optional: in case you want to load kernel and ramfs from external:

mkdir -p ArchLinuxARM-aarch64-latest-kernel
cp ArchLinuxARM-aarch64-latest-sysroot/boot/{Image,initramfs-linux.img} ArchLinuxARM-aarch64-latest-kernel/.


umount ArchLinuxARM-aarch64-latest-sysroot/boot
umount ArchLinuxARM-aarch64-latest-sysroot

rmdir ArchLinuxARM-aarch64-latest-sysroot

qemu-nbd --disconnect /dev/nbd0

Optional: decrease image size

qemu-img convert -c -O qcow2 ArchLinuxARM-aarch64-latest.qcow2 ArchLinuxARM-aarch64-latest.c.qcow2

Transfer the qcow2 image onto the Ten64.
Get it up running (4 cores, 4 GB RAM), either:

muvirt-createvm ArchLinuxARM 4096 4 lan ABSOLUTE_PATH_TO_QCOW2_IMAGE.qcow2


cat << EOF >> /etc/config/virt
        option memory '4096'
        option numprocs '4'
        list disks 'ABSOLUTE_PATH_TO_QCOW2_IMAGE.qcow2'
#        option kernel 'ABSOLUTE_PATH_TO_IMAGE'   # optional
#        option append 'root=/dev/vda2 rw'        # optional
#        option initrd 'ABSOLUTE_PATH_TO_RAMFS'   # optional
        list network 'lan'
        option mac '52:ad:00:af:91:1d'
        option enable '1'
        option provisioned '1'

Start ArchLinux on Ten64 and check if running:

/etc/init.d/muvirt start ArchLinuxARM
/etc/init.d/muvirt status ArchLinuxARM    # shows 'running'


muvirt-console ArchLinuxARM



When booting first time:

bootctl install   # just to ensure systemd-boot is properly installed
pacman-key --init
pacman-key --populate archlinuxarm

Helpful tools:

pacman --noconfirm -S efibootmgr dosfstools vim htop

In case all of this is just too long:

Open ToDos:

  • Build patched linux kernel with Traverse Ten64 patches
  • Get DPAA2 working in the image
  • Host qcow2-image somewhere for distribution (currently: github actions)
1 Like

@mcbridematt so far I read that DPAA2 is either supported by U-Boot or by direct kernel boot. Are you aware if there is any chance for systemd-boot/EFI-boot to enable it?