Dr. Dobb's is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Channels ▼

Embedded Systems

Virtualization: Up Against the Wall

Introducing the Players

I used five different PC-class systems, both real and virtual, during the course of this project. My desktop, "shiitake," runs 64-bit SUSE Linux 10.0 with a comfy keyboard, large displays, and the USB ports. The QEMU emulator runs on "button," a 32-bit SUSE 10.1 box. QEMU hosts the development system and the digital picture frame testbed, a pair of virtual machines known as "develop" and "pixie." Finally, pixie's hard-drive image goes directly into the DPF on the wall.

Figure 1 shows the DPF's hardware from the rear. Basically, I discarded all the black plastic bits from an IBM ThinkPad 560Z, then mounted the remainder on an acrylic sheet with the display on one side and system board and keyboard (removed for the photo) on the other. The 2-GB Compact Flash card in the upper right emulates an ordinary IDE drive holding the system software and images.

[Click image to view at full size]

Figure 1: The back of the DPF shows the system board covered with its CPU heatsink.

Figure 2 is the front view, which is basically a picture in a wood frame. The flimsy frame attaches firmly to the acrylic sheet that suspends the whole affair from the wall.

[Click image to view at full size]

Figure 2: The front of the DPF looks remarkably like a picture in a frame. Ain't science grand?

On the software side, I intended to run QEMU on shiitake, but Intel/AMD's x86_64 architecture doesn't include the Virtual-86 mode found in 32-bit x86 processors. I also encountered several annoyances while attempting to compile QEMU/KQEMU as x86_64 programs. Rather than fight, I simply installed QEMU on button and pulled its user interface across my LAN to shiitake with ssh -X button.

Related Reading

More Insights

Currently we allow the following HTML tags in comments:

Single tags

These tags can be used alone and don't need an ending tag.

<br> Defines a single line break

<hr> Defines a horizontal line

Matching tags

These require an ending tag - e.g. <i>italic text</i>

<a> Defines an anchor

<b> Defines bold text

<big> Defines big text

<blockquote> Defines a long quotation

<caption> Defines a table caption

<cite> Defines a citation

<code> Defines computer code text

<em> Defines emphasized text

<fieldset> Defines a border around elements in a form

<h1> This is heading 1

<h2> This is heading 2

<h3> This is heading 3

<h4> This is heading 4

<h5> This is heading 5

<h6> This is heading 6

<i> Defines italic text

<p> Defines a paragraph

<pre> Defines preformatted text

<q> Defines a short quotation

<samp> Defines sample computer code text

<small> Defines small text

<span> Defines a section in a document

<s> Defines strikethrough text

<strike> Defines strikethrough text

<strong> Defines strong text

<sub> Defines subscripted text

<sup> Defines superscripted text

<u> Defines underlined text

Dr. Dobb's encourages readers to engage in spirited, healthy debate, including taking us to task. However, Dr. Dobb's moderates all comments posted to our site, and reserves the right to modify or remove any content that it determines to be derogatory, offensive, inflammatory, vulgar, irrelevant/off-topic, racist or obvious marketing or spam. Dr. Dobb's further reserves the right to disable the profile of any commenter participating in said activities.

Disqus Tips To upload an avatar photo, first complete your Disqus profile. | View the list of supported HTML tags you can use to style comments. | Please read our commenting policy.