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What is Xen?

Xen is a Virtual Machine Monitor (VMM) originally developed by the
Systems Research Group of the University of Cambridge Computer
Laboratory, as part of the UK-EPSRC funded XenoServers project. Xen
is freely-distributable Open Source software, released under the GNU
GPL. Since its initial public release, Xen has grown a large
development community, spearheaded by (

This file contains some quick-start instructions to install Xen on
your system. For more information see and

Quick-Start Guide

First, this is just a quick-start guide. For more comprehensive
information see the INSTALL file and the Xen wiki at and in particular

Second, there are a number of prerequisites for building a Xen source
release. Make sure you have all the following installed, either by
visiting the project webpage or installing a pre-built package
provided by your OS distributor:
* GNU Make v3.80 or later
* C compiler and linker:
- For x86:
- GCC 4.1.2_20070115 or later
- GNU Binutils or later
- Clang/LLVM 3.5 or later
- For ARM:
- GCC 4.8 or later
- GNU Binutils 2.24 or later
* Development install of zlib (e.g., zlib-dev)
* Development install of Python 2.6 or later (e.g., python-dev)
* Development install of curses (e.g., libncurses-dev)
* Development install of openssl (e.g., openssl-dev)
* Development install of x11 (e.g. xorg-x11-dev)
* Development install of uuid (e.g. uuid-dev)
* Development install of yajl (e.g. libyajl-dev)
* Development install of libaio (e.g. libaio-dev) version 0.3.107 or
* Development install of GLib v2.0 (e.g. libglib2.0-dev)
* Development install of Pixman (e.g. libpixman-1-dev)
* pkg-config
* bridge-utils package (/sbin/brctl)
* iproute package (/sbin/ip)
* GNU bison and GNU flex
* GNU gettext
* ACPI ASL compiler (iasl)
* Libc multiarch package (e.g. libc6-dev-i386 / glibc-devel.i686).
Required when building on a 64-bit platform to build
32-bit components which are enabled on a default build.

In addition to the above there are a number of optional build
prerequisites. Omitting these will cause the related features to be
disabled at compile time:
* Development install of Ocaml (e.g. ocaml-nox and
ocaml-findlib). Required to build ocaml components which
includes the alternative ocaml xenstored.
* cmake (if building vtpm stub domains)
* pandoc, transfig, pod2{man,html,text} for rendering various pieces of
documentation into alternative formats
* figlet (for generating the traditional Xen start of day banner)
* systemd daemon development files
* Development install of libnl3 (e.g., libnl-3-200,
libnl-3-dev, etc). Required if network buffering is desired
when using Remus with libxl. See docs/README.remus for detailed
* 16-bit x86 assembler, loader and compiler for qemu-traditional / rombios
(dev86 rpm or bin86 & bcc debs)
* Development install of liblzma for rombios

Second, you need to acquire a suitable kernel for use in domain 0. If
possible you should use a kernel provided by your OS distributor. If
no suitable kernel is available from your OS distributor then refer to for suggestions for
suitable kernels to use.
If you are looking to compile a Dom0 kernel from source, please refer to

[NB. Unless noted otherwise, all the following steps should be
performed with root privileges.]

1. Download and untar the source tarball file. This will be a
file named xen-unstable-src.tgz, or xen-$version-src.tgz.
You can also pull the current version from the git or mercurial
repositories at

# tar xzf xen-unstable-src.tgz

Assuming you are using the unstable tree, this will
untar into xen-unstable. The rest of the instructions
use the unstable tree as an example, substitute the
version for unstable.

2. cd to xen-unstable (or whatever you sensibly rename it to).

3. For the very first build, or if you want to destroy build trees,
perform the following steps:

# ./configure
# make world
# make install

See the documentation in the INSTALL file for more info.

This will create and install onto the local machine. It will build
the xen binary (xen.gz), the tools and the documentation.

You can override the destination for make install by setting DESTDIR
to some value.

4. To rebuild an existing tree without modifying the config:
# make dist

This will build and install xen, tools, and docs into the local dist/

You can override the destination for make install by setting DISTDIR
to some value.

make install and make dist differ in that make install does the
right things for your local machine (installing the appropriate
version of udev scripts, for example), but make dist includes all
versions of those scripts, so that you can copy the dist directory
to another machine and install from that distribution.

xenstore: xenstored and oxenstored

Xen uses a configuration database called xenstore [0] to maintain configuration
and status information shared between domains. A daemon is implemented as part
of xenstore to act as an interface for access to the database for dom0 and
guests. Two xenstored daemons are supported, one written in C which we refer
to as the xenstored (sometimes referred to as cxenstored), and another written
in Ocaml called oxenstored. Details for xenstore and the different
implementations can be found on the wiki's xenstore reference guide [1] and
the xenstored [2] page. You can choose which xenstore you want to enable as
default on a system through configure:

./configure --with-xenstored=xenstored
./configure --with-xenstored=oxenstored

By default oxenstored will be used if the ocaml development tools are found.
If you enable oxenstored the xenstored will still be built and installed,
the xenstored used can be changed through the configuration file:


You can change the preferred xenstored you want to use in the configuration
but since we cannot stop the daemon a reboot will be required to make the
change take effect.


Python Runtime Libraries

Various tools, such as pygrub, have the following runtime dependencies:

* Python 2.6 or later.
Debian: python

Note that the build system expects `python` to be available. If your system
only has `python2` or `python3` but not `python` (as in Linux From Scratch),
you will need to create a symlink for it, or specify PYTHON= when invoking
make, like (note the position of PYTHON= matters):

# make PYTHON=/usr/bin/python3

Intel(R) Trusted Execution Technology Support

Intel's technology for safer computing, Intel(R) Trusted Execution Technology
(Intel(R) TXT), defines platform-level enhancements that provide the building
blocks for creating trusted platforms. For more information, see

Intel(R) TXT support is provided by the Trusted Boot (tboot) module in
conjunction with minimal logic in the Xen hypervisor.

Tboot is an open source, pre- kernel/VMM module that uses Intel(R) TXT to
perform a measured and verified launch of an OS kernel/VMM.

The Trusted Boot module is available from This project hosts the code in a
mercurial repo at and contains
tarballs of the source. Instructions in the tboot README describe how
to modify grub.conf to use tboot to launch Xen.