From Xen

Booting Xen from U-Boot

Booting Xen from U-Boot requires:

  • loading all the required binaries, manually specifying the loading address for each of them making sure they don't overlap
    • Xen, Dom0 kernel, Dom0 ramdisk, device tree binary, any Dom0-less DomUs kernels, ramdisk and partial dtbs for passthrough
  • adding relevant nodes to device tree
    • the Dom0 kernel and ramdisk loading addresses need to be specified in device tree under /chosen

See booting.txt as a reference.


The whole process can be automated with ImageBuilder:

ImageBuilder can be invoked as a container for build automation, but its useful scripts can also be called manually. Specifically, script/uboot-script-gen generates a U-Boot script that loads all the necessary binaries and automatically adds the required entries to device tree at boot time. In order to use it, you need to write a config file first.

Config file





The fields are self explanatory but you can find more detailed information on the readme. Make sure to use raw binaries for Xen, all the kernels and rootfs's, not U-Boot binaries (do not use the output of mkimage).


Once you have the config file, you can call uboot-script-gen as follows:

$ bash ./scripts/uboot-script-gen -c /path/to/config -d . -t tftp

uboot-script-gen generates a U-Boot script named boot.scr that will load all your binaries automatically using tftp.

All the path specified in the config file are relative to the directory passed as an argument to -d. In this case, Image-dom0 and dom1/Image-domU must be relative to the current directory, because we are passing -d . to uboot-script-gen.

Now, you just need to load the generated boot.scr and source it from U-Boot:

u-boot> tftpb 0xC00000 boot.scr; source 0xC00000

The command used to load the binaries can be customized, for instance you can have uboot-script-gen generate a U-Boot script that loads binaries from a SD card passing -t sd, which is a syntactic sugar for -t "load scsi 0:1":

$ bash ./scripts/uboot-script-gen -c /path/to/config -d . -t sd

Important Notes

Xen and Dom0 command line

ImageBuilder uses sched=null by default. If you want to change it, and also modify other Xen and/or Dom0 command line options you'll make to edit the generated U-Boot script: boot.source. Look for sched=null in the source and edit as needed. Then you need to regenerate boot.scr using mkimage and specifying the same loading address for the boot.scr as printed earlier by uboot-script-gen:

$ mkimage -A arm64 -T script -C none -a 0xC00000 -e 0xC00000 -d boot.source boot.scr

U-Boot binaries vs. raw binaries

uboot-script-gen takes only raw binaries as input. If you have a U-Boot binary in your hands and you want to convert it back to a raw binary, you can do that with the following command:

$ dd if=uboot-binary-source of=raw-binary-dest bs=64 skip=1

Xen booting as raw binary

If you use a version of Xen older than 4.12, you need to make sure to have the following commit backported in your Xen tree:

4f3d0ed5d9 xen:arm: Populate arm64 image header

It is necessary to be able to boot Xen as a raw binary from U-Boot.