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Personal tools

MokoMakefile has support for automatically building, flashing, and running OpenMoko under QEMU using qemu-neo1973, a fork of qemu which adds simulation of almost all Neo1973 devices in order allow testing OpenMoko images in a virtual environment.

For this, it's not required to download and run a complete OpenMoko build (which takes several hours to even days and needs lots of disk space and RAM), because if you only need to test pre-compiled images, it is enough to build qemu-neo1973 and to set it up to run these images. This is what this article deals with and to describe how MokoMakefile makes this easy.

Note: The talk page of MokoMakefile may also contain some valuable hints regarding compiling and using QEMU for OpenMoko, including distribution specific issues and workarounds.

Build requirements

  • gcc 3.4 or 3.3: You need gcc-3.x for building qemu. If you have no precompiled gcc-3.x packages, you need to compile it. [1]
  • lynx
  • netpbm
  • SDL-devel
  • mkdosfs (from dosfstools)

Debian 4.0 and Ubuntu 7.04

 sudo apt-get install git git-core gcc-3.4 lynx netpbm libsdl1.2-dev dosfstools subversion zlib1g-dev

Ubuntu 7.10

 sudo apt-get install git git-core gcc-3.4 lynx netpbm libsdl1.2-dev dosfstools subversion 
 sudo dpkg-reconfigure dash (choose NO upon question about installing /bin/sh )

When using Ubuntu you really want to have a look here: [2]

SUSE Linux / openSUSE

get gcc33 and cpp33 for SUSE Linux 10.1, openSUSE 10.2 and openSUSE Factory and install both rpms at once using:

rpm -Uhv cpp33-*.rpm gcc33-*.rpm

Install the packages lynx, netpbm, SDL-devel and dosfstools e.g. using yast, apt, or smart.

On 10.1 and 10.2, apply the workaround for qemu-neo1973 USB compilation.


Gentoo will usually have some version of gcc-3 installed by default. You don't need to use gcc-config to switch the default compiler to gcc-3 - Qemu should find there right version if it's installed.

GCC 3.4 is known to be broken on 32-bit Gentoo. If your 32-bit i386 system has a 3.4 GCC installed from portage you will need to downgrade to 3.3.6.(Note: GCC 3.3 is currently broken and masked in Gentoo, consider disabling QEMU if you are running gentoo)

Gentoo users will need to install sys-fs/dosfstools for the mkdosfs command then create a link in /sbin: ln -s /usr/sbin/mkdosfs /sbin/mkdosfs.

Compilation and use

Create a new directory and download the Moko Makefile to it:

 mkdir openmoko
 cd openmoko

If that doesn't work, try


make qemu” will build qemu-neo1973, download the latest official OpenMoko images, flash the images into the virtual NAND flash, create an empty virtual SD card, and run the emulator (you still need to install the makefile as mentioned above, however).

  • make run-qemu - restarts qemu with the currently flashed OpenMoko images and current virtual SD card.
  • make run-qemu-snapshot - does the same but starts qemu with -snapshot which causes QEMU to write all changes to temporary files instead of flash and disk image files.
    This has the benefit that the virtual Neo1973 is not changed. Also all changes that make run-qemu-snapshot creates occur in parallel. This allows you to run multiple instances without creating incoherent flash and SD card state. You can, however, force the write back by pressing C-a s in the QEMU window. This may be useful to update the flash and disk images in the last qemu instance that is running to preserve the changes.

You may also use:

  • make download-images - to download the latest official images
  • make flash-qemu-official - to flash those images
  • make flash-qemu-local - to flash your latest locally built images, which can then be followed by
  • make qemu-copy-package-foo - copies foo.ipk to the virtual SD card, which allows you to use ipkg install /media/mmcblk0/file inside the running OpenMoko to install the package.

If you want to calibrate your screen, look at [3]

For detailed information on advanced usage of qemu-neo1973 see also: OpenMoko under QEMU

If you get an error while flashing, see [4]

Using tested and recommended images

The process described above will download the latest daily build, which may be broken or non-working in many cases. If you delete the images downloaded into the images/openmoko directory, you can add another set of the 3 files there and flash them into QEmu by make flash-qemu-official.

Read Snapshot review to download better working images.