Using QEMU for cross-platform development

Multi-platform development on one computer

From the developerWorks archives

Roderick W. Smith

Date archived: April 18, 2019 | First published: February 09, 2010

One of Linux's strengths is its cross-platform nature: you can run it on x86, x86-64, SPARC, PowerPC, and many other central processing units (CPUs). This wealth of hardware choices poses a challenge for software developers, though. Ensuring that software compiles, and runs correctly, on all platforms can be difficult. The use of the QEMU package can help ease this burden.

QEMU is a machine emulator that supports a wide range of CPUs, so you can run PowerPC software on an x86 computer, x86-64 software on an SPARC computer, or what have you. This facility is particularly useful for programmers who need to test software's endianness compatibility or check other CPU-specific features. QEMU also enables you to run different operating systems entirely, so that you can test a program's ability to compile and run under FreeBSD, Solaris, or even Microsoft® Windows® without shutting down Linux.

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