On this page you will find device specific information for QEMU v7 (Armv7-A) and QEMU v8 (Armv8-A).


The instructions here will tell how to run OP-TEE using QEMU for Armv7-A.

Build instructions

As long as you pick the v7 manifest, i.e., default.xml the “Get and build the solution” tells all you need to know to build and boot up QEMU v7.


After running make run you will end up in the QEMU console and it will also spawn two UART consoles. One console containing the UART for secure world and one console containing the UART for normal world. You will see that it stops waiting for input on the QEMU console. To continue, do:

(qemu) c

Host-Guest folder sharing

You can use the VirtFS QEMU feature to avoid changing rootfs CPIO archive every time you need to add additional files or modify existing files. To do this, you share a folder between the guest and host operating systems. To enable and use this feature you have to provide additional arguments when running make, example:



You can also add QEMU_VIRTFS_HOST_DIR=<share> in case you don’t want to use the default sharing location (which is the root of <qemu-v7-project>).

When QEMU with OP-TEE is up and running, you can mount the host folder in QEMU (normal world UART).

# mount -t 9p -o trans=virtio host <mount_point>

<mount_point> here is folder in the QEMU where you want to mount the host PC’s shared folder. So if you want to mount it at /mnt/host you typically do this from QEMU NW/UART.

# mkdir -p /mnt/host
# mount -t 9p -o trans=virtio host /mnt/host


After booting QEMU, eth0 will automatically receive an IP address from QEMU via DHCP using the SLiRP user networking feature. QEMU will act as a gateway to the host network SLiRP.

Please note that ICMP won’t work in the guest unless additional configuration is made, so the ping utility won’t work.

GDB - Normal world

If you need to debug a client application, using GDB in a remote debugging configuration may be useful. Remote debugging means gdb runs on your PC, where it can access the source code, while the program being debugged runs on the remote system (in this case, in the QEMU environment in normal world). Here is how to do that. On your PC, build with GDBSERVER=y:

$ cd <qemu-v7-project>/build
# You **only** need to rm -rf the first time you build with the new flag.
# If you omit doing so, it's likely that you will see "stamp" errors in the
# build log.
$ rm -rf <qemu-v7-project>/out-br
$ make -j8 run GDBSERVER=y

Boot up as usual

(qemu) c

Inside QEMU (Normal World UART), run your application with gdbserver (for example xtest 4002):

# gdbserver :12345 xtest 4002
Process xtest created; pid = 654
Listening on port 12345

Back on your PC, open another terminal, start GDB and connect to the target:

$ <qemu-v7-project>/out-br/host/bin/arm-buildroot-linux-gnueabihf-gdb
(gdb) set sysroot <qemu-v7-project>/out-br/host/arm-buildroot-linux-gnueabihf/sysroot
(gdb) target remote :12345

Now GDB is connected to the remote application. You may use GDB normally.

(gdb) b main
(gdb) c

GDB - Secure world

TEE core debugging

To debug TEE core running QEMU with GDB, you don’t have to enable any special flags as such, but it’s easier to debug if you have optimization disabled. Other than that you will have four consoles that you are working with.

  • Qemu console
  • NW UART console
  • SW UART console
  • GDB console

All of them but the GDB console are consoles you normally will see/use when running OP-TEE/xtest using QEMU. The first thing is to start QEMU, i.e.,

$ cd <qemu-v7-project>/build
# make run-only also works if you don't want to rebuild things
$ make run

Next launch another console for GDB and do this

$ cd <qemu-v7-project>/toolchains/aarch32/bin
$ ./arm-linux-gnueabihf-gdb -q

In the GDB console connect to the QEMU GDB server, like this (the output is included to show what you normally will see).

(gdb) target remote localhost:1234
Remote debugging using localhost:1234
warning: No executable has been specified and target does not support
determining executable automatically.  Try using the "file" command.
0x00000000 in ?? ()

Still in the GDB console, load the symbols for TEE core

(gdb) symbol-file <qemu-v7-project>/optee_os/out/arm/core/tee.elf
Reading symbols from <qemu-v7-project>/optee_os/out/arm/core/tee.elf...done.

Now you can set a breakpoint for any symbol in OP-TEE, for example

(gdb) b tee_entry_std
Breakpoint 1 at 0xe103012: file core/arch/arm/tee/entry_std.c, line 526.

Last step is to initiate the boot, do that also from the GDB console

(gdb) c

At this point will see UART output in the Normal world console as well as the Secure world UART console. If you now for example Run xtest, then you will rather soon hit the breakpoint we previously set and you will see something like this in the GDB console:

[Switching to Thread 2]

Thread 2 hit Breakpoint 1, tee_entry_std (smc_args=0xe183f18
<stack_thread+8216>) at core/arch/arm/tee/entry_std.c:526
526             struct optee_msg_arg *arg = NULL;       /* fix gcc warning */

From here you can start to poke around with GDB, single step, read memory, read registers, print variables and all sorts of things that you normally do with a debugger.


Some people find it easier to also see the source code while debugging. You can enable the “TUI mode” to see the source code in GDB. To enable that, run GDB with

$ ./arm-linux-gnueabihf-gdb -q -tui


The instructions here will tell how to run OP-TEE using QEMU for Armv8-A.

Build instructions

As long as you pick the v8 manifest, i.e., qemu_v8.xml the “Get and build the solution” tells all you need to know to build and boot up QEMU v8.

All other things (networking, GDB etc) in the v7 section above is also applicable on QEMU v8 as long as you replace <qemu-v7-project> with <qemu-v8-project> to get the correct paths relative to your QEMU v8 setup.