Version 16 (modified by Jiri Svoboda, 13 years ago) ( diff )

Hardware Support

What hardware will HelenOS run on? The idea of this article is to give an idea of what hardware to throw at HelenOS in order to make it boot and, possibly, do something useful. First we give an overview of machine types HelenOS can boot on, then we list individual peripherals it can take advantage of. It is meant to be short and comprehensible, rather than exhaustive.

Also, this is not meant to be a list of every obscure IC that HelenOS interacts with. Please avoid listing obscure devices that are an indivisible part of the platform itself (such as interrupt controllers).

Devices or platforms marked with (D) are only available in the latest development branch (i.e. the Bazaar repository), not in an official release.


HelenOS ports to supported processor architectures.

Machines (real)

Real-world machines on which HelenOS can boot.

  • IA-32 and AMD64-based PCs
  • OpenMoko Neo FreeRunner smartphone
  • Apple iMac G4 and iBook G4
  • i460GX-based Itanium machines
  • Sun Ultra 5, 60 and Blade 1500 workstations
  • Sun Enterprise 6500 and Sun Enterprise T1000 servers

Machines (virtual)

Machines only existing in simulators on which HelenOS can boot (or machines on which HelenOS can only boot in a simulator).

  • GXemul testarm and testmips
  • msim R4000 (MIPS)
  • Qemu Integrator/CP (ARM)
  • Ski (IA-64)
  • VMware Server 2.0.2-203138 (IA-32) (HelenOS 0.4.1)

Display devices (real)

Run-time mode setting is not supported. HelenOS will make use of the graphical device's framebuffer to display graphics (or text) in the resolution the device was set to at boot time. On ia32/amd64 with a VESA-compatible graphics adapter the VESA bios is used to set a graphics mode at boot time.

Supported devices:

  • VESA-compatible graphic cards
  • EGA-compatible cards (text mode)
  • Various display devices on OpenFirmware-based machines (Macs and Sun hardware) via their frame buffer

Display devices (virtual)

  • GXemul frame buffer

Serial consoles (virtual)

These provide a serial I/O line connected to a pseudo-graphical terminal which can be used to control HelenOS in the absence of a display and keyboard.

  • Ski console
  • GXemul console
  • msim console


  • PC keyboard on a PS/2 port
  • Sun keyboard
  • Apple ADB keyboard


  • PS/2 mouse
  • Apple ADB mouse

Storage (virtual)

  • GXemul disk

Storage (real)

  • ATA disk (on ia32 or amd64)
  • (D) ATAPI CD-ROM (only the simulated one in Qemu)
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