Installing Haiku on QEMU

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Installing Haiku on QEMU

December 9, 2015 | Article | No Comments

If previous article we discuss about installing Haiku on VirtualBox, this time we will discuss about how to install Haiku on QEMU. As proof of concept, I use:

  1. Slackware64 14.0 as host
  2. QEMU 1.4.0.
  3. Haiku iso file

Obtaining the Materials

As said, we will do installation of Haiku on virtual machine using Qemu. Thus you have to make sure Qemu is installed and enable to run properly.

The main material we need is the Haiku ISO itself. Go to Haiku’s download page. The latest version is R1/Alpha 4.1 which is relased on November 14th, 2012. Haiku team provide three way to taste Haiku, which are: Anyboot, ISO, and preloaded image file. As our concern is installation Haiku to VirtualBox, choose the ISO. The iso file itself is archived by zip and xz format. I suggest you to download the iso file from the closest area to you. Whatever format you download, extract the content. There you should get a directory with two files: haiku-r1alpha4.iso and release_notes_r1alpha4.1.txt. Next we will refer the iso as haiku.iso.

Create the Virtual Machine

It would be great if you create a working directory specially made for this purpose. Let’s call it HaikuDir under your home directory. Therefore, we will have ~/HaikuDir.

Haiku will be installed to a dedicated drive image. We will refer it as haiku.img. Approximately, 1000MB space at minimum is sufficient. We will make use of QEMU to create an image for us.

qemu-img create haiku.img 1000M

If you plan to install some application to try under Haiku, greater space is recommended.

Now on our working directory, let’s invoke following command to spawn qemu.

qemu-system-i386 -m 256 -cdrom haiku.iso -hda haiku.img -boot d -localtime -serial file:haiku.log

Notice the “.” on the command. Here we get some arguments.

  • -m 256 means we give 256MB of RAM. If you got plenty of RAM available and don’t mind share some, you can set this value higher.
  • -cdrom haiku.iso will create a cd rom drive to the virtual machine with haiku.iso loaded.
  • -boot d instructs QEMU to boot from the CD-ROM.
  • -localtime means the QEMU VM will use time provided by the host.
  • -serial file:haiku.log will log and catch debug message emitted by QEMU. Valid arguments to -serial include file names, pipes, COM ports, etc.

If the above command failed with following error: qemu-system-i386: Can’t open BIOS image bios.bin

Then you should find where bios.bin stored. Invoke following command to search it.

locate bios.bin

Let’s say it is on /usr/local/share/qemu/bios.bin, then invoke this to start up the qemu:

qemu-system-i386 -m 256 -cdrom haiku.iso -hda haiku.img -boot d -localtime \
-serial file:haiku.log -bios /usr/local/share/qemu/bios.bin

If you want to set the sound, go on and set emulation to AC97. To do that, add -soundhw ac97 as argument when calling qemu. You should also install drivers later. Alternatively, you can set the emulation to ES1370 using -soundhw es1370 instead of ac97 one.

If you need network connection, go add -net nic,model=ne2k_pci and -net user switches when calling qemu.

Boot and Install


Run the virtual machine, you should then see something similar to this:


Choose your preferred language. Our goal is again, install Haiku to our machine. Therefore, choose “Run Installer” button. You should get a “warning”. Haiku is alpha software, so you should have acknowledge this 🙂


And then, finally, the simple installation wizard dialog. The installation is quite simple and straightforward.


Because we create this virtual machine from scratch, then the disk has no partition yet. We should create one first. Click on Setup partition button and there should be a new dialog appear.


The DriveSetup window should detect two mediums, one is our CD-Rom drive, and another is a “hard drive” for our virtual machine. Select the hard drive. It is blank (raw) now, therefore we should create a new partition. Navigate to Partitions -> Format -> Be File System. I want to use all the space, so let’s make it. Now we have the disk partitioned.

After finish partitioning, close the DriveSetup dialog. You should notive a square left to DriveSetup. Press it and the dialog now disappear. You should see this dialog clearly.


Make sure the combobox next to Onto is filled with our newly created partition. Click on Begin button to begin the installation.


The installation will took place. It should be quick, but it is also depend on your host system and the resource you give to Haiku. When the installation finished, Haiku will notify us that it need to be restarted. Click on Restart button if you are ready.


Now, this is the tricky part. When we first launch QEMU, we say that qemu should boot the disk first. Thus, when we restarted the machine we will go back to the installation part. Therefore, when you are asked whether install or use live CD, choose live CD. Then you will be brought to Live CD version of Haiku. From this state, turn off Haiku. You can click thing on top-right of desktop and choose shutdown.

Now, whenever you want to boot Haiku, use following command:

qemu-system-i386 -m 256 -hda haiku.img -localtime -serial file:haiku.log

Once Haiku is restarted, you will see Haiku desktop with some icons there. Haiku will also adjusting and updating some things inside.

And here we have, Haiku.


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A man who is obsessed to low level technology.

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