[vbox-dev] New OS bring up with Vbox ?

phi gcc phi.gcc at gmail.com
Mon Jun 7 23:45:59 PDT 2010

Hi Vbox Developpers.

I'd like to ask here a couple of naive questions, I hope I subscribed for
the correct mailing list to do so. If the purpose of this mailing list is
not appopriate for this, tell me so and I will try to find a better place.

I am a Vbox user (not developer) so I know enough of Vbox to manage a guest.
I am also a OS designer for the purpose of learning, i.e doing mostly micro
I am not a Vbox designer and as such have no Vbox internal knowledge.

I do have a tiny OS demonstator, with no kernel loader at the moment.

Now my questions.
- Is it possible to to create an FS system (for instance FAT32) in a raw
file (say under linux), then encapsulate this raw file to create a Vbox
virtual disc (.vdi or other). A kind of import disc data after a virtual
disc creation. My guess is that it should be easy.

- In the same idea, is it possible to provide a inital phys mem state, a
kind of pre-build snapshot, or handcrafted snap shot, i.e the ability to
place in a file (a core file may be) the 'new os' text/data/bss, provide an
initial processor(s) context in Guest description, and start the guest with
this inital context. This would do about what a kernel loader would do

- I red a bit about Vbox development, saw things about the debugger, but
along this line I'd like to know if the host could do at some point what
could be called a 'guess crashdump' i.e instead of doing a snap shot of a
guest, a guest (cooperative guest I think) could ask the host to stop it and
dump it, the host would produce a crashdump with the guest phys mem, either
as a core file or as a sparse raw file, i.e with whole in absent phys memory
or iomem. Note that the host would simply dump the guest memory, it would
not provide any a.out (as a coredump do) it is assumed that the kernel
developer knows what he stuffed (what kernel) into the phys mem when
starting/lauchin the guest

So does this exist already?
If yes, where could I read doccos to educate myself.
If no, is it doable? or usefull? if so I could start to work at trying to
implement this, and then what would be your advise to start.
I admit that install the whole SDK and try to peek/poke in there is a bit
overwhelming at first.

The all idea of this is to bring up an OS that don't have x86 loader yet or
install process, and integrate from the early OS design a good level of
cooperation with the host, to ensure that the new OS is well supported by
the Vbox host. The idea is that Vbox is a good platform for student os
development, and tiny OS demonstator can be designed simpler that using
another host os, like doing all this under linux and rebooting either the
dev linux kernel and the toy kernel alternativly.

Thanx in advance for your advises
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