SeaBIOS in a virtualized environment


One Line Summary

SeaBIOS - the default BIOS for QEMU & KVM - where it came from and where it's going.


SeaBIOS is an implementation of a 16bit x86 BIOS. It has recently been selected as the default x86 firmware for both QEMU and KVM.

The traditional method of implementing an x86 BIOS is to use a 16bit compiler and a large amount of assembler. In contrast, SeaBIOS is implemented almost entirely in C code. It is also built with modern tools such as gcc, GNU as, and GNU ld.

SeaBIOS is distinct from QEMU’s previous x86 firmware in that it can also replace the factory bios on real hardware (on machines supported by the Coreboot project). This has some interesting implications when used as the firmware for a virtualized machine.

SeaBIOS already supports the functionality found in the existing QEMU firmware. The recent focus has been on adding new features. Features recently added include PCI ROM support, virtio support, and USB support.

This talk will cover the history of SeaBIOS, its challenges, and future goals.




  • Biography

    Kevin started the SeaBIOS project in early 2008. He has been the maintainer and a lead developer of the project since then.

    He has used Linux since 1995 and has worked on embedded, desktop, and server applications.

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