QEMU Hardware Emulator Released Version 5.1 With Many Improvements

QEMU 5.1.0

Version 5.1.0 of the QEMU hardware emulator is out. QEMU is a virtualization technology emulator that allows you to run operating systems and Linux distributions easily on your current system without the need to install them.

Above all, QEMU 5.1 is now available for this important piece of the open-source Linux virtualization stack. When used as a machine emulator, it can run OSes and programs made for one machine on a different machine. By using dynamic translation, it achieves very good performance indeed.

“This release contains 2500+ commits from 235 authors.”

What’s new in QEMU 5.1

There are plenty of changes. Some of the highlights standing out include:

  • Persistent Memory Region (PMR) support from the NVMe 1.4 specification.
  • Support for the ARMv8.5 memory tagging feature and ARMv8.2 TTS2UXN, Raspberry Pi boards now support the USB controller, and other Arm improvements.
  • Support for two Loongson 3A CPUs while improving the MIPS performance in general with QEMU 5.1.
  • The ability to select POWER10 as a machine type on the IBM PowerPC front. SCV and RFSCV instructions are also supported on the POWER front with this update.
  • Support for live migration on AMD EPYC systems with nested virtualization.
  • Support for the AVR CPU architecture and some boards like select Arduino devices.
  • A wide variety of RISC-V improvements including support for the SiFive E34, Ibex CPU, HiFive1 Rev B, OpenTitan, and a variety of RISC-V architectural additions.
  • Support for protected virtualization / secure extension on IBM s390- with a z16 or Linux One III and using Linux 5.7+ with KVM.
  • Improved HVF acceleration support on Apple macOS.
  • Support for passing secrets to QEMU via the Linux keyring.
  • Various crypto improvements.
  • Support for Zstd compression for QCOW2 images when using compress_type=zstd as a creation option.

In addition, the full list of changes are available here.

In conclusion, QEMU is a very effective technology to emulate virtual operating systems. It offers huge possibilities for using and testing operating systems, and gives a very nice performance. Of course, it’s free and open source and available in all major Linux distributions’ repositories, which makes it one of the best emulating and virtualization software on the Linux desktop.

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