Xv6 RISC-V: Code Userspace Program

Write an userspace program for Xv6, compile and run it

123 Participants 45 Minutes Beginner

Xv6 RISC-V, a blend of the Xv6 operating system and the RISC-V architecture, serves as a remarkable educational platform for exploring operating system development and computer architecture. In this description, we focus on a crucial aspect of Xv6 RISC-V: the creation of new userspace programs. We will explain what these programs are, the steps to create them, the role of Makefile, and their practical applications.

Pre-requisite lab: btechbasics.Xv6 RISC-V: Introduction 



What is a Userspace Program?

In the realm of Xv6 RISC-V, a userspace program refers to a software application or script designed to run outside the operating system's kernel. These programs operate in user mode, without the privileges of the kernel, making them safer and less capable of impacting the core functionality of the system. Userspace programs can perform a wide range of tasks, from simple utilities to complex applications.


Steps to Create a New Userspace Program:

1.Write Your C Program: Start by writing your C program in the user directory of Xv6. This is where your program's source code will reside. Ensure that your code adheres to Xv6 conventions and follows C language standards.

2. Save Your C Program: Save your C program in the user directory with a meaningful filename. The filename should not contain the ".c" extension.

3. Update UPROGS in Makefile: Open the Makefile, which is an essential tool for building programs in Xv6. Find the UPROGS variable in the Makefile and add the name of your program (without the ".c" extension) to the list of user programs. This step ensures that your program will be built and included in the Xv6 system.

4. Compile Your Program: Use the Makefile to compile your program. It will handle the compilation process, including compiling your C code, linking, and generating the executable binary.

5. Run Your Userspace Program: Once your program is successfully compiled, you can run it within the Xv6 RISC-V environment. Execute "make qemu" to start the Xv6 simulator, and then you can run your userspace program just like any other command.


What is a Makefile and Its Use in Xv6 RISC-V:

A Makefile is a text file containing a set of rules and dependencies that define how to build and compile a software project. In Xv6 RISC-V, Makefiles are instrumental in automating the build process for userspace programs. They specify compilation steps, dependencies, and other relevant instructions. Makefiles simplify the compilation process, ensuring consistency across different programs.

A typical Makefile in Xv6 RISC-V may include rules for compiling source code, linking, generating the executable binary, and installing the program into the system's filesystem.



Userspace programs in Xv6 RISC-V serve various practical purposes:

1. Utilities: Userspace programs provide essential utilities for Xv6 users, such as file manipulation tools, text editors, or command-line interpreters.

2. Application Development: Xv6 RISC-V is a valuable platform for developing small-scale applications, allowing developers to experiment and learn about application development in a constrained environment.

3. Research and Experimentation: Userspace programs are valuable for research, enabling researchers to explore novel algorithms, system call implementations, and optimizations in a controlled environment.



Xv6 RISC-V offers a hands-on environment for creating userspace programs. Understanding the process of creating, integrating, and running these programs within the operating system is a fundamental skill for students and developers interested in operating systems and system programming. By utilizing Makefiles and the Xv6 RISC-V ecosystem, users can experiment with, develop, and test a wide range of software, making it an essential tool for those seeking to deepen their understanding of operating systems and computer architecture.

More on : github.com/mit-pdos/xv6-riscv

Xv6: Code Userspace Program


Have a doubt? Got stuck somewhere?



Related Labs


Linux Basic Commands

Operating System

  • 45 m
  • Beginner
  • 252
Learn basic Linux commands and try these hands-on in our Sandbox environment

Linux System Calls

Operating System

  • 30 m
  • Beginner
  • 271
Explore fundamental concept of system calls (syscalls) in Linux OS with Python code

Linux I/O System Calls

Operating System

  • 30 m
  • Beginner
  • 194
Explore UNIX/Linux I/O system calls that allow programs to interact with files/directories with Python example code

Banker's Algorithm

Operating System

  • 30 m
  • Beginner
  • 201
Explore Banker's Algorithm with Python code example