Chapter 2: Setup the development environment

The first step is to setup a good and viable development environment. Using Vagrant and Virtualbox, you'll be able to compile and test your OS from all the OSs (Linux, Windows or Mac).

Install Vagrant

Vagrant is free and open-source software for creating and configuring virtual development environments. It can be considered a wrapper around VirtualBox.

Vagrant will help us create a clean virtual development environment on whatever system you are using. The first step is to download and install Vagrant for your system at

Install Virtualbox

Oracle VM VirtualBox is a virtualization software package for x86 and AMD64/Intel64-based computers.

Vagrant needs Virtualbox to work, Download and install for your system at

Start and test your development environment

Once Vagrant and Virtualbox are installed, you need to download the ubuntu lucid32 image for Vagrant:

vagrant box add lucid32

Once the lucid32 image is ready, we need to define our development environment using a Vagrantfile, create a file named Vagrantfile. This file defines what prerequisites our environment needs: nasm, make, build-essential, grub and qemu.

Start your box using:

vagrant up

You can now access your box by using ssh to connect to the virtual box using:

vagrant ssh

The directory containing the Vagrantfile will be mounted by default in the /vagrant directory of the guest VM (in this case, Ubuntu Lucid32):

cd /vagrant

Build and test our operating system

The file Makefile defines some basics rules for building the kernel, the user libc and some userland programs.


make all

Test our operating system with qemu:

make run

The documentation for qemu is available at QEMU Emulator Documentation.

You can exit the emulator using: Ctrl-a.

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