Linux Kernel Preparing Support For A More Practical Virtual M68k Machine

Written by Michael Larabel in Virtualization on 27 December 2021 at 05:30 AM EST. 5 Comments
When it comes to the Motorola 68000 "m68k" virtual machine targets, the most powerful option under Linux right now is the Quadra 800. That though for virtualization purposes isn't too useful by today's standards with being limited to 1GB of RAM and limited interface support. But a new Virtual M68k Machine aims to provide a more useful target and support has already landed in QEMU while the Linux kernel support is pending.

The new Virtual M68k Machine is based on Google's Goldfish interfaces used for the Android simulator and reuses some of that Goldfish code for this more relevant M68k machine.

This new Virtual M68k Machine would allow up to 128 VirtIO MMIO buses and can be used for serial console, GPU, disk, NIC, HID, hardware random number generator, 9p file-system, and other interfaces.

The Macintosh Quadra 800 shows its age even in virtual form, but the new Virtual M68k Machine will open up new possibilities for Motorola 68000 hobbyists.

Unlike the virtual Quadra 800 machine bound to what was the Macintosh Quadra 800 that launched back in 1993, this new virtual M68k machine is much more useful today for those wanting to dabble with M68k through virtualization. This new machine also allows having up to 3.2GB of RAM.

QEMU 6.0 released earlier this year with the new support in that processor emulator while the Linux kernel changes are under review ans as of this morning up to the second version of the kernel patch. There is a Debian 10 based QEMU image currently available for easily trialing this new Virtual M68k Machine.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via

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