Emulating Haiku in KVM

For Google Code In 2019, Vrondir created a video on how to install Haiku in KVM [79 MiB].

Virtual instances of operating systems are perfect for all kinds of testing purposes that need to be done in a safe and isolated environment. Installing Haiku in a virtual machine is a solution for people who do not want to install it on their physical computers, but wish to become familiar with it.

In this guide the Haiku operating system is being run under virtual circumstances using Manjaro Linux, KVM, and Virtual Machine Manager. but you can use any distribution of Linux that supports KVM.

In this guide, we will be using a nightly anyboot image because nightlies contain the latest Haiku changes - it can be obtained here. However, to enjoy more stability, the official release of Haiku is recommended.

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Installing KVM

If you are using Arch Linux, you can enter the following into the terminal and set up KVM and virt-manager.

sudo pacman -S qemu virt-manager

If you are using Ubuntu, you can enter the following into the terminal instead and set up KVM and virt-manager:

sudo apt-get install qemu-kvm libvirt-bin virt-manager

As of Ubuntu 18.10, the libvirt-bin package has been replaced, so the necessary command is a little different:

sudo apt-get install qemu-kvm libvirt-daemon-system libvirt-clients virt-manager

To enable libvirtd on boot, enter the following command in the terminal:

sudo systemctl enable libvirtd

Installing and running Haiku from an anyboot image

Once the archive with the anyboot image is downloaded and unpacked, you can start the installation.

First, create a new virtual machine.


Then, choose the method of OS installation, which is Local install media in this case and click Forward.


Browse to the anyboot image you have unpacked and select the operating system you are installing. By default, it should automatically detect the OS after you have selected the image. In case it doesn't, just uncheck the Automatically detect checkbox and just type in the OS name. Then, click Forward.


Here, we choose the memory and CPU settings. What you should select here, depends on the system you have. It is better to assign more than 256MiB of RAM for smooth running; too much, on the other hand, may cause a lag for the host. After choosing the memory size and CPU, click Forward.


Here, we can adjust the size of the disk image. When done, click Forward.


Name the virtual machine, verify the settings of the VM, then click Finish


After clicking Finish, a popup saying Virtual Network is not active may appear. Don't worry, it's just asking you to enable the 'default' network. Just click Yes and everything should be fine, if not, see the Troubleshooting section. The VM will now start and boot the Haiku image. You can choose to install Haiku or boot to the desktop. Installation is simple and does not differ really from a physical one (follow the guides on this page if you are not familiar with installing Haiku).


After finishing the installation of your VM, if you run into an error that says Unable to complete install: network default is not active or something along those lines, make sure that libvirtd is running by entering sudo systemctl start libvirtd in terminal. If the error still occurs do the following steps:

Step 1. Check if you have a defined network by running:
sudo virsh net-list --all
  • If you don't have a defined network, the output will look like this:
Name                 State      Autostart     Persistent
  • If you do have a defined network, the output will look like this:
 Name      State      Autostart   Persistent
 default   inactive   no          yes

Skip to Step 3 if your output does look like this.

Step 2. Define the 'default' network by copy-pasting the following lines into a file called default.xml:
  <forward mode='nat'/>
  <bridge name='virbr0' stp='on' delay='0'/>
  <mac address='52:54:00:0a:cd:21'/>
  <ip address='' netmask=''>
      <range start='' end=''/>

Now, in order to add that network permanently to the KVM host, run the following:

sudo virsh net-define --file default.xml
Step 3. To manually start the network, run:
sudo virsh net-start default

There's a chance that you may receive the following error when you run the aforementioned command:

$ sudo virsh net-start default
error: Failed to start network default
error: internal error: Failed to initialize a valid firewall backend

In order to fix that, you will need to install firewalld.

After installing the package, run the following commands in order to enable the service and make networking work again:

sudo systemctl enable --now firewalld
sudo systemctl restart libvirtd

If you want the network to start automatically in the future, run the following command:

sudo virsh net-autostart --network default

Running sudo virsh net-list -all should now return the following:

 Name      State      Autostart   Persistent
 default   inactive   yes         yes