ACRN Installation via Debian Packages

Debian packages provide a simple way to build and package a collection of ACRN configurations on a development system, based on a set of hardware platforms and scenario choices. You can then copy the packages onto your target platform, select a particular configuration and reboot the system with ACRN and an Ubuntu Service VM up and running.

Follow these instructions to build Debian packages for the acrn-hypervisor and acrn-kernel, install them on your target system, and boot running ACRN.

Set Up Prerequisites

Your development system should be running Ubuntu 18.04 and be connected to the internet. (You’ll be installing software with apt and from Pypi and downloading ACRN software from GitHub.)

It’s likely you’ve already got python3 on your system, but we can make sure by installing it with:

sudo apt install python3

All of the Debian packaging work is handled by a script found in the ACRN GitHub repo. If you don’t have it downloaded already, clone the ACRN repo with:

git clone

All the configuration files and scripts to build the Debian packages are in the misc/packaging folder, so let’s go there:

cd acrn-hypervisor/misc/packaging

Configure Debian Packaging Details

The build and packaging script does all the work to build and make the Debian packages. You configure what the script does by editing its configuration file, release.json. Comments in the JSON file document how you can adjust things to your specific needs. For example, the default release.json file builds for all three default ACRN configurations (industry, hybrid, and logical_partition) and for two supported boards (nuc717dnb and whl-ipc-i5).


In the current implementation of this packaging script, if you change the release.json boards configuration choices, you’ll also need to manually update the acrn-hypervisor.postinst script to match.

Here’s the default release.json configuration:

	"//":"release ubuntu as Service VM OS verion",
	"//":"acrn-hypervisor config",

			"0001-xxxxxxxx.patch": "true",
			"0002-xxxxxxxx.patch": "true"

	"//":"kernel config",
			"0001_xxxxxxxx.patch": "true"


Run the Package-Building Script

The Python script does all the work to install needed tools (such as make, gnu-efi, libssl-dev, libpciaccess-dev, uuid-dev, and more). It also verifies that tool versions (such as the gcc compiler) are appropriate (as configured in the release.json file).

The script runs without further user input, and must be run with sudo:

sudo python3

With the default release.json configuration, this script will run for about 30 minutes, but could take longer depending on your internet speed (for downloading files) and overall computer performance (for compiling the Linux kernel, ACRN hypervisor, and ACRN tools).

When done, it creates two Debian packages:

  • acrn_deb_package.deb with the ACRN hypervisor and tools built for each configuration combination, and

  • acrn_kernel_deb_package.deb with the ACRN-patched Linux kernel.

You’ll need to copy these two files onto your target system, either via the network or simply by using a USB drive.

Prepare Your Target System With Ubuntu 18.04

Your target system must be one of the choices listed in the release.json file and should be running Ubuntu 18.04. Make sure it’s updated using the commands:

sudo apt update
sudo apt upgrade

Reboot your system to complete the installation.

Install Debian Packages on Your Target System

Copy the Debian packages you created on your development system, for example, using a USB drive. Then install the ACRN Debian package:

sudo dpkg -i acrn_deb_package.deb

Make your choices for scenario, board, and which disk to use, for example, this selects the industry scenario, nuc7i7dnb board, and installation on the NVMe drive (input is highlighted):

Selecting previously unselected package acrn-package.
(Reading database ... 163871 files and directories currently installed.)
Preparing to unpack acrn_deb_package.deb...
Unpacking acrn-package (2020-07-17) ...
Setting up acrn-package (2020-07-17) ...
please choose <scenario> ,<board> ,<disk type>
Scenario is ->
        1. industry
        2. hybrid
        3. logical_partition
Scenario is industry
Board is ->
        1. nuc7i7dnb
        2. whl-ipc-i5
Board is nuc7i7dnb
Your acrn bin is ->
disk type is ->
        1. nvme
        2. sda
disk type is nvme
Sourcing file '/etc/default/grub'
Generating grub configuration file ...
Found linux image: /boot/vmlinuz-5.3.0-62-generic
Found initrd image: /boot/initrd.img-5.3.0-62-generic
Found linux image: /boot/vmlinuz-5.3.0-28-generic
Found initrd image: /boot/initrd.img-5.3.0-28-generic
Added boot menu entry for EFI firmware configuration

Then install the ACRN-patched kernel package:

sudo dpkg -i acrn_kernel_deb_package.deb

After that, you’re ready to reboot.

Boot ACRN Using the Multiboot2 Grub Choice

This time when you boot your target system you’ll see some new options:

 Advanced options for Ubuntu
 System setup
*ACRN multiboot2

If your target system has a serial port active, you can simply hit return (or wait for the timeout) to boot with this ACRN multiboot2 choice.


If you don’t have an active serial port, you’ll need to edit the grub configuration a bit by pressing e (for edit) and remove the i915.modeset=0 video=efifb:off parameters at the end of the multiboot2 grub command:

setparams 'ACRN multiboot2 '

    insmod gzio
    insmod part_gpt
    insmod ext2
    search --no-floppy --fs-uuid  --set $uuid
multiboot2 /boot/acrn.industry.nuc7i7dnb.bin root=PARTUUID="06d5265d-863a-4bc0-b469-66b5e6b8a9cb" i915.modeset=0 video=efifb:off
module2 /boot/vmlinuz-5.4.43.PKT-200203T060100Z Linux_bzImage

Then press F10 to continue booting

Verify ACRN Is Running

After the system boots, you can verify ACRN was detected and is running by looking at the dmesg log:

acrn@acrn-NUC:~$ dmesg | grep -i acrn
[    0.000000] Linux version 5.4.43-PKT-200203T060100Z (root@acrn-NUC7i7DNHE) (gcc version 7.5.0 (Ubuntu 7.5.0-3ubuntu1~18.04)) #1 SMP PREEMPT Thu Jul 16 16:33:58 CST 2020
[    0.000000] Hypervisor detected: ACRN
[    2.413796] ACRNTrace: Initialized acrn trace module with 4 cpu
[    2.413883] ACRN HVLog: Failed to init last hvlog devs, errno -19
[    2.413884] ACRN HVLog: Initialized hvlog module with 4 cpu