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Xelix kernel

Xelix is a hobby Unix-like kernel and operating system for x86. It has a largely GNU-based userland and can run many common Linux/BSD programs.

Screenshot of Xelix 0.3.0-alpha


  • Preemptive multitasking with privilege and memory separation
  • Unix process API with fork/execve/wait and signal handling
  • VFS with support for dynamic mount points, poll, pipes, and in-memory file trees
  • Read/write ext2 implementation, IDE and virtio-block drivers
  • BSD socket API for TCP/IP support using the PicoTCP network stack
  • Terminal framework with support for multiple TTYs, pseudo terminals & ECMA48 escape sequences

Current development goals

  • Support for memory-mapping in userspace using mmap and general memory allocation overhaul
  • Dynamic library loading
  • Graphics compositing improvements and proper input handling for GUI tasks
  • Virtual file system overhaul to cache file tree in memory and do lazy lookups only



Xelix is unstable pre-alpha software. Don’t use it on computers that store any data you might want to keep. Make liberal use of fsck.ext2.

Version Release Download New software
0.3.0-alpha 2021-07-07 QEMU qcow2 image gfxcompd, gfxterm, libexpat, pixman, libiconv, cairo, libpng, tz, htop
0.2.0 2020-01-26 QEMU qcow2 image dash, dialog, flac, gdbm, libedit, nano, openssl, tar, which, xz, bash, coreutils, freetype2, gettext, libtextstyle, mpc, pciutils, vim, binutils, darkhttpd, e2fsprogs, gmp, less, libxml2, mpfr, pcre2, wget
0.1.0 2019-01-26 QEMU qcow2 image busybox, xshell, bzip2, zlib, ncurses, diffutils, grep

You should be able to run it using any common x86 emulator/hypervisor. QEMU/KVM, Bochs, VirtualBox and VMWare Player are known to work, with the latter two offering the best performance (Most testing is done on QEMU/KVM however).

Sample QEMU invocation:

qemu-system-i386 -accel kvm -vga qxl -m 1024 -cpu host -serial mon:stdio -device ac97 -drive file=xelix.qcow2,if=ide -netdev user,id=mnet0 -device virtio-net,netdev=mnet0
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