Before you begin...
(15-410 Software Setup Guide)
This document describes the procedures you may follow to update
your development environment for working on the projects in this course.
Besides the tools described below, you will need access to the standard
set of x86 C development tools (gcc, ld, etc.).
1. One-time Setup
Simics is the instruction set simulator inside which your projects
will run. From your perspective, it is a full-fledged x86 machine whose
display appears as an X application on your desktop. Although Simics
runs on a variety of platforms, we recommend you work with it on
Simics is a commercial product with special license restrictions. CMU
has obtained a number of academic licenses which allow hosts with
128.2/128.237/... IP addresses to run the simulator.
If you have a non-128.2 IP address (e.g., Comcast),
you will need to use the
If you will be developing on a
- AFS-connected Andrew Linux machine (dorms, clusters, etc.),
no special steps are necessary. Simics is already fully set up
on AFS and will run smoothly on Linux via a simple script we
will provide in 410/bin.
- Non-AFS-connected machine, you will need to
get our Simics tarball (simics.tar.gz) from
by downloading it here
and untar (tar -zxvf) it on your own linux machine. No
compilation is necessary -- the tarball contains a good-to-go
binary. The Simics installation contained in it is fully
self-contained; if you wish to uninstall it at any time,
simply remove the entire directory.
However, since every Linux machine is different,
getting this to work on your machine will require some poking
around and experimentation. The course staff may or may not
be able to provide you with enough hints or suggestions to get this working;
if you are not comfortable with installing software on your machine,
reading and understanding linker error messages, etc., then you may
need to use an officially-supported machine.
NOTE: Simics appears to perform very poorly on slow (less
than campus Ethernet) links. If you experience this, you may
want to consider installing Simics locally (refer to the
instructions above for Non-AFS-connected machines).
Simics simulates a real IDE hard drive using a disk image (.img)
file. It will boot and run your kernel off a FAT-formatted "disk"
represented by such a file. We will provide you with a raw disk
image, but to test your code, your compiled kernel will need to be
copied onto it using a utility called mcopy that is provided by
the Mtools package. This copying process is automated in the
Makefile provided to you in the project tarball.
If you do not have mtools installed, source and binaries are available
NOTE: Mtools is installed on most Linux machines, but if it
is not present on yours, you will need to obtain it. Follow the
2. For each project
You will probably need to edit UPDATE_METHOD
in the config.mk to use "web" instead of "afs".
3. Other Important Information
Since we will be running and testing your code on Andrew Linux
machines, you may wish to install the versions of the compiler
and linker on your machine (run "gcc --version" and "ld --version").
Regardless, you are strongly advised to run your code
on an Andrew Linux machine at least once a day.