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Project ACRN

ACRN Release Version 1.6

By Blog

We are pleased to announce the release of ACRN™ Hypervisor version 1.6, which introduces a number of new features.

What’s new in v1.6

  • Graphics pass-through support
    • The hypervisor and Service VM support pass-through graphics device to target DM-launched guest VMs, based on GVT-d.
  • SRIOV support
    • The ACRN hypervisor allows an SRIOV-capable PCI device’s Physical Function (PF) to be allocated to the Service VM and its Virtual Functions (VFs) to be allocated to any VM.
    • The ACRN Service VM supports an SRIOV ethernet device (through the PF driver) and ensures an SRIOV VF device can be assigned (pass-through) to a post-launched VM (launched by ACRN-DM).
  • CPU sharing enhancement – Halt/Pause emulation
    • For a vCPU using the fairness CPU scheduler, the hypervisor supports yielding an idle vCPU (when it’s running a ‘HLT’ or ‘PAUSE’ instruction).
  • PCI Config space access emulation for Pass-thru devices in the hypervisor
    • The hypervisor provides the necessary emulation (such as config space) of the pass-thru PCI device during runtime for a DM-launched VM. Such runtime emulation is DM-independent.
  • PCI bridge emulation in the hypervisor

See the full release notes and latest documentation for more information about this 1.6 release.

Documentation updates

Many new reference documents are available, including:

SR-IOV Architecture in the ACRN hypervisor

We recommend that all developers upgrade to ACRN release v1.6.

About the ACRN Project

ACRN is a flexible, lightweight reference hypervisor, built with real-time and safety-criticality in mind, optimized to streamline embedded development through an open source platform. To learn more, please visit https://projectacrn.org/.

About the Linux Foundation

Founded in 2000, the Linux Foundation is supported by more than 1,000 members and is the world’s leading home for collaboration on open source software, open standards, open data, and open hardware. Linux Foundation’s projects are critical to the world’s infrastructure including Linux, Kubernetes, Node.js, and more.  The Linux Foundation’s methodology focuses on leveraging best practices and addressing the needs of contributors, users and solution providers to create sustainable models for open collaboration. For more information, please visit us at linuxfoundation.org.

ACRN and Zephyr demo at Embedded World 2020

By Blog

Embedded World 2020 is a wrap. This year the ACRN hypervisor and Zephyr RTOS were demonstrated together in Canaonical’s Ubuntu booth.

Since ACRN’s start in 2018 as a Linux Foundation project, the ACRN team focused on developing a hypervisor that is flexible, lightweight, open-source, and built with real-time and safety-criticality in mind. The Zephyr RTOS, another Linux Foundation project, strives to deliver the best-in-class RTOS for connected, resource-constrained devices and is built to be secure and safe. 

Canonical took advantage of this unique set of capabilities in open source projects by demonstrating single-system mixed workload consolidation based on Zephyr, Ubuntu, and ACRN.  The Zephyr RTOS runs specialized tasks requiring real-time capabilities or integrating functional safety modules, while Ubuntu is the rich Linux operating system running other non-real-time workloads. The ACRN hypervisor provides the isolated virtual machine environment, concurrently supporting both workloads. 

The architecture of Canonical’s demo is depicted below. The Zephyr RTOS is running in a pre-launched Virtual Machine (VM) completely isolated from Ubuntu, so any workload crash or even a reboot of the Ubuntu VM will not disturb the tasks running in Zephyr. 

A single-system mixed workload consolidation demo architecture, based on Zephyr, Ubuntu, and ACRN.

Visit Canonical’s blog for more details on their Embedded World 2020 demo.

ACRN Release Version 1.5

By Blog

We are pleased to announce the release of ACRN™ Hypervisor version 1.5 which introduces a number of new features.

Version 1.5 major features

What’s New in v1.5

  • Basic CPU sharing: Fairness Round-Robin CPU Scheduling has been added to support basic CPU sharing (the Service VM and WaaG share one CPU core).
  • 8th Gen Intel® Core ™ Processors (code name Whiskey Lake) are now supported and validated.
  • Overall stability and performance has been improved.
  • An offline configuration tool has been created to help developers port ACRN to different hardware boards.

See the full release notes and latest documentation for more information about this 1.5 release.

Document updates

Many new reference documents are available, including:

Refer to the ACRN version 1.5 release notes for more details.


About the ACRN™ Project

ACRN is a flexible, lightweight reference hypervisor, built with real-time and safety-criticality in mind, optimized to streamline embedded development through an open source platform. To learn more, please visit https://projectacrn.org/.

About the Linux Foundation

Founded in 2000, the Linux Foundation is supported by more than 1,000 members and is the world’s leading home for collaboration on open source software, open standards, open data, and open hardware. Linux Foundation’s projects are critical to the world’s infrastructure including Linux, Kubernetes, Node.js, and more.  The Linux Foundation’s methodology focuses on leveraging best practices and addressing the needs of contributors, users and solution providers to create sustainable models for open collaboration. For more information, please visit us at linuxfoundation.org.

2019 ACRN Reflections: Keep Running

By Blog

Can you believe December is almost gone? While many of us are looking forward to the holidays and time with our loved ones, December also brings a convenient occasion to look back on the year and check out what ACRN has achieved in 2019.

The first keyword in mind: Production – ACRN drives on the road!

A new SUV based on ACRN, the EXEED-LX, was officially released by the Chinese car maker Chery in Q3’19. It features the eye-catching dual 12.3-inch floating LCD screen, a newly designed electronic instrument cluster, a facial recognition system that automatically adjusts the interior settings customized for the driver, and an AR-enhanced real-life navigation system that gets you where you need to go. These applications are made possible by adopting Intel’s Apollo Lake processor and the ACRN™ virtualization solution.

The ACRN hypervisor builds a virtual layer on top of the underlying hardware processor, achieving multi-OS workload consolidation to ensure isolation and non-interference between the electronic instrument cluster and the infotainment system. ACRN supports fast start-up, enabling the rapid display of cluster dashboards. ACRN also supports the underlying hardware resource sharing, where a single, physical graphics card can simultaneously display the UI of the instrument cluster dashboard and the IVI system. It similarly supports shared storage devices, shared network interface controllers, and shared sound cards.

Congratulations to Chery*, Neusoft* and Intel teams for making this happen. The ACRN project really appreciates your seamless collaboration!

ACRN targets two main scenarios: SDC and Industrial Workload Consolidation

ACRN is a flexible, lightweight reference hypervisor, built with real-time and safety-criticality in mind, optimized to streamline embedded development through an open source platform and implemented in less than 40K lines of code.

Now that the Software Defined Cockpit (SDC) scenario is complete, ACRN is devoting its resources in a more challenging realm: Industrial Workload Consolidation.  These features are still in development but show great promise:

  • Guest Windows runs well on ACRN as a Human-Machine Interface (HMI)
  • Guest Real-time OS (RTOS) achieves near-to-native performance
  • Function Safety development for partition mode is proceeding according to plan.

With contributions from the community, ACRN hosted an IoT seminar in Shanghai

The 1st Open Source IoT Projects Seminar was held on June in Shanghai. This was the first time that the ACRN project ran a community seminar with a focus on promoting open source projects in the IoT arena. Themed ‘Open Source Drives IoT, From Device to Edge’, the seminar was sponsored through collaboration between ACRN, Celadon, AliOS, Clear Linux, ROS 2, StarlingX and Zephyr projects. The seminar covered a wide spectrum of technologies, from virtualization, real-time, security and safely, to industrial real-time workload consolidation, IVI, automotive, drones, robotic, retail and other technologies which enable numerous IoT innovations.

The seminar featured 30 technical speeches, 13 demos and 4 hands-on/workshops. It was attended by 161 community developers, software engineers, and technical managers from key partners and customers.

The ACRN community is becoming stronger

  • 8 ACRNiterative versions were released, from v0.5 to the latest v1.4
  • 22 worldwide conference events, demos and promotions by ACRN
  • 46 Technical Community Meetings, spanning architecture design, implementation, tools, and developer experiences
  • 424 subscribers of ACRN community mailing list
  • 4,554 commits (as of Dec. 14th, 2019)
  • 100 contributors have submitted patches for ACRN.
    • Congratulations to the top 4 developers:
  • 1,933 followers to ACRN WeChat account, 48 original blogs posted, total engagement >20K, 645 members joined ‘ACRN Developer Technical Group’ on WeChat
  • 254 Twitter followers, 54 Facebook followers

About the ACRN™ Project

ACRN is a flexible, lightweight reference hypervisor, built with real-time and safety-criticality in mind, optimized to streamline embedded development through an open source platform. To learn more, please visit https://projectacrn.org/.

About the Linux Foundation

Founded in 2000, the Linux Foundation is supported by more than 1,000 members and is the world’s leading home for collaboration on open source software, open standards, open data, and open hardware. Linux Foundation’s projects are critical to the world’s infrastructure including Linux, Kubernetes, Node.js, and more.  The Linux Foundation’s methodology focuses on leveraging best practices and addressing the needs of contributors, users and solution providers to create sustainable models for open collaboration. For more information, please visit us at linuxfoundation.org.

Demo of Workload Consolidation on Edge Devices

By Blog

Geoffroy Van Cutsem from Intel featured ACRN™in a compelling demonstration of the power of workload consolidation in edge devices. This was presented at the Open Source Summit EU in Lyon France.

The “Industrial IoT Edge to Cloud demo” develops an end-to-end scenario using many innovative open-source projects. The use case presented is an industrial edge node running real-time and Artificial Intelligence (AI) workloads on a single platform. Many edge devices require a strict real-time behavior for some core functionality, for example a robot arm control. Being able to do advanced processing on the edge produces faster reaction times and optimizes usage of the network infrastructure. The cloud back end provides the next-level of analysis when required and offers a holistic view of the edge nodes.

This demo featured a number of open-source projects and technologies relevant to the IoT and Edge domains. This included  Project ACRNTM (IoT hypervisor), Zephyr ProjetTM (RTOS), and Intel® Optimization for TensorFlow* (AI), Docker (Container OS-virtualization). Through real-life use cases and hypothetical scenarios, the demo showed how combining diverse projects enables new functionalities such as advanced workload consolidation.

Attendees saw an edge device with Zephyr running in a real-time virtual machine (RTVM) under the ACRN hypervisor. The real-time characteristics of the Zephyr VM are monitored by running the “cyclictest” benchmark inside it. Running concurrently on the same platform, but in a different virtual machine (VM) is an object-detection algorithm based on TensorFlow (AI) in a Docker container. It is constantly analyzing a video stream detecting various objects and raising alerts when abnormal conditions are detected.  Alerts are sent by the edge device to a back end system, along with a video snapshot of what happened leading up to the alert. This allows an operator to monitor the device and be informed of important events. It also enables the operator to replay the sequence. This pre-processing performed directly on the edge device saves expensive network bandwidth at the edge since the entire video monitoring stream need not be sent to the cloud. It also helps minimize the latency between detecting a problematic condition and reacting to it since both functions are co-located. The power of the cloud is saved for more involved processing and analysis that is less latency-sensitive and more compute-intensive.

The open source projects featured in Geoffroy’s demos illustrate just how new and innovative open-source projects such as ACRN, Clear LinuxOS, and Zephyr make workload consolidation a reality even when strict realt-time characteristics are required. We encourage you to adopt, develop, engage and begin contributing to these projects today. Our supportive communities would love to hear from you, too. Join us! https://01.org/projects

About the ACRN™ Project

ACRN is a flexible, lightweight reference hypervisor, built with real-time and safety-criticality in mind, optimized to streamline embedded development through an open source platform. To learn more, please visit https://projectacrn.org/.

About the Linux Foundation

Founded in 2000, the Linux Foundation is supported by more than 1,000 members and is the world’s leading home for collaboration on open source software, open standards, open data, and open hardware. Linux Foundation’s projects are critical to the world’s infrastructure including Linux, Kubernetes, Node.js, and more.  The Linux Foundation’s methodology focuses on leveraging best practices and addressing the needs of contributors, users and solution providers to create sustainable models for open collaboration. For more information, please visit us at linuxfoundation.org.

ACRN Release Version 1.4

By Blog

We are pleased to announce the release of ACRN™ Hypervisor version 1.4 which introduces a number of new features.

What’s New in Release Version 1.4

  • ACRN now conforms to the Microsoft* Hypervisor Top-Level Functional Specification (TLFS).
  • ACRN scheduler framework re-architected.
  • WaaG (Windows as a guest) stability and performance has been improved.
  • Real-time performance of the RTVM (preempt-RT kernel-based) has been improved.

See the full release notes and latest documentation for more information about this 1.4 release.

Document updates

We have many reference documents available, including:

Newly added documents include:

Refer to the ACRN version 1.4 release notes for more details.


About the ACRN™ Project

ACRN is a flexible, lightweight reference hypervisor, built with real-time and safety-criticality in mind, optimized to streamline embedded development through an open source platform. To learn more, please visit https://projectacrn.org/.

About the Linux Foundation

Founded in 2000, the Linux Foundation is supported by more than 1,000 members and is the world’s leading home for collaboration on open source software, open standards, open data, and open hardware. Linux Foundation’s projects are critical to the world’s infrastructure including Linux, Kubernetes, Node.js, and more.  The Linux Foundation’s methodology focuses on leveraging best practices and addressing the needs of contributors, users and solution providers to create sustainable models for open collaboration. For more information, please visit us at linuxfoundation.org.

ACRN Project Releases Version 1.3

By Blog

We are pleased to announce the release of ACRN™ Hypervisor version 1.3 which introduces a number of new features.

What’s New in Release Version 1.3

  • Introduced the`acrn-config` tool to configure the VM and hypervisor from a XML configuration file at build time. See ACRN Configuration Tool Manual
  • OVMF supports Graphics Output Protocol (GOP), allowing Windows logo at guest VM boot time.
  • Platform-level coordinated graceful shutdown (S5) for User VMs.
  • Virtual UART (vUART) for inter-VM communication.
  • Ethernet mediator now supports prioritization per VM.
  • Features for real-time determinism, e.g. Cache Allocation Technology (CAT, only supported on Apollo Lake).

Overview of the ACRN Configuration Tool

See the full release notes and latest documentation for more information about this 1.3 release.

Document updates

We have many reference documents available, including:

Refer to the ACRN version 1.3 release notes for more details.


About the ACRN™ Project

ACRN is a flexible, lightweight reference hypervisor, built with real-time and safety-criticality in mind, optimized to streamline embedded development through an open source platform. To learn more, please visit https://projectacrn.org/.

About the Linux Foundation

Founded in 2000, the Linux Foundation is supported by more than 1,000 members and is the world’s leading home for collaboration on open source software, open standards, open data, and open hardware. Linux Foundation’s projects are critical to the world’s infrastructure including Linux, Kubernetes, Node.js, and more.  The Linux Foundation’s methodology focuses on leveraging best practices and addressing the needs of contributors, users and solution providers to create sustainable models for open collaboration. For more information, please visit us at linuxfoundation.org.

ACRN™ and Intel Drive Chery EXEED’s Transformation of the Automotive Experience

By Blog

Have you ever driven home after work and wanted to stay in your car to relax a little more instead of going inside of the house?

Because of the rapid advancement in technology, our cars are no longer simply a means of transportation, but are now the “second living space” in our lives. Our expectation is now for cars to become mobile living rooms where we can socialize and entertain. The essential In-Vehicle Infotainment (IVI) systems need to support more complex operating systems, software applications, and external hardware. For legacy in-vehicle hardware with limited resources, the difficulty of supporting increasingly complex uses is evident, especially in the upcoming era of autonomous driving.

The new SUV EXEED, released by the Chinese car maker Chery, responds to these new challenges. It presents the eye-catching dual 12.3-inch floating LCD screen, a newly designed electronic instrument cluster, a facial recognition system that automatically adjusts the interior settings customized for the driver, and an AR-enhanced real-life navigation system that gets you where you need to go. It also supports online payment, an intelligent interactive voice recognition capability, and many other amenities. These applications are made possible by adopting Intel’s Apollo Lake processor and ACRN™ virtualization solution, best described as “small but mighty.”

Intel Apollo Lake – Two Birds One Stone

The electronic instrument cluster used by Chery EXEED requires the highest level of safety, security, and real-time performance, and guarantees a display refresh rate of 60 frames per second. The car’s infotainment system supports a variety of cool, smart cockpit applications, including Baidu AR enhanced navigation, map navigation, voice control, and AI-assisted driving.

The cluster runs in Clear Linux*, while the infotainment system uses the latest Android* 9.0. In the past, such a scenario required the use of at least two distinct SoC chips. But now, only one, powerful Intel Apollo Lake processor can easily handle this use case by supporting two or more operating systems.

ACRN Hypervisor – Hero Behind the Scene

Once the hardware virtualization function of Intel Apollo Lake processor is enabled, the ACRN hypervisor can support multiple operating systems simultaneously while ensuring the safety isolation of each operating system without affecting each other.

ACRN is a flexible, lightweight reference hypervisor, built with real-time and safety-criticality in mind, optimized to streamline embedded development through an open source platform and implemented in less than 40,000 lines of code.

ACRN builds a virtual layer on top of the underlying hardware processor, achieving multi-OS workload consolidation to ensure isolation and non-interference between the electronic instrument cluster and the infotainment system. ACRN supports fast start-up and enables rapid display of cluster dashboards on start-up. ACRN also supports the underlying hardware resource sharing, where a single, physical graphics card can simultaneously display the UI of the instrument cluster dashboard and the IVI system. It similarly supports shared storage devices, shared network interface controllers, and shared sound cards.

Android 9.0 – Tailored for Automotive

Android 9.0 is the first automotive version of the Android operating system released by Google. Chery EXEED is the first model in China to upgrade the cockpit system to Android 9.0.

The operation interface of Android 9.0 is more in line with automotive usage scenarios. A series of designs ensures safety from hardware, through the kernel, to the application framework. The improved automotive hardware abstraction layer (HAL) and the Car Service allow users to control the car’s air conditioning, lighting, volume and other settings more easily, making the “second living space”  more personal. These features make it easy for developers to use their imaginations to build more applications.

Close Collaboration Builds Innovation Success

Thanks to collaboration on smart cockpit research and development between Intel, Neusoft, and Chery, we are experiencing new exciting technologies.

The ACRN Hypervisor team and the Android team are part of Intel’s R&D center in Shanghai providing ACRN features development, Android system board support package (BSP), Android applications, and platform optimization. These teams joined other software and hardware R&D teams worldwide to complete hardware design, chip verification, optimization, support of sensors, cameras, safety functions, content protection, and security. This work propelled Chery EXEED to go from project initiation to mass production within a year, making it the first production car model using ACRN virtualization solution with the latest Android 9.0 OS.

EXEED went to mass production using ACRN, Android 9.0, and Apollo Lake as its foundation, demonstrating Chery’s commitment to these new technologies.

Software-Defined Vehicle – Second Living Space Made Enjoyable

Project ACRN and Android 9.0 clearly demonstrate the trend toward software-defined vehicles as more software and applications fill our second living space. Rapidly growing computing power makes our cars more intelligent and more effective by collecting and analyzing various data inside and outside the car to improve the driving experience. High-speed networks and 5G enable a better entertainment experience inside the vehicle.

Thanks to Intel and ACRN, EXEED has brought us into an era where traveling with our families and enjoying our cars as a second living space has become an integral part of our lives.

ACRN Project Releases Version 1.2

By Blog

We are pleased to announce the release of ACRN™ Hypervisor version 1.2 which introduces a number of new features.

What’s New in Release Version 1.2

  • Support for OVMF as virtual boot loader for Service VM to launch Clearlinux, VxWorks or Windows. Secure boot is also supported
  • Support for Kata containers.
  • Windows as a Guest (WaaG): USB host (xHCI) mediator
  • Virtualization support for Always Running Timer (ART)
  • Various bug fixes and enhancements

See the full release notes and latest documentation for more information about this 1.2 release.

Document updates

We have many reference documents available, including:

We have many reference documents available, including:

We also updated the following documents based on the newly defined Usage Scenarios in this release, including:

Refer to the ACRN version 1.2 release notes for more details.


About the ACRN™ Project

ACRN is a flexible, lightweight reference hypervisor, built with real-time and safety-criticality in mind, optimized to streamline embedded development through an open source platform. To learn more, please visit https://projectacrn.org/.

About the Linux Foundation

Founded in 2000, the Linux Foundation is supported by more than 1,000 members and is the world’s leading home for collaboration on open source software, open standards, open data, and open hardware. Linux Foundation’s projects are critical to the world’s infrastructure including Linux, Kubernetes, Node.js, and more.  The Linux Foundation’s methodology focuses on leveraging best practices and addressing the needs of contributors, users and solution providers to create sustainable models for open collaboration. For more information, please visit us at linuxfoundation.org.