bootloader 0.5.3

An experimental pure-Rust x86 bootloader.


Build Status Join the chat at

An experimental x86 bootloader written in Rust and inline assembly.

Written for the second edition of the Writing an OS in Rust series.




You need a nightly Rust compiler and cargo xbuild. You also need the llvm-tools-preview component, which can be installed through rustup component add llvm-tools-preview.


The simplest way to use the bootloader is in combination with the bootimage tool. With the tool installed, you can add a normal cargo dependency on the bootloader crate to your kernel and then run bootimage build to create a bootable disk image. You can also execute bootimage run to run your kernel in QEMU (needs to be installed).

To compile the bootloader manually, you need to invoke cargo xbuild with a KERNEL environment variable that points to your kernel executable (in the ELF format):

KERNEL=/path/to/your/kernel/target/debug/your_kernel cargo xbuild

As an example, you can build the bootloader with example kernel from the example-kernel directory with the following commands:

cd example-kernel
cargo xbuild
cd ..
KERNEL=example-kernel/target/x86_64-example-kernel/debug/example-kernel cargo xbuild --release

This results in a bootloader executable at target/x86_64-bootloader.json/release/bootloader. This executable is still an ELF file, which can't be run directly.


To run the compiled bootloader executable, you need to convert it to a binary file. You can use the llvm-objcopy tools that ships with the llvm-tools-preview rustup component. The easiest way to use this tool is using cargo-binutils, which can be installed through cargo install cargo-binutils. Then you can perform the conversion with the following command:

cargo objcopy -- -I elf64-x86-64 -O binary --binary-architecture=i386:x86-64 \
  target/x86_64-bootloader/release/bootloader target/x86_64-bootloader/release/bootloader.bin

You can run the bootloader.bin file using QEMU:

qemu-system-x86_64 -drive format=raw,file=target/x86_64-bootloader/release/bootloader.bin

Or burn it to an USB drive to boot it on real hardware:

dd if=target/x86_64-bootloader/release/bootloader.bin of=/dev/sdX && sync

Where sdX is the device name of your USB stick. Be careful to choose the correct device name, because everything on that device is overwritten.


The bootloader crate can be configured through some cargo features:

  • vga_320x200: This feature switches the VGA hardware to mode 0x13, a graphics mode with resolution 320x200 and 256 colors per pixel. The framebuffer is linear and lives at address 0xa0000.
  • recursive_page_table: Maps the level 4 page table recursively and adds the recursive_page_table_address field to the passed BootInfo.
  • map_physical_memory: Maps the complete physical memory in the virtual address space and passes a physical_memory_offset field in the BootInfo.


Licensed under either of

at your option.

Unless you explicitly state otherwise, any contribution intentionally submitted for inclusion in the work by you, as defined in the Apache-2.0 license, shall be dual licensed as above, without any additional terms or conditions.