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Running Zephyr in DLME

In addition to conducting the theoretical analysis, it was decided to include a test report of one of the operating systems in order to verify the information presented. The choice fell on Zephyr.

Running DLME requires GRUB from TrenchBoot as mainline doesn't have DLME support. Currently, there is an ongoing discussion how TrenchBoot should be integrated into Linux - see the following links:

Unless this is solved no investment in TrenchBoot GRUB2 implementation would be made. During PoC we use GRUB from here. To reproduce PoC results please follow the instructions below.

  • Clone GRUB source.
$ git clone --branch tb_xen
  • Prepare container for building GRUB.
$ cd grub
$ docker run --rm -it -v $(readlink -f ..):$(readlink -f ..) -w $PWD ubuntu:18.04
(docker)$ apt update
(docker)$ apt install gcc-5 automake autoconf make git gettext autopoint \
    pkg-config python bison flex
  • Build GRUB (execute from container while in GRUB directory).
(docker)$ ./bootstrap
(docker)$ mkdir ../grub-install build
(docker)$ cd build
(docker)$ env CC=gcc-5 CFLAGS=-Wno-error=vla ../configure --prefix=$(readlink -f ../../grub-install)
(docker)$ make -j$(nproc)
(docker)$ make install
  • Exit container and prepare boot disk by creating MBR + FAT32 partition
$ sudo fdisk /dev/disk/by-id/usb-TS-RDF5_SD_Transcend_000000000039-0\:0 <<EOF


$ sudo mkfs.vfat -F32 /dev/disk/by-id/usb-TS-RDF5_SD_Transcend_000000000039-0\:0-part1
  • Install GRUB onto target device, this will put a complete GRUB into target device, including MBR, GRUB, and its modules.
$ sudo mkdir /mnt/boot
$ sudo mount /dev/disk/by-id/usb-TS-RDF5_SD_Transcend_000000000039-0\:0-part1 /mnt/boot
$ cd grub-install
$ sudo sbin/grub-install --target=i386-pc --modules "part_msdos fat" \
    --boot-directory=/mnt/boot \
  • Build SKL (Secure Kernel Loader) from TrenchBoot and copy it to boot partition.
$ git clone
$ cd secure-kernel-loader
$ make
$ cp skl.bin /mnt/boot/

Setup Zephyr build environment. Instructions below are based on Zephyr Getting Started Guide.

  • Install required packages, Ubuntu has too old packages so we have to use KitWare repo.
$ wget
$ sudo bash
$ sudo apt install --no-install-recommends git cmake ninja-build gperf \
  ccache dfu-util device-tree-compiler wget \
  python3-dev python3-pip python3-setuptools python3-tk python3-wheel xz-utils file \
  make gcc gcc-multilib g++-multilib libsdl2-dev python3-venv
$ pip3 install --user -U west
  • Obtain Zephyr toolchain.
$ wget
$ tar xf zephyr-sdk-0.14.1_linux-x86_64.tar.gz -C ~/.local
$ rm zephyr-sdk-0.14.1_linux-x86_64.tar.gz
$ ~/.local/zephyr-sdk-0.14.1/ -c
  • Fetch Zephyr source code.
$ west init zephyr
$ cd zephyr
$ west update
  • Install required packages, use virtual environment to avoid conflict with user/system packages.
$ python3 -m venv .env
$ pip3 install -r zephyr/scripts/requirements.txt
  • Build Zephyr, we use QEMU as the target, but it works on APU (without DLME).
$ cd zephyr
$ west build -p auto -b qemu_x86_64 samples/userspace/hello_world_user/
$ sudo cp build/zephyr/zephyr.elf /mnt/boot/
  • Configure GRUB, create '/mnt/boot/grub/grub.cfg` with the following contents.
default 0
menuentry "Zephyr (DLME)" {
  slaunch skinit
  slaunch_module /skl.bin
  multiboot /zephyr.elf
menuentry "Zephyr (no DLME)" {
  multiboot /zephyr.elf
  • Umount disk and sync before unplugging it.

    There were some problems with obtaining working binary, so before booting Zephyr on target platform please check whether it boots in QEMU (without DLME). When booting Zephyr you should see Hello World message on serial console, if Zephyr doesn't output anything or if it stuck at Booting Zephyr message then something went wrong.

$ qemu-system-x86_64 -nographic -serial mon:stdio -m 512M -cpu qemu64 \
  -drive format=raw,file=/dev/disk/by-id/usb-TS-RDF5_SD_Transcend_000000000039-0\:0
  • Zephyr should normally boot on APU, if DLME variant (from boot menu) is used Zephyr will also boot normally - that is because TrenchBoot GRUB executes SKL only when using Multiboot2 but Zephyr has support only for Multiboot1.

  • Booting Zephyr in DLME would require extending it with Multiboot2 support.