There are two sets of dependencies required for the development process: build and run dependencies. We typically build, develop and test using the latest Ubuntu LTS version and run nrk in QEMU. Other Linux systems will probably work but might require a manual installation of all dependencies. Other operating systems likely won't work out of the box without some adjustments for code and the build-process.

Check-out the source tree

Check out the nrk sources first:

git clone <repo-url>
cd nrk

The repository is structured using git submodules. You'll have to initialize and check-out the submodules separately:

In case you don't have the SSH key of your machine registered with a github account, you need to convert all submodule URLs to use the https protocol instead of SSH, to do so run this sed script before proceeding:

sed -i'' -e 's/\/\/\//' .gitmodules

git submodule update --init


If you want to build without Docker, you can install both build and run dependencies by executing in the root of the repository directly on your machine (this requires the latest Ubuntu LTS). The script will install all required OS packages, install Rust using rustup and some additional rust programs and dependencies.

The build dependencies can be divided into these categories

  • Rust (nightly) and the rust-src component for compiling the OS
  • python3 (and some python libraries) to execute the build and run script
  • Test dependencies (qemu, corealloc, dhcpd, redis-benchmark, socat, graphviz etc.)
  • Rumpkernel dependencies (gcc, zlib1g etc.)
  • Build for documentation (mdbook)

See scripts/ function install_build_dependencies for details.

Use Docker

We provide scripts to create a docker image which contains all build dependencies already.

To use Docker, it needs to be installed in your system. On Ubuntu execute the following steps:

sudo apt install
sudo service docker restart
sudo addgroup $USER docker
newgrp docker

To create the image execute the following command in the /scripts directory.

bash ./

This will create the docker image and start the container. You will be dropped into a shell running inside the Docker container. You can build the OS as if you had installed the dependencies natively.

The script will create a user inside the docker container that corresponds to the user on the host system (same username and user ID).

You can rebuild the image with:

bash ./ force-build

To exit the container, just type exit to terminate the shell.

Build without running

To just build the OS invoke the script (in the kernel directory) with the -n parameter (no-run flag).

python3 kernel/ -n

If you want to run the build in a docker container, run bash ./scripts/ beforehand. The source directory tree will be mounted in the docker container in /source.