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RISC-V Open Source Supervisor Binary Interface (OpenSBI)

The OpenSBI project is copyright (c) 2019 Western Digital Corporation
or its affiliates and other contributors.

It is distributed under the terms of the BSD 2-clause license
("Simplified BSD License" or "FreeBSD License", SPDX: BSD-2-Clause).
A copy of this license with OpenSBI copyright can be found in the file

All source files in OpenSBI contain the 2-Clause BSD license SPDX short
identifier in place of the full license text.

SPDX-License-Identifier:    BSD-2-Clause

This enables machine processing of license information based on the SPDX
License Identifiers that are available on the SPDX web site.

OpenSBI source code also contains code reused from other projects as listed
below. The original license text of these projects is included in the source
files where the reused code is present.

  • The libfdt source code is disjunctively dual licensed
    (GPL-2.0+ OR BSD-2-Clause). Some of this project code is used in OpenSBI
    under the terms of the BSD 2-Clause license. Any contributions to this
    code must be made under the terms of both licenses.

See also the third party notices file for more information.


The RISC-V Supervisor Binary Interface (SBI) is the recommended interface

  1. A platform-specific firmware running in M-mode and a bootloader, a
    hypervisor or a general-purpose OS executing in S-mode or HS-mode.
  2. A hypervisor running in HS-mode and a bootloader or a general-purpose OS
    executing in VS-mode.

The RISC-V SBI specification is maintained as an independent project by the
RISC-V Foundation on Github.

The goal of the OpenSBI project is to provide an open-source reference
implementation of the RISC-V SBI specifications for platform-specific firmwares
executing in M-mode (case 1 mentioned above). An OpenSBI implementation can be
easily extended by RISC-V platform and system-on-chip vendors to fit a
particular hardware configuration.

The main component of OpenSBI is provided in the form of a platform-independent
static library libsbi.a implementing the SBI interface. A firmware or
bootloader implementation can link against this library to ensure conformance
with the SBI interface specifications. libsbi.a also defines an interface for
integrating with platform-specific operations provided by the platform firmware
implementation (e.g. console access functions, inter-processor interrupt
control, etc).

To illustrate the use of the libsbi.a library, OpenSBI also provides a set of
platform-specific support examples. For each example, a platform-specific
static library libplatsbi.a can be compiled. This library implements
SBI call processing by integrating libsbi.a with the necessary
platform-dependent hardware manipulation functions. For all supported platforms,
OpenSBI also provides several runtime firmware examples built using the platform
libplatsbi.a. These example firmwares can be used to replace the legacy
riscv-pk bootloader (aka BBL) and enable the use of well-known bootloaders
such as U-Boot.

Supported SBI version

Currently, OpenSBI fully supports SBI specification v0.2. OpenSBI also
supports Hart State Management (HSM) SBI extension starting from OpenSBI v0.7.
HSM extension allows S-mode software to boot all the harts a defined order
rather than legacy method of random booting of harts. As a result, many
required features such as CPU hotplug, kexec/kdump can also be supported easily
in S-mode. HSM extension in OpenSBI is implemented in a non-backward compatible
manner to reduce the maintenance burden and avoid confusion. That's why, any
S-mode software using OpenSBI will not be able to boot more than 1 hart if HSM
extension is not supported in S-mode.

Linux kernel already supports SBI v0.2 and HSM SBI extension starting from
v5.7-rc1. If you are using an Linux kernel older than 5.7-rc1 or any
other S-mode software without HSM SBI extension, you should stick to OpenSBI
v0.6 to boot all the harts. For a UMP systems, it doesn't matter.

N.B. Any S-mode boot loader (i.e. U-Boot) doesn't need to support HSM extension,
as it doesn't need to boot all the harts. The operating system should be
capable enough to bring up all other non-booting harts using HSM extension.

Required Toolchain and Packages

OpenSBI can be compiled natively or cross-compiled on a x86 host. For
cross-compilation, you can build your own toolchain, download a prebuilt one
from the Bootlin toolchain repository or install a distribution-provided
toolchain; if you opt to use LLVM/Clang, most distribution toolchains will
support cross-compiling for RISC-V using the same toolchain as your native
LLVM/Clang toolchain due to LLVM's ability to support multiple backends in the
same binary, so is often an easy way to obtain a working cross-compilation

Basically, we prefer toolchains with Position Independent Executable (PIE)
support like riscv64-linux-gnu-gcc, riscv64-unknown-freebsd-gcc, or
Clang/LLVM as they generate PIE firmware images that can run at arbitrary
address with appropriate alignment. If a bare-metal GNU toolchain (e.g.
riscv64-unknown-elf-gcc) is used, static linked firmware images are
generated instead. Clang/LLVM can still generate PIE images if a bare-metal
triple is used (e.g. -target riscv64-unknown-elf).

Please note that only a 64-bit version of the toolchain is available in
the Bootlin toolchain repository for now.

In addition to a toolchain, OpenSBI also requires the following packages on
the host:

  1. device-tree-compiler: The device tree compiler for compiling device
    tree sources (DTS files).
  2. python3: The python 3.0 (or compatible) language support for various

Building and Installing the OpenSBI Platform-Independent Library

The OpenSBI platform-independent static library libsbi.a can be compiled
natively or it can be cross-compiled on a host with a different base
architecture than RISC-V.

For cross-compiling, the environment variable CROSS_COMPILE must be defined
to specify the name prefix of the RISC-V compiler toolchain executables, e.g.
riscv64-linux-gnu- if the gcc executable used is riscv64-linux-gnu-gcc.

To build libsbi.a simply execute:


All compiled binaries as well as the resulting libsbi.a static library file
will be placed in the build/lib directory. To specify an alternate build root
directory path, run:

make O=<build_directory>

To generate files to be installed for using libsbi.a in other projects, run:

make install

This will create the install directory with all necessary include files
copied under the install/include directory and the library file copied into
the install/lib directory. To specify an alternate installation root
directory path, run:

make I=<install_directory> install

Building and Installing a Reference Platform Static Library and Firmware

When the PLATFORM=<platform_subdir> argument is specified on the make command
line, the platform-specific static library libplatsbi.a and firmware examples
are built for the platform <platform_subdir> present in the directory
platform in the OpenSBI top directory. For example, to compile the platform
library and the firmware examples for the QEMU RISC-V virt machine,
<platform_subdir> should be generic.

To build libsbi.a, libplatsbi.a and the firmware for one of the supported
platforms, run:

make PLATFORM=<platform_subdir>

An alternate build directory path can also be specified:

make PLATFORM=<platform_subdir> O=<build_directory>

The platform-specific library libplatsbi.a will be generated in the
build/platform/<platform_subdir>/lib directory. The platform firmware files
will be under the build/platform/<platform_subdir>/firmware directory.
The compiled firmwares will be available in two different formats: an ELF file
and an expanded image file.

To install libsbi.a, libplatsbi.a, and the compiled firmwares, run:

make PLATFORM=<platform_subdir> install

This will copy the compiled platform-specific libraries and firmware files
under the install/platform/<platform_subdir>/ directory. An alternate
install root directory path can be specified as follows:

make PLATFORM=<platform_subdir> I=<install_directory> install

In addition, platform-specific configuration options can be specified with the
top-level make command line. These options, such as PLATFORM_ or
FW_, are platform-specific and described in more details in the
docs/platform/<platform_name>.md files and
docs/firmware/<firmware_name>.md files.

All OpenSBI platforms support Kconfig style build-time configuration. Users
can change the build-time configuration of a platform using a graphical
interface as follows:

make PLATFORM=<platform_subdir> menuconfig

Alternately, an OpenSBI platform can have multiple default configurations
and users can select a custom default configuration as follows:

make PLATFORM=<platform_subdir> PLATFORM_DEFCONFIG=<platform_custom_defconfig>

Building 32-bit / 64-bit OpenSBI Images

By default, building OpenSBI generates 32-bit or 64-bit images based on the
supplied RISC-V cross-compile toolchain. For example if CROSS_COMPILE is set
to riscv64-linux-gnu-, 64-bit OpenSBI images will be generated. If building
32-bit OpenSBI images, CROSS_COMPILE should be set to a toolchain that is
pre-configured to generate 32-bit RISC-V codes, like riscv32-linux-gnu-.

However it's possible to explicitly specify the image bits we want to build with
a given RISC-V toolchain. This can be done by setting the environment variable
PLATFORM_RISCV_XLEN to the desired width, for example:

export CROSS_COMPILE=riscv64-linux-gnu-

will generate 32-bit OpenSBI images. And vice vesa.

Building with Clang/LLVM

OpenSBI can also be built with Clang/LLVM. To build with just Clang but keep
the default binutils (which will still use the CROSS_COMPILE prefix if
defined), override the CC make variable with:

make CC=clang

To build with a full LLVM-based toolchain, not just Clang, enable the LLVM
option with:

make LLVM=1

When using Clang, CROSS_COMPILE often does not need to be defined unless
using GNU binutils with prefixed binary names. PLATFORM_RISCV_XLEN will be
used to infer a default triple to pass to Clang, so if PLATFORM_RISCV_XLEN
itself defaults to an undesired value then prefer setting that rather than the
full triple via CROSS_COMPILE. If CROSS_COMPILE is nonetheless defined,
rather than being used as a prefix for the executable name, it will instead be
passed via the --target option with the trailing - removed, so must be a
valid triple.

These can also be mixed; for example using a GCC cross-compiler but LLVM
binutils would be:

make CC=riscv64-linux-gnu-gcc LLVM=1

These variables must be passed for all the make invocations described in this

NOTE: Using Clang with a riscv*-linux-gnu GNU binutils linker has been seen
to produce broken binaries with missing relocations; it is therefore currently
recommended that this combination be avoided or FW_PIC=n be used to disable
building OpenSBI as a position-independent binary.

Building with timestamp and compiler info

When doing development, we may want to know the build time and compiler info
for debug purpose. OpenSBI can also be built with timestamp and compiler info.
To build with those info and print it out at boot time, we can just simply add
BUILD_INFO=y, like:


But if you have used BUILD_INFO=y, and want to switch back to BUILD_INFO=n,
you must do

make clean

before the next build.

NOTE: Using BUILD_INFO=y without specifying SOURCE_DATE_EPOCH will violate
reproducible builds. This definition is ONLY for development and debug
purpose, and should NOT be used in a product which follows "reproducible

Contributing to OpenSBI

The OpenSBI project encourages and welcomes contributions. Contributions should
follow the rules described in the OpenSBI Contribution Guideline document.
In particular, all patches sent should contain a Signed-off-by tag.

The Contributors List document provides a list of individuals and
organizations actively contributing to the OpenSBI project.


Detailed documentation of various aspects of OpenSBI can be found under the
docs directory. The documentation covers the following topics.

OpenSBI source code is also well documented. For source level documentation,
doxygen style is used. Please refer to the Doxygen manual for details on this

Doxygen can be installed on Linux distributions using .deb packages using
the following command.

sudo apt-get install doxygen doxygen-latex doxygen-doc doxygen-gui graphviz

For .rpm based Linux distributions, the following commands can be used.

sudo yum install doxygen doxygen-latex doxywizard graphviz


sudo yum install doxygen doxygen-latex doxywizard graphviz

To build a consolidated refman.pdf of all documentation, run:

make docs


make O=<build_directory> docs

the resulting refman.pdf will be available under the directory
<build_directory>/docs/latex. To install this file, run:

make install_docs


make I=<install_directory> install_docs

refman.pdf will be installed under <install_directory>/docs.