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Developer(s) Community based; owned by Mandriva
Stable release 2.4.2 / November 11, 2009; 357233556 ago
Written in C++
Operating system Cross-platform
Available in English
Development status Active
Type Emulator
License GNU Lesser General Public License

Bochs (pronounced "box") is a portable x86 and x86-64 IBM PC compatible emulator and debugger mostly written in C++ and distributed as free software under GNU Lesser General Public License. It supports emulation of the processor(s) (including protected mode), memory, disks, display, Ethernet, BIOS and common hardware peripherals of PCs.

Many guest operating systems can be run using the emulator including DOS, several versions of Microsoft Windows, BSDs, Linux, Xenix, AmigaOS, Rhapsody and MorphOS. Bochs can run on many host operating systems, like Windows, Windows Mobile, Linux and Mac OS X.

Bochs is mostly used for operating system development (when an emulated operating system crashes, it does not crash the host operating system, so the emulated OS can be debugged) and to run other guest operating systems inside already running host operating systems. It can also be used to run older software – such as PC games – which will not run on non-compatible, or too fast computers.



Bochs started as a program with a commercial license, at the price of 25 USD, for use as-is. If a user needed to link it to other software, that user would have to negotiate a special license. That changed on 22 March 2000, when Mandrakesoft (now Mandriva) bought Bochs from lead-developer Kevin Lawton and released it for Linux under the GNU Lesser General Public License[1].


Bochs can emulate the hardware needed by the guest operating system, including hard drives, CD drives, and floppy drives. Disk and ISO images can be "inserted" while the system is being run. However, the system performance is very slow because it is only emulated. It doesn't provide any CPU virtualization features. However, it is useful for capturing screen shots in researching old DOS software. Bochs is widely used for hobbyist OS developing, as it saves the need for constant system restarts (to test code). Bochs is also convenient for OS developers because it has error reporting and dump files that other emulators may lack.

Emulated hardware

Class Device
Video card Cirrus Logic CL-GD5430 ISA
Cirrus Logic CL-GD5446 PCI
Sound card Sound Blaster 16 card (ISA, no plug&play)
Ethernet network card NE2000 Ethernet [2]
Chipset Intel 440FX PCI. Host-to-PCI bridge (PMC/DBX), PCI-to-ISA bridge, PCI IDE controller (PIIX3) are available. For PCI cards there are 5 PCI slots.
USB Root hub and the devices mouse, tablet, keypad, disk.
SMP Can simulate up to 8 CPUs.
Enhanced BIOS ElTorito, EDD v3.0, basic APM, PCIBIOS features, PCI interrupt routing table. 32-bit init for ACPI, SMM and SMP.

See also


  1. "MandrakeSoft buys Bochs for Linux and commits it to Open Source". 
  2. "Features".  090427

External links

de:Bochs es:BOCHS fr:Bochs ko:Bochs it:Bochs ja:Bochs pl:Bochs pt:Bochs ru:Bochs sv:Bochs zh:Bochs

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