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qemu w/o libvirt: qemu-init

Important: the qemu-init homepage provides now all documentation and additional info.

Recently ;-) I moved from VirtualBox to qemu. During this I have had to find a way how to control the virtual machines. Most of them are “headless” and accessible via  ssh only. I gave the quasi standard libvirt a try. But quickly I decided this couldn't be the solution to me for several reasons. It forced me to think about how I can handle the VM's along an alternative way using standard tools. First I have had a look at the


  • running headless VM's (background)
  • using bridged networking with tap devices
  • start/stop VM's cleanly at (re)boot/shutdown
  • manage VM's with qemu monitor through telnet (from localhost only)

A webinterface like phpVirtualBox would be welcome, but that's a nice-to-have feature. ;-)

As this wasn't the first time that such requirement comes up I used an existing concept of me:

  • all stuff that belongs to one VM have to be inside one folder
  • files which belongs together should have MUST have a unique identifier
  • use a main init script to control individual VM's

Additional I decided to use the qemu config dir - usually  /etc/qemu - for config files and stuff shared among virtual machines. The default location for the executables is [mm]/usr/local/sbin [/m.]. As it is may be interesting to others I did create the

qemu-init package

Even if it could partially do so, qemu-init is not intended as a full replacement of libvirt. Anyway, I think it follows consequent the KISS principle and could be used for the most required tasks easily.

Download:  qemu-init-latest  (sha256sum)



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