#fdt #device-tree

no-std vm-fdt

Crate for writing Flattened Devicetree blobs

3 releases (breaking)

0.3.0 Nov 15, 2023
0.2.0 Nov 1, 2021
0.1.0 Aug 5, 2021

#155 in Unix APIs

Download history 7467/week @ 2023-11-01 12662/week @ 2023-11-08 9874/week @ 2023-11-15 12724/week @ 2023-11-22 9492/week @ 2023-11-29 7881/week @ 2023-12-06 10231/week @ 2023-12-13 7058/week @ 2023-12-20 5348/week @ 2023-12-27 4943/week @ 2024-01-03 6743/week @ 2024-01-10 10033/week @ 2024-01-17 9844/week @ 2024-01-24 7302/week @ 2024-01-31 10304/week @ 2024-02-07 8576/week @ 2024-02-14

37,856 downloads per month
Used in dbs-boot

Apache-2.0 OR BSD-3-Clause

937 lines


The vm-fdt crate provides the ability to write Flattened Devicetree blobs as defined in the Devicetree specification.

In projects such as Crosvm and Firecracker the device tree is used to specify the virtual machine topology (memory, vcpu, caches, interrupts, and others) when booting the OS.


In vm-fdt we define and work with the following primitives:

  • FDT writer (FdtWriter),
  • nodes (FdtWriterNode), and
  • properties (defined as key-value pairs).

An FDT has one or multiple nodes, and each node can optionally have properties and child nodes, creating a tree structure.

The FdtWriter structure provides an interface suitable for dynamically generating a Devicetree blob at runtime. The supported operations are:

  1. Creating a node. This is done by calling begin_node on the FdtWriter. The call returns an object of type FdtWriterNode on which we can set properties (using the property_* functions as defined below), or add child nodes (via nested calls to begin_node). Properties for the node can only be added before creating child nodes (as defined in the specification). Each node must end with a call to the end_node function.
  2. Create properties. Properties are key-value pairs, where the key is a string, and the value is a raw bytes array. To make it easier to use, such that the caller of the FDT interface does not need to create a raw byte array, we define wrappers over common property types as follows:
  • property_null (an empty property)
  • property_string
  • property_string_list
  • property_u32
  • property_u64
  • property_array_u32
  • property_array_u64
  • property (raw byte array)

Threat Model

Input: The caller of the vm-fdt public interface is trusted.

Output: The content of the FDT blob resides in memory, and it’s trusted. The memory allocated by this crate is directly proportional with the number of nodes and properties defined by the user (through the property* and begin_node functions).

#NR Threat Mitigation
1 Due to a programming error the FDT code causes large memory allocations. The operator of the vm-fdt interface is trusted, and the memory allocations are directly proportional to the number of calls to the public FDT interface. At the vm-fdt level, the maximum size allowed for the blob is 4.3 GB. This is enforced by checking that the length of the data blob fits in an u32, and the maximum value of an u32 is 4294967295 (~4.3 GB). The caller of the vm-fdt interface can check the size of the FDT blob upon calling the finish function.
2 Passing large arrays of memory reservations when initializing the FdtWriter leads to undefined behavior. The length of the memory reservations is checked. All subsequent operations based on input are checked for overflows.
3 Passing overlapping memory reservations when initializing the FdtWriter leads to undefined behavior when loading the blob in guest memory The FDT specification explicitly defines that the memory reservation entries MUST not overlap. This is enforced by the FdtWriter, and checked in the unit tests.


The following code is creating an FDT blob with a root node that has 3 properties ("compatible", "#address-cells", and "#size-cells"), and contains 2 child nodes:

  1. "chosen", which has 2 properties ("linux,pci-probe-only" and "bootargs").
  2. "memory", which has one property ("device_type")

Below is a graphic representation of the FDT.

use vm_fdt::{FdtWriter, Error};

fn create_fdt() -> Result<Vec<u8>, Error> {
   let mut fdt = FdtWriter::new()?;

   let root_node = fdt.begin_node("root")?;
   fdt.property_string("compatible", "linux,dummy-virt")?;
   fdt.property_u32("#address-cells", 0x2)?;
   fdt.property_u32("#size-cells", 0x2)?;

   let chosen_node = fdt.begin_node("chosen")?;
   fdt.property_u32("linux,pci-probe-only", 1)?;
   fdt.property_string("bootargs", "panic=-1 console=hvc0")?;

   let memory_node = fdt.begin_node("memory")?;
   fdt.property_string("device_type", "memory")?;




This crate defines a development feature: long_running_test. This feature SHOULD NOT be used in production as it might enable functionality that is safe only for development use cases.


This project is licensed under either of