Installing kraft

To get started, please install the kraft command-line client which is used for defining, configuring, building, and running Unikraft applications. Installation can be performed in a number of different ways depending on your preferences or system requirements.



  • Debian Buster (10)
  • Debian Stretch (9)
  • Ubuntu Focal (20.04) LTS
  • Ubuntu Bionic (18.04) LTS
  • Ubuntu Xenial (16.04) LTS

Installation Instructions

The process for installing kraft on Debian or Ubuntu is straight forward and we recommend using our hosted APT managed repository to access the latest updates.

  1. Update the APT package index and install packages to allow APT to use a repository over HTTPS:

    $ sudo apt install \
        apt-transport-https \
        ca-certificates \
        software-properties-common \
        curl \
  2. Add the Linux-distribution GPG key:

    $ curl -fsSL | sudo apt-key add -
  3. Verify that you now have the key with the following fingerprint:

    $ apt-key fingerprint 8D14C246
    pub   rsa4096 2020-10-22 [SC] [expires: 2024-10-22]
        DCE2 072B 5FAE 29BF F78C  9AED 5989 A47D 8D14 C246
    uid           [ unknown] Unikraft <[email protected]>
    uid           [ unknown] Unikraft Monkey <[email protected]>
    sub   rsa4096 2020-10-22 [E] [expires: 2024-10-22]
  4. Add the remote repository by using the following command for Debian:

    $ sudo add-apt-repository \
        "deb [arch=amd64] \
        $(lsb_release -cs) \

    Or, for Ubuntu:

    $ sudo add-apt-repository \
        "deb [arch=amd64] \
        $(lsb_release -cs) \
  5. Update the APT package index on your machine and install unikraft-tools:

    $ sudo apt-get update
    $ sudo apt-get install unikraft-tools

    This will install kraft along with additional packages required to build a Unikraft unikernel, including gcc, make, etc.


You can use the container environment for kraft if you do not wish to install all the dependencies which are required for building Unikraft unikernels. Typically, this includes gcc, make and friends in order to compile a unikernel application as well as hypervisor toolchain, such as qemu-system-x86 in order to instantiate the unikernel itself.

To quickly get started with a known working environment, you can use the kraft Docker environment, which can be a good starting ground and workspace.


Ensure that Docker has been installed on your machine.

Installation Instructions

To simply get started, attach a workspace as a volume to the kraft container image like so:

$ docker run -it --rm \
    -v $(pwd):/usr/src/unikraft \
    --entrypoint bash

This will attach you to a new workspace environment where you can begin using kraft. There are two versions of the kraft Docker environment, with the following tags:

  • unikraft/kraft:staging contains the latest staging version of kraft and is continiously updated with new commits to this branch; and,
  • unikraft/kraft:latest which contains the latest stable version of kraft.

It is possible to launch Unikraft unikernels via this container environment by mounting the correct paths to your VMM sockets. For example, with KVM and QEMU you can launch the container environment like so:

$ docker run -it --rm \
    -v $(pwd):/usr/src/unikraft \
    --device /dev/kvm
    --entrypoint bash

With pip

To install kraft manually using the python toolchain, you can do this easily too by specifying the install location of the repository from GitHub:

pip3 install git+

Install to hack

If you have found a bug, issue or wish to extend the kraft codebase, then simply clone the repository and install kraft in “edit mode”:

git clone
pip3 install -e ./kraft

More information about kraft’s internal build system can be found by running make help within the repository:

Usage: [FLAGS=...] make TARGET

  kraft's build system is designed to help package, test and release the
  unikraft-tools software suite.  To find out more information about a specfic
  target listed below, use:

    make help TARGET

  If you are trying to install kraft, please refer to our getting started
  guide:  If you are a developer wishing
  to make changes to kraft, please refer to the document
  located in this repository.

General targets:
  install                  Install kraft and other unikraft tools.
  clean                    Clean build artifacts excluding packages.
  properclean              Clean everything.
  get-version              Show the current version of the application.
  help                     Show this help menu.

Developer targets:
  release-commit           Commit and tag a release to the repository.
  changelog                Produce a changelog based on the git log.
  bump                     Increment kraft's release version in the source

Docker container build targets:
  docker-gcc               Build gcc and binutils in Docker container.
  docker-qemu              Build qemu in a Docker container.
  docker-kraft             Build the kraft Docker container.
  docker-linuxk            Build the Linux kernel in a container.
  docker-pkg-deb           Build a Debian-based packaging environment.
  docker-pkg-deb-all       Build all Deban-based packaging environments.

Packaging targets:
  sdist                    Produce a distributable tarball of the source tree.
  pkg-deb                  Produce a Debian-based package.

Test targets:
  test                     Run all test targets.
  test-all                 Alias for 'make test'.
  test-lint                Perform a syntax check on kraft.
  test-pkg                 Test the installation of kraft packages.
  test-unit                Run all defined unit tests.
  test-coverage            Generate a coverage report.
  test-docker-pkg-deb      Test the installation of a Debian-based package.
  test-docker-pkg-deb-all  Test the installation of all Debian-based packages.

Docker proxy:
  Some targets are automatically proxied via a Docker container so as to
  ensure consistency between runtime environments.  To turn off proxying
  targets via Docker, ensure that requirements-dev.txt has been satisfied then
  simply unset the DOCKER variable, for example:

    DOCKER= make test

  For help using this tool, please open an issue on the Github repository: or send an email to our maling list:
  <[email protected]>.