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QEMU Machine Protocol
The QEMU Machine Protocol (QMP) allows applications to operate a
QEMU instance.
QMP is JSON[1] based and features the following:
- Lightweight, text-based, easy to parse data format
- Asynchronous messages support (ie. events)
- Capabilities Negotiation
For detailed information on QMP's usage, please, refer to the following files:
o qmp-spec.txt QEMU Machine Protocol current specification
o qemu-qmp-ref.html QEMU QMP commands and events (auto-generated at build-time)
You can use the -qmp option to enable QMP. For example, the following
makes QMP available on localhost port 4444:
$ qemu [...] -qmp tcp:localhost:4444,server,nowait
However, for more flexibility and to make use of more options, the -mon
command-line option should be used. For instance, the following example
creates one HMP instance (human monitor) on stdio and one QMP instance
on localhost port 4444:
$ qemu [...] -chardev stdio,id=mon0 -mon chardev=mon0,mode=readline \
-chardev socket,id=mon1,host=localhost,port=4444,server,nowait \
-mon chardev=mon1,mode=control,pretty=on
Please, refer to QEMU's manpage for more information.
Simple Testing
To manually test QMP one can connect with telnet and issue commands by hand:
$ telnet localhost 4444
Connected to localhost.
Escape character is '^]'.
"QMP": {
"version": {
"qemu": {
"micro": 0,
"minor": 0,
"major": 3
"package": "v3.0.0"
"capabilities": [
{ "execute": "qmp_capabilities" }
"return": {
{ "execute": "query-status" }
"return": {
"status": "prelaunch",
"singlestep": false,
"running": false
Please refer to docs/interop/qemu-qmp-ref.* for a complete command
reference, generated from qapi/qapi-schema.json.
QMP wiki page