D Bare Bones

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This tutorial needs to explain what the code does as tutorials are not just copy paste. You can help out by editing this page to include more context to what the code does.

WAIT! Have you read Getting Started, Beginner Mistakes, and some of the related OS theory?

Difficulty level
Difficulty 1.png
Kernel Designs
Other Concepts

In this Tutorial we will write a kernel in the D language and boot it.



The following tutorial assumes basic knowledge of a compiler, linker and assembler toolchain. It also of course assumes prior knowledge of the D programming language.


In this tutorial we will create a simple D kernel that prints 'D' on to the screen. The basic setup will consist of three files:

  • start.asm
  • kernel.main.d
  • linker.ld


global start
extern main        ; Allow main() to be called from the assembly code
extern start_ctors, end_ctors, start_dtors, end_dtors
MODULEALIGN        equ        1<<0
MEMINFO            equ        1<<1
FLAGS              equ        MODULEALIGN | MEMINFO
MAGIC              equ        0x1BADB002
CHECKSUM           equ        -(MAGIC + FLAGS)
section .text      ; Next is the Grub Multiboot Header
align 4
       dd MAGIC
       dd FLAGS
       dd CHECKSUM
STACKSIZE equ 0x4000  ; 16 KiB if you're wondering
   mov ebx, start_ctors
   jmp .test
   call [ebx]
   add ebx,4
   cmp ebx, end_ctors
   jb .body
       mov esp, STACKSIZE+stack
       push eax
       push ebx
       call main
   mov ebx, start_dtors
   jmp .test
   call [ebx]
   add ebx,4
   cmp ebx, end_dtors
   jb .body
       jmp cpuhalt
section .bss
align 32
      resb      STACKSIZE

Assemble that with:

nasm -f elf -o start.o start.asm


module kernel.main;
import core.bitop; // will be core.volatile in later gdc
extern(C) void main(uint magic, uint addr) {
    int ypos = 0; //Starting points of the cursor
	int xpos = 0;
	const uint COLUMNS = 80; //Screensize
	const uint LINES = 25;
	ubyte* vidmem = cast(ubyte*)0xFFFF_8000_000B_8000; //Video memory address
	for (int i = 0; i < COLUMNS * LINES * 2; i++) { //Loops through the screen and clears it
			volatileStore(vidmem + i, 0);
	volatileStore(vidmem + (xpos + ypos * COLUMNS) * 2, 'D' & 0xFF); //Prints the letter D
	volatileStore(vidmem + (xpos + ypos * COLUMNS) * 2 + 1, 0x07); //Sets the colour for D to be light grey (0x07)
	for (;;) { //Loop forever. You can add your kernel logic here

You then compile that with:

gdc -fno-druntime -m32 -c kernel.main.d -o kernel.main.o -g


ENTRY (start)
    . = 0x00100000;
    .text :{
        code = .; _code = .; __code = .;
    .rodata ALIGN (0x1000) : {
    .data ALIGN (0x1000) : {
        data = .; _data = .; __data = .;
        start_ctors = .; *(.ctors)   end_ctors = .;
        start_dtors = .; *(.dtors)   end_dtors = .;
    .bss : {
        sbss = .;
        bss = .; _bss = .; __bss = .;
        ebss = .;
    end = .; _end = .; __end = .;

Now finally you can link all of that with:

ld -melf_i386 -T linker.ld -o kernel.bin start.o kernel.main.o

Your kernel is now kernel.bin, and can now be booted by grub, or run in qemu:

qemu-system-i386 -kernel kernel.bin

Note the "-fno-druntime" argument above. This is how gdc spells the -betterC flag from other D compilers, and the "Better C" page of the D language reference explains how this limits the language. If you want to drop that you'll have to add the D runtime to your kernel.

Hopefully this has gotten you started on writing your operating system in the D programming language.

Further reading

D BareBone with 64 bit and ldc2

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