Build Status CII Best Practices

Libvirt API for virtualization

Libvirt provides a portable, long term stable C API for managing the virtualization technologies provided by many operating systems. It includes support for QEMU, KVM, Xen, LXC, bhyve, Virtuozzo, VMware vCenter and ESX, VMware Desktop, Hyper-V, VirtualBox and the POWER Hypervisor.

For some of these hypervisors, it provides a stateful management daemon which runs on the virtualization host allowing access to the API both by non-privileged local users and remote users.

Layered packages provide bindings of the libvirt C API into other languages including Python, Perl, PHP, Go, Java, OCaml, as well as mappings into object systems such as GObject, CIM and SNMP.

Further information about the libvirt project can be found on the website:


The libvirt C API is distributed under the terms of GNU Lesser General Public License, version 2.1 (or later). Some parts of the code that are not part of the C library may have the more restrictive GNU General Public License, version 2.1 (or later). See the files COPYING.LESSER and COPYING for full license terms & conditions.


Libvirt uses the GNU Autotools build system, so in general can be built and installed with the usual commands. For example, to build in a manner that is suitable for installing as root, use:

$ ./configure --prefix=/usr --sysconfdir=/etc --localstatedir=/var
$ make
$ sudo make install

While to build & install as an unprivileged user

$ ./configure --prefix=$HOME/usr
$ make
$ make install

The libvirt code relies on a large number of 3rd party libraries. These will be detected during execution of the configure script and a summary printed which lists any missing (optional) dependencies.


The libvirt project welcomes contributions in many ways. For most components the best way to contribute is to send patches to the primary development mailing list. Further guidance on this can be found on the website:


The libvirt project has two primary mailing lists:

  • (for user discussions)
  • (for development only)

Further details on contacting the project are available on the website: