Custom libvirt config

Starting from Qubes OS R4.0, libvirt domain config is generated using jinja templates. Those templates can be overridden by the user in a couple of ways. A basic knowledge of jinja template language and libvirt xml spec is needed.

See also

Format of the domain XML in libvirt.

Template format documentation.

File paths

In order of increasing precedence: the main template, from which the config is generated is /usr/share/qubes/templates/libvirt/xen.xml). The distributor may put a file at /usr/share/qubes/templates/libvirt/xen-dist.xml) to override this file. User may put a file at either /etc/qubes/templates/libvirt/xen-user.xml or /etc/qubes/templates/libvirt/xen/by-name/<name>.xml, where <name> is full name of the domain. Wildcards are not supported but symlinks are.

Jinja has a concept of template names, which basically is the path below some load point, which in Qubes’ case is /etc/qubes/templates and /usr/share/qubes/templates. Thus names of those templates are respectively 'libvirt/xen.xml', 'libvirt/xen-dist.xml', 'libvirt/xen-user.xml' and 'libvirt/xen/by-name/<name>.xml'. This will be important later.


Those who know jinja python API will know that the abovementioned locations aren’t the only possibilities. Yes, it’s a lie, but a justified one.

What to put in the template

In principle the user may put anything in the template and there is no attempt to constrain the user from doing stupid things. One obvious thing is to copy the original config file and make changes.

<domain type="xen">
    <name>{{ }}</name>

The better way is to inherit from the original template and override any number of blocks. This is the point when we need the name of the original template.

{% extends 'libvirt/xen.xml' %}
{% block devices %}
    {{ super() }}
    <serial type='pty'>
        <target port='0'/>
{% endblock %}

{% extends %} specifies which template we inherit from. Then you may put any block by putting new content inside {% block %}{% endblock %}. {{ super() }} is substituted with original content of the block as specified in the parent template. Untouched blocks remain as they were.

The example above adds serial device.

Template API


This API is provisional and subject to change at the minor releases until further notice. No backwards compatibility is promised.



the domain object (instance of subclass of qubes.vm.qubesvm.QubesVM)


No custom filters at the moment.

Blocks in the default template


Contains <name>, <uuid>, <memory>, <currentMemory> and <vcpu> nodes.


<cpu> node.


Contents of <os> node.


Contents of <features> node.


Contains the <clock> node.


Contains <on_*> nodes.


Contents of <devices> node.