Department of Computer Science and Technology

Technical reports

Capability Hardware Enhanced RISC Instructions: CHERI User’s guide

Robert N.M. Watson, David Chisnall, Brooks Davis, Wojciech Koszek, Simon W. Moore, Steven J. Murdoch, Peter G. Neumann, Jonathan Woodruff

April 2014, 26 pages

Sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), under contract FA8750-10-C-0237 (“CTSRD”) as part of the DARPA CRASH research program. The views, opinions, and/or findings contained in this report are those of the authors and should not be interpreted as representing the official views or policies, either expressed or implied, of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency or the Department of Defense.

DOI: 10.48456/tr-851


The CHERI User’s Guide documents the software environment for the Capability Hardware Enhanced RISC Instructions (CHERI) prototype developed by SRI International and the University of Cambridge. The User’s Guide is targeted at hardware and software developers working with capability-enhanced software. It describes the CheriBSD operating system, a version of the FreeBSD operating system that has been adapted to support userspace capability systems via the CHERI ISA, and the CHERI Clang/LLVM compiler suite. It also describes the earlier Deimos demonstration microkernel.

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BibTeX record

  author =	 {Watson, Robert N.M. and Chisnall, David and Davis, Brooks
          	  and Koszek, Wojciech and Moore, Simon W. and Murdoch,
          	  Steven J. and Neumann, Peter G. and Woodruff, Jonathan},
  title = 	 {{Capability Hardware Enhanced RISC Instructions: CHERI
         	   User's guide}},
  year = 	 2014,
  month = 	 apr,
  url = 	 {},
  institution =  {University of Cambridge, Computer Laboratory},
  doi = 	 {10.48456/tr-851},
  number = 	 {UCAM-CL-TR-851}