vmdebootstrap for creation of live images
Role of vmdebootstrap
``vmdebootstrap`` is limited to the role of generating the rootfs for
the live image - the architecture-specific part. ``vmdebootstrap`` then
copies the kernel files out of the rootfs and runs ``mksquashfs``.
The files in the directory specified by the ``--squash`` option are not
themselves sufficient to create a live image. Remaining steps include
configuration of grub and EFI, addition of other components (like a menu
or Debian Installer) and packaging up into a isohybrid image.
vmdebootstrap has explicit support for foreign architecture
bootstraps using qemu static binformat handling as well as
support for Debian releases from wheezy onwards.
* This is **not** intended to provide support for all packages
in the Debian archive. Some packages do not install correctly
with binfmt handling and ``vmdebootstrap`` should be run natively
when the package list is to include these packages.
Whether to use the binfmt_handler or build natively depends on:
#. the availability of a working default kernel for the images
built for that architecture and how to configure the bootloader(s) to
provide the relevant dtb where needed.
#. the complexity of the package set and compatibility with configuring
those packages using qemu-user. Some packages fail if the emulator
cannot provide threading support or other mechanisms - package sets
with such requirements would need to be built natively. Test with a
smaller package set where possible.
vmdebootstrap can support adding specific packages but a
simpler approach is to use the existing task-* packages and
only add packages manually where explicitly needed for a live
image, using the ``live-support`` package.
Running vmdebootstrap for debian-cd
debian-cd runs vmdebootstrap inside a VM in a similar manner to
how debian-live currently operates, as both debian-live and
vmdebootstrap need to call debootstrap which involves making
device nodes and needs to run as root. This outer VM is specific
for the release of Debian being built. vmdebootstrap can build
older releases and it may be necessary to use a newer version of
vmdebootstrap than is present in jessie to build jessie and to
use that version to build wheezy.
Remember to use ``http://cdbuilder.debian.org/debian/`` for the bootstrap
operations (--mirror option) and ``http://httpredir.debian.org/debian`` for
the mirror to be used after the image has booted (--apt-mirror option).
Ensure that a user is created (``--user 'user/live'``) and that ``sudo`` is
added to the set of packages to install and the --sudo option is passed
to vmdebootstrap to ensure that the user is added to the sudo group. The
root user password should also be locked (--lock-root-password).
* Consider using a blank password and enforcing a password to be set
upon login for those images which can support this.
``mksquashfs`` can fail without indication of why and when it does, the image
file can be 4Kb or so of junk. ``vmdebootstrap`` will fail if the
squashfs output is less than 1MB. This can occur if the drive runs
out of space but squashfs does not report an error.
vmdebootstrap uses a single config file per image type and each
config file can have a single customisation script. The config
file specifies the architecture of the image and the binformat
handler for that architecture (if used), so the customisation hook
script can be architecture-specific.
Customisation hook scripts are shell scripts which will be passed
a single parameter - the directory which represents the root
directory of the final image. These scripts can use standard shell
support to include other common functions or call out to utilities
known to be installed in the outer VM running vmdebootstrap.
Customisation hooks clearly need to live in a VCS - examples will
be carried in the ``examples`` directory of ``vmdebootstrap`` and
in the ``/usr/share/vmdebootstrap/examples`` directory. Working
scripts based on these examples will likely be within the debian-cd
Unlike standard vmdebootstrap example scripts, the scripts calling
vmdebootstrap itself do not need to use sudo as the call is made inside
the outer VM which already has root. Using sudo will work but will output
a message: sudo: unable to resolve host JESSIE-debian-live-builder
The building of live images doesn't appear to need changes in the
vmdebootstrap package itself. The changes to isolinux to add the menu config,
splash screen and to provide access to the install menus can all be done
after the generation of the squashfs.
Installing task packages using debootstrap **omits** ``Recommended`` packages,
resulting in a much smaller image which is not expected for a live image.
Task selection needs to be done in the customisation hook using the chroot
command, at which point the default apt configuration will install the
Recommends as well as the Depends packages. Ensure that the image size is
Use the helpers
:file:`vmdebootstrap` provides helpers for customisation hooks - typically
you call a series at the start, do your customisations and call a parallel
set before the customisation script finishes. See :ref:`customisation_hooks`.
* :ref:`export_env` - When installing using apt in the customisation
script, ensure that the debconf non-interactive settings are exported
to prevent the install waiting for keyboard interaction::
* :ref:`mount_proc` - The customisation script needs to mount proc (and
possibly other locations like ``/sys/``, ``/dev/`` and ``/dev/pts/``)
before starting the apt install.
* :ref:`cleanup` - cleanup mountpoints at the end of the script.
* Calls to apt should also not output the progress bar but the actual package
installation steps should be logged.
* :ref:`prepare_apt_source` - Move the image apt sources aside and set
the cdimage apt source instead. Use ``http://cdbuilder.debian.org/debian/``.
* :ref:`replace_apt_source` - At the end of the customisation hook,
remove that source and replace the original.
* :ref:`disable_daemons` - any daemons installed into the system need to
know that the daemon should not be started until boot.
* :ref:`remove_daemon_block` - allow installed daemons to start, once
all package installations are complete.