Create useable fstab for kfreebsd systems
[forks/vmdebootstrap.git] / README
1 README for vmdebootstrap
2 ========================
4 `debootstrap` installs a basic Debian system into a directory, for use with
5 `chroot`(8). `vmdebootstrap` is a wrapper around it to install Debian into
6 a disk image, which can be used with a virtual machine (such as KVM).
8 See the manual page and `vmdebootstrap --help` for details on how to
9 use the program. The manual page has an example.
11 Limitations
12 -----------
14 `vmdebootstrap` is aimed principally at creating virtual machines, not
15 installers or prebuilt installation images. It is possible to create
16 prebuilt installation images for some devices but this depends on the
17 specific device. (A 'prebuilt installation image' is a single image file
18 which can be written to physical media in a single operation and which
19 allows the device to boot directly into a fully installed system - in a
20 similar way to how a virtual machine would behave.)
22 * `vmdebootstrap` assumes that all operations take place on a local image
23 file, not a physical block device / removable media.
24 * `vmdebootstrap` is intended to be used with tools like `qemu` on the
25 command line to launch a new virtual machine. Not all devices have
26 virtualisation support in hardware.
28 This has implications for `u-boot` support in some cases. If the device
29 can support reading the bootloader from a known partition, like the
30 Beaglebone-black, then `vmdebootstrap` can provide space for the bootloader
31 and the image will work as a prebuilt installation image. If the device
32 expects that the bootloader exists at a specific offset and therefore
33 requires that the bootloader is written as an image not as a binary which
34 can be copied into an existing partition, `vmdebootstrap` is unable to
35 include that bootloader image into the virtual machine image.
37 It is possible to wrap `vmdebootstrap` in such a way as to prepare a
38 *physical block device* with a bootloader image and then deploy the
39 bootstrap on top. However, this does require physical media to be
40 inserted and removed each time the wrapper is executed. Once you have
41 working media, an image can be created using ``dd`` to read back from
42 the media to an image file, allowing other media to be written with a
43 single image file. To do this, use the `--tarball` option to `vmdebootstrap`
44 instead of the `--image`` option. Then setup the physical media and
45 bootloader image as required for the device, redefine the partitions to
46 make space for the rootfs, create a filesystem on the physical media and
47 unpack the `vmdebootstrap` tarball onto that filesystem.
49 What you need
50 -------------
52 In order to use vmdebootstrap, you'll need a few things:
54 * debootstrap
55 * extlinux
56 * qemu-img (in the qemu-utils package in Debian)
57 * parted
58 * mbr
59 * kpartx
60 * python-cliapp (see
61 * python-distro-info
63 Running vmdebootstrap from git
64 ------------------------------
66 $ sudo PYTHONPATH=. ./bin/vmdebootstrap
68 This has changed slightly with version 1.0 with the need for
69 PYTHONPATH to reference the module approach for support handlers.
71 pylint
72 ------
74 vmdebootstrap uses pylint and contains comments to disable certain
75 pylint checks in certain areas. pylint compatibility will make it
76 easier to accept patches, just follow the existing pattern
77 of pylint usage. pylint is far from perfect but can be helpful.
79 Testing UEFI support
80 --------------------
82 There is EFI firmware available to use with QEMU when testing images
83 built using the UEFI support, but this software is in Debian non-free
84 due to patent concerns. If you choose to use it to test UEFI builds,
85 a secondary change is also needed to symlink the provided OVMF.fd to
86 the file required by QEMU: bios-256k.bin and then tell QEMU about the
87 location of this file with the -L option:
89 $ qemu-system-x86_64 -L /usr/share/ovmf/ -machine accel=kvm \
90 -m 4096 -smp 2 -drive file=amd64.img,format=raw
92 Note the use of -drive file=<img>,format=raw which is needed for newer
93 versions of QEMU.
95 The vmextract helper
96 --------------------
98 Once the image is built, various files can be generated or modified
99 during the install operations and some of these files can be useful
100 when testing the image. One example is the initrd built by the process
101 of installing a Debian kernel. Rather than having to mount the image
102 and copy the files manually, the vmextract helper can do it for you,
103 without needing root privileges.
105 $ /usr/share/vmdebootstrap/ --verbose \
106 --image bbb/bbb-debian-armmp.img --boot \
107 --path /boot/initrd.img-3.14-2-armmp \
108 --path /lib/arm-linux-gnueabihf/
110 This uses python-guestfs (a Recommended package for vmdebootstrap) to
111 prepare a read-only version of the image - in this case with the /boot
112 partition also mounted - and copies files out into the current working
113 directory.
115 Legalese
116 --------
118 Copyright 2011-2013 Lars Wirzenius
119 Copyright 2012 Codethink Limited
121 This program is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify
122 it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by
123 the Free Software Foundation, either version 3 of the License, or
124 at your option) any later version.
126 This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful,
127 but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of
129 GNU General Public License for more details.
131 You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License
132 along with this program. If not, see <>.