mkosi

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mkosi stands for Make Operating System Image, and is a tool for generating an OS tree or image that can be booted.

Installation

Install mkosi or mkosi-gitAUR. Depending on what distribution you want to build install the following packages:

Distribution Package
Arch arch-install-scripts
Debian debootstrap, debian-archive-keyring
Ubuntu debootstrap, ubuntu-keyring
Fedora dnfAUR
OpenSUSE zypper-gitAUR
CentOS dnf-legacy-utilsAUR

Basic usage

You can create an image by calling mkosi as root

# mkosi

You can specify option as arguments or by editing files in the current folder.

Example: Create and boot a Debian-Image

The following command will create a bootable image with the latest Debian version and the package openssh-client installed:

$ mkosi -d debian -t gpt_ext4 -b --checksum --password password --package openssh-client,vim -o image.raw

you can boot it with systemd-nspawn:

# systemd-nspawn -b -i image.raw

or boot it virtualized with QEMU and

$ qemu-system-x86_64 -m 512 -smp 2 -bios /usr/share/ovmf/x64/OVMF_CODE.fd -drive format=raw,file=image.raw

You can also write this image to a USB drive and use it to boot your computer.

2. Example: Using Config-files

The same image can be created by creating a configuration file:

mkosi.default
[Distribution]
Distribution=debian
Release=stretch

[Output]
Format=gpt_ext4
Bootable=yes
Output=image.raw

[Packages]
Packages=
         openssh-client
         vim

[Validation]
Password=password

Tip: If you create a folder mkosi.cache in current working directory, mkosi will save all downloaded packages there, so you can recreate images faster.

Configurations

Basic options can be specified as command-line arguments or in a file called mkosi.default in your current directory. Most important options:

Argument Option in mkosi.default Description
-d [Distribution]

Distribution=

Which distribution should be installed: fedora,debian,ubuntu,arch,opensuse
-r [Distribution]

Release=

The version of the distribution: jessie, 21, …
-t [Output]

Format=

Format of the image to create:
  • gpt_ext4: Image file with GPT partition table and ext4 file system
  • gpt_btrfs: Image file with GPT partition table and btrfs file system
  • gpt_squashfs: Image file with GPT partition table and squashfs file system
  • directory: A plain directory
  • subvolume: A btrfs subvolume
  • tar: A tar-ball of a plain directory
-b [Output]

Bootable=yes

make the image bootable
--root-size [Output]

RootSize=

Size of the root file system
-p [Packages]

Packages=

List of packages to be installed into the image
-o [Output]

Output=

File/directory-Name
--password [Validation]

Password=test

Set the initial root password

See also