grml-debootstrap - wrapper around debootstrap for installing plain Debian
grml-debootstrap [ options ]
grml-debootstrap is a wrapper suite around debootstrap (and cdebootstrap if you want) for installing a plain Debian system very fast and easy.
All you have to do is adjust a few variables in the configuration file /etc/debootstrap/config or specify some command line options and invoke grml-debootstrap. If invoked without any configuration modifications or command line options a dialog based frontend will be available to control some basic configuration options.
A plain and base Debian system will be installed on the given device, directory or virtual image file then. Customization of this process is possible as well.
|The Grml team does not take responsibility for loss of any data!|
Options and environment variables
- --arch architecture
Set target architecture you want to install. Defaults to the architecture you are currently running. If you’re running an amd64 kernel and want to deploy an i386 system use this option. Note: deploying amd64 from an i386 kernel does not work. Example: "--arch i386"
Enable Debian’s Backports repository (http://backports.debian.org/) via the /etc/apt/sources.list.d/backports.list configuration file. This provides the option to install Debian packages from Debian’s backports repository.
- --bootappend appendline-for-the-kernel
Specify appendline for the kernel. E.g. "pci=nomsi"
- -c, --config file
Use specified configuration file, defaults to /etc/debootstrap/config.
- --chroot-scripts directory
Execute chroot scripts from specified directory. This allows customisation of the chroot setup, the executable script(s) present in the given directory are executed at the end of the chroot procedure. Default directory: /etc/debootstrap/chroot-scripts/
Enable the contrib repository in COMPONENTS. By default only the main repository is enabled.
- -d, --confdir path
Place of configuration files for debootstrap, defaults to /etc/debootstrap.
- --debconf file
Use specified file for preseeding Debian packages instead of using the default <confdir>/debconf-selections.
- --debopt params
Extra parameters passed to the debootstrap command.
Execute in very verbose way. Useful for debugging possible problems with grml-debootstrap or identify what’s actually executed.
- --efi device
Partition where EFI boot manager should be installed to. If the specified device doesn’t use a FAT filesystem yet grml-debootstrap automatically creates the filesystem. If a FAT filesystem is already present the filesystem creation is skipped. Please ensure that it’s a valid FAT32 filesystem and the partition has the boot and esp flags enabled. This option requires EFI support on the running system and the option is NOT supported for Virtual Machine deployments.
- --filesystem filesystem
Filesystem that should be created when installing to a partition. If unset defaults to ext4. Valid values are all filesystems that can be created through mkfs.filesystem.
Skip user acknowledgement and do not prompt for user input.
Enable Grml.org’s Debian repository (http://deb.grml.org/) via the /etc/apt/sources.list.d/grml.list configuration file. This provides the option to install Debian packages from Grml’s repository.
- --grub device
Device where grub should be installed to. Note that only the MBR (master boot record) can be used (/dev/sda, /dev/sdb,…). Partitions (like /dev/sda1, /dev/sdb2,…) are NOT supported because grub2 doesn’t support installation into the PBR (partition boot record) anymore. Usage example: --grub /dev/sda. Note: just do not set this option to avoid installation of grub.
- --help, -h
Show summary of options and exit.
- --hostname hostname
Use specified hostname instead of the default (being $HOSTNAME or if unset grml).
- -i, --iso /mntpoint
Specify mount point where you have a Debian ISO mounted loopback. Using this option instead of the mirror option gives you the possibility to install the base-system without network access. Make sure you mounted the according Debian-ISO to the given /mntpoint. See section Usage examples for a demonstration.
Do not overwrite user provided /etc/apt/sources.list.
- -m, --mirror URL
Specify mirror which should be used for apt-get/aptitude. Corresponding with configuration variable MIRROR.
Skip debootstrap, only do configuration to the target.
Do not copy /etc/network/interfaces from host system to the target. This option is automatically enabled when using --vm or --vmfile.
Skip installation of default kernel images. This option might be interesting for you if you want a Debian system which doesn’t need to provide regular boot, e.g. a system which provides ISOs for booting via GRUB using grml-rescueboot.
Enable the non-free repository in COMPONENTS. By default only the main repository is enabled.
Skip installation of packages defined in /etc/debootstrap/packages.
Do not prompt for the root password. Note: Use the --password option if you want to set the root password during an automatic installation but don’t want to use the interactive dialog.
- -p, --mntpoint /mntpoint
Specify mount point that should be used for mounting the target system. Corresponding with configuration variable MNTPOINT. Note: this option has no effect if option -t is given and represents a directory.
- --packages file
Use specified file as list for packages that should be installed instead of the default package list file <confdir>/packages.
- --password password
Use specified password as password for user root. Use with caution, as your command line might be visible in the process list and the shell history. It’s meant for automatic installation only.
- --post-scripts directory
Execute scripts from specified directory after executing the chroot script. This allows customisation of the system after the chroot has been set up. The environment variable $MNTPOINT is available inside the scripts for direct access of the chroot. Default directory: /etc/debootstrap/post-scripts/
- --pre-scripts directory
Execute scripts from specified directory before executing the chroot script. This allows customisation of the system before the chroot has been set up. The environment variable $MNTPOINT is available inside the scripts for direct access of the chroot. Default directory: /etc/debootstrap/pre-scripts/
- -r, --release releasename
Specify release of new Debian system. Supported releases names: lenny, squeeze, wheezy, jessie, stretch (note: requires a recent version of debootstrap) and sid. Corresponding with configuration variable RELEASE.
Delete grml-debootstrap configuration files (/etc/debootstrap/*) from installed system. Useful for reproducible builds or if you don’t want to leak information.
- -t, --target target
Target partition (/dev/…) or directory (anything else without /dev at the beginning).
- -v, --verbose
Set up a Virtual Machine on an existing block device, which will be partitioned. This allows deployment of a Virtual Machine. The options needs to be combined with the --target option. Usage example: --vm --target /dev/mapper/your-vm-disk
Set up a Virtual Machine using a regular file instead of installing to a partition/block device or directory. This allows deployment of a Virtual Machine. The options needs to be combined with the --target option (qemu-img create -f raw … is executed on the specified target). Usage example: --vmfile --target /mnt/sda1/qemu.img
- --vmsize size
Use specified size for size of Virtual Machine disk file. If not specified it defaults to 2G (being 2GB). Syntax as supported by qemu-img (see manpage qemu-img(1) for details. Usage example: --vmsize 3G
- -V, --version
Show version of program and exit.
|the command line parsing of grml-debootstrap usually does not validate the provided arguments for the command line options. Please be careful and check docs and /etc/debootstrap/config for further information.|
grml-debootstrap --target /dev/sda1 --grub /dev/sda
Install default Debian release (jessie) on /dev/sda1 and install bootmanager Grub in MBR (master boot record) of /dev/sda and use /dev/sda1 as system partition.
grml-debootstrap --target /dev/sda6 --grub /dev/sda --release sid
Install Debian unstable/sid on /dev/sda6, install bootmanager Grub in MBR (master boot record) of /dev/sda and use /dev/sda6 as system partition.
mount /dev/sda1 /data/chroot grml-debootstrap --target /data/chroot
Install default Debian release (jessie) in directory /data/chroot (without any bootloader).
grml-debootstrap --target /dev/sda3 --grub /dev/sda --mirror ftp://ftp.tugraz.at/mirror/debian
Install default Debian release (jessie) on /dev/sda3 and install bootmanager Grub in MBR (master boot record) of /dev/sda and use /dev/sda3 as system partition. Use specified mirror instead of the default (http://httpredir.debian.org/debian) one.
mount /dev/sda1 /mnt/sda1 grml-debootstrap --vmfile --vmsize 3G --target /mnt/sda1/qemu.img
Install default debian release (jessie) in a Virtual Machine file with 3GB disk size (including Grub as bootmanager in MBR of the virtual disk file):
mount -o loop /mnt/sda6/debian-CD-1.iso /mnt/iso grml-debootstrap --target /dev/sda1 --grub /dev/sda --iso file:/mnt/iso/debian/
Install Debian on /dev/sda1 using the loopback mounted Debian-ISO for the base-system and install bootmanager Grub in MBR (master boot record) of /dev/sda and use /dev/sda1 as system partition. Please notice, that the chroot system requires network access for all packages which are not part of the ISO.
Main configuration file. Adjust it according to your needs if you want to execute grml-debootstrap in the non-interactive mode without any special command line arguments.
The script executed within the new Debian system as soon as the main system has been installed via [c]debootstrap.
Defines the default locales used for generating locales via locale-gen.
Defines the software packages which should be installed in the new Debian system by default.
Debian Packages dropped in this directory will be installed into the new Debian system by default (Control variable: EXTRAPACKAGES)
You can control execution of grml-debootstrap via adjusting /etc/debootstrap/config for some main stuff or via setting some selected variables via command line. The packages which should be installed in the new Debian system can be defined via the file /etc/debootstrap/packages. If you want to put existing files to the new Debian system you can place them into the (by default non-existing) directories boot, etc, share, usr and var in /etc/debootstrap/. Every existing directory will be copied to the new Debian system then. If you want to install additional packages that are not available via the Grml or Debian mirror drop them into /etc/debootstrap/extrapackages and make sure that EXTRAPACKAGES is set to "yes".
If environment variable AUTOINSTALL is set grml-debootstrap can be executed in a full automatic mode. While this mode isn’t really useful for interactive execution (just configure /etc/debootstrap/configure or specify the relevant variables on the command line instead) it is meant for use via boot option debian2hd on the Grml live system. The boot option debian2hd (more precise: the kernelname at the bootprompt) supports the following boot options (they correspond with the command line options mentioned above):
The target partition/directory of the new Debian system. Usage example: target=/dev/sda1
Where do you want to install grub to? Usage example: grub=/dev/sda
Specify release of new Debian system. Defaults to Debian jessie. Supported releases: lenny, squeeze, wheezy, jessie, stretch and sid. Usage example: release=sid
Specify mirror which should be used for apt-get/aptitude instead of the default one (http://httpredir.debian.org/debian). Usage example: mirror=ftp://ftp.tugraz.at/mirror/debian
Set password of user root without prompting for it but set it to the given argument. Usage example: password=AiTh5ahn
Usage example for automatic installation
debian2hd target=/dev/sda1 grub=/dev/sda mirror=ftp://ftp.tugraz.at/mirror/debian password=foobar
You have to enter this command line at the bootprompt of the Grml live system. Please make sure that /dev/sda1 is the partition where you really want to install your new Debian system.
|Automatic installation within booting process is done in grml-autoconfig via setting environment variable AUTOINSTALL and creation of /usr/bin/grml-debootstrap_noninteractive with the available and relevant boot options for grml-debootstrap.|
 Please notice that lenny is an unsupported release within Debian nowadays. grml-debootstrap can handle the release but you really should not use lenny anymore unless you really know what you are doing. Choose Debian 8.0 (jessie) or something newer instead.
Notice that you need to specify a mirror providing the lenny release, the default (http://httpredir.debian.org/debian) doesn’t provide it any longer nowadays. Set the mirror to e.g. http://archive.debian.org/debian/ if you don’t have your own lenny mirror.
You also need to specify a filesystem that’s supported by lenny, e.g. --filesystem ext3 since grml-debootstrap’s current default (ext4) isn’t supported by lenny.
Also when debootstrapping lenny on a live system with a kernel version like "3.16-1-grml-amd64" lenny’s libc will fail to install with:
To workaround this either debootstrap from a system with an according kernel version or use the "fake uname" workaround (just google for it).
When installing lenny to a new mdraid, grml-debootstrap will use md metadata format version 0.90. This limits the device to a maximum size of 2TB, but has the advantage of grub-legacy actually being able to boot from it.
unstable and testing releases
 Please notice that Debian/testing and Debian/unstable (sid) might not be always installable due to their nature. What might work instead is deploying a stable release and upgrade it after installation finished.
Probably. Please send bugreports to Michael Prokop <email@example.com>.
debootstrap (8), cdebootstrap (1).
Michael Prokop <firstname.lastname@example.org>