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!
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
Specify appendline for the kernel. E.g.
, --config file
Use specified configuration file, defaults to
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.
, --confdir path
Place of configuration files for debootstrap,
defaults to /etc/debootstrap.
Use specified file for preseeding Debian
packages instead of using the default
Extra parameters passed to the debootstrap
Execute in very verbose way. Useful for
debugging possible problems with grml-debootstrap or identify what’s
Install a default /etc/network/interfaces file
(enabling DHCP for eth0) instead of taking over config from host system.
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 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
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.
Show summary of options and exit.
Use specified hostname instead of the default
(being $HOSTNAME or if unset grml).
, --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
, --mirror URL
Specify mirror which should be used for
apt-get/aptitude. Corresponding with configuration variable MIRROR.
Skip debootstrap, only do configuration to the
Do not copy /etc/network/interfaces from host
system to the target. This option is automatically enabled when using --vm or
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
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
, --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
Use specified file as list for packages that
should be installed instead of the default package list file
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
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:
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
, --release releasename
Specify release of new Debian system.
Supported releases names: lenny, squeeze, wheezy, jessie, stretch and sid.
Corresponding with configuration variable RELEASE. Default release:
Delete grml-debootstrap configuration files
(/etc/debootstrap/*) from installed system. Useful for reproducible builds or
if you don’t want to leak information.
, --target target
Target partition (/dev/...) or directory
(anything else without /dev at the beginning).
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
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
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 (stretch) on /dev/sda1 and install bootmanager
Grub in MBR (master boot record) of /dev/sda and use /dev/sda1 as system
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 (stretch) in directory /data/chroot (without any
grml-debootstrap --target /dev/sda3 --grub /dev/sda --mirror ftp://ftp.tugraz.at/mirror/debian
Install default Debian release (stretch) 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 (
mount /dev/sda1 /mnt/sda1
grml-debootstrap --vmfile --vmsize 3G --target /mnt/sda1/qemu.img
Install default debian release (stretch) 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
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:
Where do you want to install grub to? Usage example: grub=/dev/sda
Specify release of new Debian system. Defaults to Debian stretch. Supported
releases: lenny, squeeze, wheezy, jessie, stretch and sid. Usage example:
Specify mirror which should be used for apt-get/aptitude instead of the default
one ( http://httpredir.debian.org/debian
). Usage example:
Set password of user root without prompting for it but set it to the given
argument. Usage example: password=AiTh5ahn
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.
Table 1. Current status
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 and squeeze are unsupported releases within Debian
nowadays. grml-debootstrap can handle the releases but you really should not
use them anymore unless you really know what you are doing. Choose the current
Debian stable version instead.
Notice that you need to specify a mirror providing the lenny/squeeze releases,
the default ( http://httpredir.debian.org/debian
provide it any longer nowadays. Set the mirror to e.g.
if you don’t have your own
You also need to specify a filesystem that’s supported by lenny, e.g.
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:
/var/lib/dpkg/tmp.ci/preinst: line 265: [: 3.16-1-grml-amd64: integery expression expected
/var/lib/dpkg/tmp.ci/preinst: line 231: 3.16-1-grml-amd64: syntax error: invalid arithemtic operator (error token is ".16-1-grml-amd64")
dpkg: error processing /var/cache/apt/archives/libc6_2.7-18lenny7_amd64.deb (--install):
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 <
debootstrap (8), cdebootstrap (1).
Michael Prokop < email@example.com