You have probably received a root-filesystem, which has been built with ELBE.
Additionally you should have an XML file describing the root-filesystem.
This quickstart guide describes the steps necessary to rebuild the
root-filesystem from the XML file and to simple modifications.
install Debian 8 (Jessie) on your Host
install ELBE on Host Linux
initvm running the buildenvironment
build the root-filesystem inside the initvm
Steps 1 and 2 need only be performed once.
When Debian is running inside a VM (vmware etc), you need to make sure,
that nested KVM is working.
The ELBE XML can contain an archive, which can contain configuration files,
and additional software. This archive is extracted onto the target-image
during the buildprocess. It allows you to override any file, which needs to be
different from the default Debian Install.
This guide also explains how the archive can be extracted from the XML file,
and vice versa.
ELBE allows to manipulate the generated root-filesystem through a set of
<finetuning> rules. We also describe, how these can be used to add a user,
change directory permissions, and remove files from the root-filesystem.
There are several possibilities to install ELBE.
The simplest method is by installing prebuilt binary packages
via Linutronix package repository on a Debian 8 (Jessie) system.
But ELBE can also be installed from git.
The latest packages for elbe reside in the following repository
Create the file
with the following contents:
deb http://debian.linutronix.de/elbe-testing jessie main deb http://debian.linutronix.de/elbe-common jessie main
Then run (as root):
$ apt-get update $ apt-get install elbe
If you can not use Debian Jessie, you can also checkout the current
ELBE source-code via git from github.
$ git clone https://github.com/Linutronix/elbe.git Cloning into 'elbe'... remote: Counting objects: 5435, done. remote: Compressing objects: 100% (8/8), done. remote: Total 5435 (delta 1), reused 0 (delta 0), pack-reused 5427 Receiving objects: 100% (5435/5435), 1.94 MiB | 1.92 MiB/s, done. Resolving deltas: 100% (3943/3943), done. Checking connectivity... done. $ cd elbe $ ls AUTHORS ChangeLog COPYING debian dockerfile docs elbe elbepack examples INSTALL Makefile README setup.py test THANKS TODO
ELBE can run without being installed from the git checkout.
Just note that file paths are different under this situation.
elbe -> ./elbe /usr/share/doc/elbe-doc/examples -> examples/
The first thing you need to do is set up a virtual-machine for
This virtual-machine is referred to as "initvm". You will want your
initvm to be the same architecture as your workstation. This allows
using hardware accelerated virtualization implemented by kvm.
$ elbe initvm create --directory=initvm /home/torbenh/elbe/elbe/initvm gpg: keyring `/tmp/tmpPfPXt4/secring.gpg' created gpg: keyring `/tmp/tmpPfPXt4/etc/apt/trusted.gpg.d/linutronix-elbe.gpg' created gpg: key 22BB8F84: public key "ELBE Devel (Linutronix ELBE developers) <email@example.com>" imported gpg: Total number processed: 1 gpg: imported: 1 (RSA: 1) --2015-08-17 15:26:26-- http://debian.linutronix.de/elbe/elbe-repo.pub Resolving debian.linutronix.de (debian.linutronix.de)... 2001:470:1f0b:db:abcd:42:0:1, 22.214.171.124 Connecting to debian.linutronix.de (debian.linutronix.de)|2001:470:1f0b:db:abcd:42:0:1|:80... connected. HTTP request sent, awaiting response... 200 OK Length: 1763 (1.7K) Saving to: ‘/tmp/tmpPfPXt4/tmpkey.gpg’ /tmp/tmpPfPXt4/tmpkey.gpg 100%[========================================================================>] 1.72K --.-KB/s in 0s 2015-08-17 15:26:26 (346 MB/s) - ‘/tmp/tmpPfPXt4/tmpkey.gpg’ saved [1763/1763] ... Installing the base system ... 17%... 20%... 30%... 40%... 50%... 60%... 70%... 83%... 91%... 100% Configuring apt ... 16%... 25%... 32%... 41%... 50%... 66%... 75%... 83%... 91%... 100% Select and install software ... 10%... 26%... 31%... 40%... 50%... 61%... 70%... 80%... 90%... 100% Installing GRUB boot loader ... 16%... 33%... 50%... 66%... 83%... 100% The system is going down NOW!.. 14%... 23%... 33%... 42%... 52%... 61%... 71%... 80%... 90% Sent SIGTERM to all processes Sent SIGKILL to all processes Requesting system reboot [ 589.432092] Restarting system. mkdir -p .stamps touch .stamps/stamp-install-initial-image
This creates an "initvm" subdirectory and builds the initvm inside this directory.
Submitting an XML file triggers an image build inside the initvm.
Once the initvm has been created and is running, you can submit XML files using
$ elbe initvm submit --directory=initvm /usr/share/doc/elbe-doc/examples/rescue.xml Build started, waiting till it finishes project still busy, waiting project still busy, waiting ... project still busy, waiting project still busy, waiting project still busy, waiting Build finished ! ELBE Package validation ======================= Package List validation ---------------------- No Errors found Getting generated Files Saving generated Files to /home/torbenh/elbe/elbe/elbe-build-20150817-155038 source.xml (Current source.xml of the project) rescue.cpio (Image) validation.txt (Package list validation result) elbe-report.txt (Report) log.txt (Log file)
The result of the build is stored in elbe-build-<TIMESTAMP> below your current
The initvm will open port 7587 on localhost. This is used by the elbe tools
on your host to communicate with the initvm.
The ELBE XML file contains an archive which is extracted into the
root-filesystem during the image generation phase.
It is acessed with the following commands:
$ elbe get_archive fun.xml archive.tar.bz2
It is a normal tar.bz2 which can be manipulated and reinjected into the XML:
$ mkdir arch $ tar xvfj archive.tar.bz2 -C arch $ echo hello > arch/hello $ elbe chg_archive fun.xml arch
The XML file contains a list of packages to install
<pkg-list> in the
<target> XML node. Inserting a line containing
will add the
util-linux package to the target-rfs.
An ELBE XML file can contain a set of finetuning rules. Finetuning is used to
customize the target-rfs, e.g. remove man-pages. Here is an example
<finetuning> <rm>var/cache/apt/archives/*.deb</rm> <adduser passwd="elbe" shell="/bin/bash">elbe</adduser> </finetuning>
<rm> node removes files from the target-rfs.
The adduser node allows to create a user.
The following example creates the user
elbe with the password
It is also possible to specify groups the new user should be part of:
<adduser passwd="foo" shell="/bin/bash" groups="audio,video,dialout">elbe</adduser>
There is currently no special finetuning node for
These commands needs to be specified via the command tag, which allows running
any command that is available in the target-rfs.
<command>chown elbe:elbe /mnt</command> <command>chmod 777 /mnt</command>
A more complete example can be found in the ELBE overview document that is
Since Version 1.9.2, elbe is able to create a pbuilder Environment.
You can create a pbuilder for a specific xml File inside the initvm.
The repositories and architecture specified in the xml File will be used
to satisfy build dependencies.
Pbuilder will only build debianised Software.
Currently only source formats
A pbuilder instance is always associated with a project inside the initvm.
pbuilder create command will write the project uuid to a file, if instructed to
pbuilder build works like
pdebuild, in that it uploads the current working directory
into the initvm pbuilder project, and then builds it using the pbuilder instance
Here is an example:
$ elbe pbuilder create --xmlfile fun.xml --writeproject fun.prj $ cd program $ elbe pbuilder build --project `cat ../fun.prj` --output ../out