An alternative to debootstrap which uses apt internally and is thus able to use more than one mirror and resolve more complex dependencies.
Use like debootstrap:
sudo mmdebstrap unstable ./unstable-chroot
Without superuser privileges:
mmdebstrap unstable unstable-chroot.tar
With complex apt options:
cat /etc/apt/sources.list | mmdebstrap > unstable-chroot.tar
For the full documentation use:
pod2man ./mmdebstrap | man -l -
Or read a HTML version of the man page in either of these locations:
The sales pitch in comparison to debootstrap
- more than one mirror possible
- security and updates mirror included for Debian stable chroots
- twice as fast
- chroot with apt in 11 seconds
- gzipped tarball with apt is 27M small
- bit-by-bit reproducible output
- unprivileged operation using Linux user namespaces or fakechroot
- can operate on filesystems mounted with nodev
- foreign architecture chroots with qemu-user
- variant installing only Essential:yes packages and dependencies
- temporary chroots by redirecting to /dev/null
- chroots without apt inside (for chroot from buildinfo file with debootsnap)
The author believes that a chroot of a Debian stable release should include the latest packages including security fixes by default. This has been a wontfix with debootstrap since 2009 (See #543819 and #762222). Since mmdebstrap uses apt internally, support for multiple mirrors comes for free and stable or oldstable chroots will include security and updates mirrors.
A side-effect of using apt is being twice as fast as debootstrap. The timings were carried out on a laptop with an Intel Core i5-5200U, using a mirror on localhost and a tmpfs.
|minbase||13.54 s||26.37 s|
|buildd||21.31 s||34.85 s|
|-||23.01 s||48.83 s|
Apt considers itself an
Essential: yes package. This feature allows one to
create a chroot containing just the
Essential: yes packages and apt (and
their hard dependencies) in just 11 seconds.
If desired, a most minimal chroot with just the
Essential: yes packages and
their hard dependencies can be created with a gzipped tarball size of just 34M.
By using dpkg's
--path-exclude option to exclude documentation, even smaller
gzipped tarballs of 21M in size are possible. If apt is included, the result is
a gzipped tarball of only 27M.
These small sizes are also achieved because apt caches and other cruft is
stripped from the chroot. This also makes the result bit-by-bit
reproducible if the
$SOURCE_DATE_EPOCH environment variable is set.
The author believes, that it should not be necessary to have superuser privileges to create a file (the chroot tarball) in one's home directory. Thus, mmdebstrap provides multiple options to create a chroot tarball with the right permissions without superuser privileges. This avoids a whole class of bugs like #921815. Depending on what is available, it uses either Linux user namespaces or fakechroot. Debootstrap supports fakechroot but will not create a tarball with the right permissions by itself. Support for Linux user namespaces is missing (see #829134).
When creating a chroot tarball with debootstrap, the temporary chroot directory cannot be on a filesystem that has been mounted with nodev. In unprivileged mode, mknod is never used, which means that /tmp can be used as a temporary directory location even if if it's mounted with nodev as a security measure.
If the chroot architecture cannot be executed by the current machine, qemu-user is used to allow one to create a foreign architecture chroot.
Limitations in comparison to debootstrap
Debootstrap supports creating a Debian chroot on non-Debian systems but mmdebstrap requires apt and is thus limited to Debian and derivatives. This means that mmdebstrap can never fully replace debootstrap and debootstrap will continue to be relevant in situations where you want to create a Debian chroot from a platform without apt and dpkg.
There is no
The following options, don't exist:
The quirks from debootstrap are needed to create chroots of Debian unstable from snapshot.d.o before timestamp 20141107T220431Z or Debian 8 (Jessie) or later.
coverage.sh runs mmdebstrap in all kind of scenarios to execute
all code paths of the script. It verifies its output in each scenario and
displays the results gathered with Devel::Cover. It also compares the output of
mmdebstrap with debootstrap in several scenarios. To run the testsuite, run:
./make_mirror.sh CMD=./mmdebstrap ./coverage.sh
To also generate perl Devel::Cover data, omit the
CMD environment variable.
But that will also take a lot longer.
make_mirror.sh script will be a no-op if nothing changed in Debian
unstable. You don't need to run
make_mirror.sh before every invocation of
coverage.sh. When you make changes to
make_mirror.sh and want to regenerate
the cache, run:
touch -d yesterday shared/cache/debian/dists/unstable/Release
coverage.sh does not need an active internet connection by
default. An online connection is only needed by the
which fills a local cache with a few minimal Debian mirror copies.
coverage.sh will skip running a single test which tries creating
a Ubuntu Focal chroot. To not skip that test, run
coverage.sh with the
If a test fails you can run individual tests by executing
the test name and optionally limit it to a specific distribution like so:
CMD=./mmdebstrap ./coverage.py --dist unstable check-against-debootstrap-dist
mmdebstrap has bugs. Report them here: https://gitlab.mister-muffin.de/josch/mmdebstrap/issues
- Johannes Schauer Marin Rodrigues (main author)
- Helmut Grohne
- Gioele Barabucci
- Benjamin Drung
- Jochen Sprickerhof
- Josh Triplett
- Konstantin Demin
- David Kalnischkies
- Emilio Pozuelo Monfort
- Jakub Wilk
- Joe Groocock
- Nicolas Vigier
- Raul Tambre
- Steve Dodd
- Trent W. Buck
- Vagrant Cascadian