debootstrap man page

debootstrap — Bootstrap a basic Debian system



debootstrap [OPTION...] --second-stage


debootstrap bootstraps a basic Debian system of SUITE into TARGET from MIRROR by running SCRIPT. MIRROR can be an http:// or https:// URL, a file:/// URL, or an ssh:/// URL.

The SUITE may be a release code name (eg, sid, jessie, wheezy) or a symbolic name (eg, unstable, testing, stable, oldstable)

Notice that file:/ URLs are translated to file:/// (correct scheme as described in RFC1738 for local filenames), and file:// will not work. ssh://USER@HOST/PATH URLs are retrieved using scp; use of ssh-agent or similar is strongly recommended.

Debootstrap can be used to install Debian in a system without using an installation disk but can also be used to run a different Debian flavor in a chroot environment. This way you can create a full (minimal) Debian installation which can be used for testing purposes (see the Examples section). If you are looking for a chroot system to build packages please take a look at pbuilder.


Set the target architecture (use if dpkg isn't installed). See also --foreign.
Comma separated list of packages which will be added to download and extract lists.
Comma separated list of packages which will be removed from download and extract lists. WARNING: you can and probably will exclude essential packages, be careful using this option.
Use packages from the listed components of the archive.
By default, debootstrap will attempt to automatically resolve any missing dependencies, warning if any are found. Note that this is not a complete dependency resolve in the sense of dpkg or apt, and that it is far better to specify the entire base system than rely on this option. With this option set, this behaviour is disabled.
Name of the bootstrap script variant to use. Currently, the variants supported are minbase, which only includes essential packages and apt; buildd, which installs the build-essential packages into TARGET; and fakechroot, which installs the packages without root privileges. Finally there is variant scratchbox, which is for creating targets for scratchbox usage. The default, with no --variant=X argument, is to create a base Debian installation in TARGET.
Create /{bin,sbin,lib}/ symlinks pointing to their counterparts in /usr/.
Override the default keyring for the distribution being bootstrapped, and use KEYRING to check signatures of retrieved Release files.
Disables checking gpg signatures of retrieved Release files.
Forces checking Release file signatures, disabling automatic fallback to HTTPS in case of a missing keyring. Incompatible with the previous option.
Produce more info about downloading.
Print the packages to be installed, and exit. Note that a TARGET directory must be specified so debootstrap can download Packages files to determine which packages should be installed, and to resolve dependencies. The TARGET directory will be deleted unless --keep-debootstrap-dir is specified.
Download packages, but don't perform installation.
Do the initial unpack phase of bootstrapping only, for example if the target architecture does not match the host architecture. A copy of debootstrap sufficient for completing the bootstrap process will be installed as /debootstrap/debootstrap in the target filesystem. You can run it with the --second-stage option to complete the bootstrapping process.
Complete the bootstrapping process. Other arguments are generally not needed.
Run second stage in a subdirectory instead of root. (can be used to create a foreign chroot) (requires --second-stage)
Don't delete the /debootstrap directory in the target after completing the installation.
Acquire .debs from tarball FILE instead of downloading via http.
Instead of bootstrapping, make a tarball (written to FILE) of the downloaded packages. The resulting tarball may be passed to a later --unpack-tarball.
Used for internal purposes by the debian-installer
Override automatic .deb extractor selection to TYPE. Supported extractors are: dpkg-deb and ar.
Do not check certificate against certificate authorities
Use the client certificate stored in file (PEM)
Read the private key from file


To setup a wheezy system:

debootstrap wheezy ./wheezy-chroot http://httpredir.debian.org/debian

debootstrap wheezy ./wheezy-chroot file:///LOCAL_MIRROR/debian

Full process to create a complete Debian installation of sid (unstable) in a chroot:

main # debootstrap sid sid-root http://httpredir.debian.org/debian/
[ ... watch it download the whole system ]
main # echo "proc sid-root/proc proc defaults 0 0" >> /etc/fstab
main # mount proc sid-root/proc -t proc
main # echo "sysfs sid-root/sys sysfs defaults 0 0" >> /etc/fstab
main # mount sysfs sid-root/sys -t sysfs
main # cp /etc/hosts sid-root/etc/hosts
main # chroot sid-root /bin/bash


debootstrap was written by Anthony Towns <ajt@debian.org>. This manpage was written by Matt Kraai <kraai@debian.org>.

Referenced By

fakechroot(1), systemd-nspawn(1).

Explore man page connections for debootstrap(8).