INITRAMFS-TOOLS(8)        mkinitramfs script overview       INITRAMFS-TOOLS(8)

       initramfs-tools - an introduction to writing scripts for mkinitramfs

       initramfs-tools  has  one  main  script  and two different sets of sub-
       scripts which will be used during different phases of  execution.  Each
       of  these will be discussed separately below with the help of an imagi-
       nary tool which performs a frobnication of a  lvm  partition  prior  to
       mounting the root partition.

Kernel Command Line
       The  root filesystem used by the kernel is specified by the boot loader
       as always. The traditional root=/dev/sda1 style device specification is
       allowed.  If a label is used, as in root=LABEL=rootPart the initrd will
       search all available devices for  a  filesystem  with  the  appropriate
       label,  and  mount that device as the root filesystem.  root=UUID=uuid-
       number will mount the partition with that UUID as the root filesystem.

        init= "<path to real init>"
              the binary to hand over execution to on the root  fs  after  the
              initramfs scripts are done.

        root= "<path to blockdevice>"
              the  device  node  to mount as the root file system.  The recom-
              mended usage is to specify the UUID as followed "root=UUID=xxx".

              set the root file system type.

              set delay in seconds. Determines how long  mountroot  waits  for
              root to appear.  The default is 180 seconds.

              set the file system mount option string.

        loop= "<path to image>"
              path  within the original root file system to loop-mount and use
              as the real root file system.

              set the loop file system type, if applicable.

              set the loop file system mount option string, if applicable.

              can be either "auto" to try to get the relevant information from
              DHCP or a string of the form NFSSERVER:NFSPATH or NFSSERVER:NFS-
              PATH:NFSOPTS.  Use root=/dev/nfs for NFS to kick to in.  NFSOPTS
              can be looked up in nfs(5).

        ip    tells  how to configure the ip address. Allows one to specify an
              different NFS  server  than  the  DHCP  server.  See  Documenta-
              tion/filesystems/nfsroot.txt  in  any  recent  Linux  source for
              details. Optional parameter for NFS root.

              is a mac address in pxelinux format with leading "01-"  and  "-"
              as  separations.   pxelinux  passes  mac address of network card
              used to PXE boot on with this bootarg.

        boot  either local or NFS (affects which initramfs  scripts  are  run,
              see the "Subdirectories" section under boot scripts).

              The  resume  hook  tries  to autodetect the resume partition and
              uses the first swap partition as valid guess. It is possible  to
              set  the  RESUME variable in /etc/initramfs-tools/conf.d/resume.
              The boot variable noresume overrides it.

              Specify the offset from the  partition  given  by  "resume="  at
              which the swap header of the swap file is located.

        quiet reduces the amount of text output to the console during boot.

        ro    mounts the rootfs read-only.

        rw    mounts the rootfs read-write.

              disables  load  of specific modules.  Use blacklist=module1,mod-
              ule2,module3 bootparameter.

        panic sets an timeout on panic.  panic=<sec> is a documented  security
              feature: it disables the debug shell.

        debug generates    lots    of    output.    It   writes   a   log   to
              /run/initramfs/initramfs.debug.  Instead when  invoked  with  an
              arbitrary  argument output is written to console.  Use for exam-
              ple "debug=vc".

        break spawns a shell in the initramfs image at the chosen phase  (top,
              modules,  premount, mount, mountroot, bottom, init) before actu-
              ally executing the corresponding scripts (see the "Boot scripts"
              section) or action.  Multiple phases may be specified, delimited
              by commas.  The default, if no  phase  is  specified,  is  "pre-
              mount".   Beware  that  if both "panic" and "break" are present,
              initramfs will not spawn any shells but reboot instead.

              loads netconsole linux modules with the chosen args.

              loads generic IDE/ATA chipset support on boot.

       Valid boot and hook scripts names consist solely of alphabetics, numer-
       ics, dashes and underscores. Other scripts are discarded.

   Configuration hook scripts
       These  are used to override the user configuration where necessary, for
       example to force use of busybox instead of klibc utilities.

   Hook scripts
       These are used when an initramfs image is created and not  included  in
       the  image  itself.  They can however cause files to be included in the
       image.  Hook scripts are executed under errexit. Thus a hook script can
       abort the mkinitramfs build on possible errors (exitcode != 0).

   Boot scripts
       These  are included in the initramfs image and normally executed during
       kernel boot in the early user-space before the root partition has  been

       Configuration  hook  scripts  can  be  found  in  /usr/share/initramfs-
       tools/conf-hooks.d.  They are sourced by mkinitramfs after the configu-
       ration  files  in  /etc  and before running any hook scripts.  They can
       override any of the variables documented in initramfs.conf(5), but this
       should  be  done only if absolutely necessary.  For example, if a pack-
       age's boot script requires commands not  provided  by  klibc-utils,  it
       should also install a configuration hook that sets BUSYBOX=y.

       Hooks  can be found in two places: /usr/share/initramfs-tools/hooks and
       /etc/initramfs-tools/hooks. They are executed during generation of  the
       initramfs-image  and  are  responsible  for including all the necessary
       components in the image itself. No guarantees are made as to the  order
       in which the different scripts are executed unless the prereqs are set-
       up in the script.  Please notice that PREREQ is only honored  inside  a
       single  directory.   So first the scripts in /usr/share/initramfs-tools
       are ordered according to their PREREQ values  and  executed.  Then  all
       scripts  in  /etc/initramfs-tools are ordered according to their PREREQ
       values and executed. This mean that currently there is  no  possibility
       to  have  a local script (/etc/initramfs-tools) get executed before one
       from the package (/usr/share/initramfs-tools).

       If a hook script requires configuration beyond the  exported  variables
       listed below, it should read a private configuration file that is sepa-
       rate  from  the  /etc/initramfs-tools  directory.   It  must  not  read
       initramfs-tools configuration files directly.

       In  order to support prereqs, each script should begin with the follow-
       ing lines:

                   echo "$PREREQ"

              case $1 in
                   exit 0

              . /usr/share/initramfs-tools/hook-functions
              # Begin real processing below this line

       For example, if you are writing a new hook script which relies on  lvm,
       the  line  starting with PREREQ should be changed to PREREQ="lvm" which
       will ensure that the lvm hook script is run before your custom script.

   Help functions
       /usr/share/initramfs-tools/hook-functions contains a  number  of  func-
       tions which deal with some common tasks in a hook script:

              manual_add_modules  adds  a  module  (and  any  modules which it
              depends on) to the initramfs image.

              Example: manual_add_modules isofs

              add_modules_from_file reads a file containing a list of  modules
              (one  per line) to be added to the initramfs image. The file can
              contain comments (lines starting with #) and  arguments  to  the
              modules by writing the arguments on the same line as the name of
              the module.

              Example: add_modules_from_file /tmp/modlist

              force_load adds a module (and its dependencies) to the initramfs
              image  and  also  unconditionally  loads the module during boot.
              Also supports passing arguments to the module  by  listing  them
              after the module name.

              Example: force_load cdrom debug=1

              copy_modules_dir   copies   an   entire  module  directory  from
              /lib/modules/KERNELVERSION/ into the initramfs image.

              Example: copy_modules_dir kernel/drivers/ata

   Including binaries
       If you need to copy binaries to the initramfs module,  a  command  like
       this should be used:

              copy_exec /sbin/mdadm /sbin

       mkinitramfs  will  automatically  detect which libraries the executable
       depends on and copy them to the initramfs. This means  that  most  exe-
       cutables,  unless compiled with klibc, will automatically include glibc
       in the image which will increase its size by several hundred kilobytes.

   Including a system firmware preimage (early initramfs)
       If you need to prepend data to the initramfs image, you need to prepare
       it  in  a file, and call the prepend_earlyinitramfs function.  The file
       can be disposed of as soon as the function returns.

       TEMP_FILE=$(mktemp ...)
       prepend_earlyinitramfs ${TEMP_FILE}
       rm -f ${TEMP_FILE}

   Exported variables
       mkinitramfs sets several variables for the hook scripts environment.

              corresponds to the linux modules dir.

              is the $(uname -r) linux version against mkinitramfs is run.

              is the path of the used initramfs-tools configurations.

              is the root path of the newly build initramfs.

              allows arch specific hook additions.

              corresponds to the verbosity of the update-initramfs run.

              are as described in initramfs.conf(5).

              is the directory where busybox  utilities  should  be  installed
              from, or empty if busybox is not being used.

       Similarly  to  hook  scripts,  boot  scripts can be found in two places
       /usr/share/initramfs-tools/scripts/ and  /etc/initramfs-tools/scripts/.
       There  are  a  number  of subdirectories to these two directories which
       control the boot stage at which the scripts are executed.

       Like for hook scripts, there are no guarantees as to the order in which
       the  different scripts in one subdirectory (see "Subdirectories" below)
       are executed. In order to define a certain order, a similar  header  as
       for hook scripts should be used:

                   echo "$PREREQ"

              case $1 in
                   exit 0

       Where PREREQ is modified to list other scripts in the same subdirectory
       if necessary.

   Help functions
       A number of functions (mostly dealing with output) are provided to boot
       scripts in /scripts/functions :

              log_success_msg Logs a success message

              Example: log_success_msg "Frobnication successful"

              log_failure_msg Logs a failure message

              Example: log_failure_msg "Frobnication component froobz missing"

              log_warning_msg Logs a warning message

              Example: log_warning_msg "Only partial frobnication possible"

              log_begin_msg Logs a message that some processing step has begun

              log_end_msg Logs a message that some processing step is finished


                     log_begin_msg "Frobnication begun"
                     # Do something

              panic  Logs  an  error  message  and  executes  a  shell  in the
              initramfs image to allow the user to investigate the situation.

              Example: panic "Frobnication failed"

              add_mountroot_fail_hook Registers the script as able to  provide
              possible  further information, in the event that the root device
              cannot be found. See the example script in  the  initramfs-tools
              examples directory for more information.

              Example: add_mountroot_fail_hook

       Both     /usr/share/initramfs-tools/scripts     and     /etc/initramfs-
       tools/scripts contains the following subdirectories.

              init-top the scripts in this directory are the first scripts  to
              be  executed  after sysfs and procfs have been mounted.  It also
              runs the udev hook for populating the /dev tree (udev will  keep
              running until init-bottom).

              init-premount  happens  after  modules  specified  by  hooks and
              /etc/initramfs-tools/modules have been loaded.

              local-top OR nfs-top After these scripts have been executed, the
              root  device  node is expected to be present (local) or the net-
              work interface is expected to be usable (NFS).

              local-block These scripts are called with the name  of  a  local
              block  device.   After  these  scripts  have been executed, that
              device node should be present.  If the local-top or  local-block
              scripts  fail  to create the wanted device node, the local-block
              scripts will be called periodically to try again.

              local-premount OR nfs-premount are run after the sanity  of  the
              root  device  has been verified (local) or the network interface
              has been brought up (NFS), but before the  actual  root  fs  has
              been mounted.

              local-bottom  OR  nfs-bottom  are  run after the rootfs has been
              mounted (local) or the NFS root share has been mounted.

              init-bottom are the last scripts to be  executed  before  procfs
              and  sysfs  are moved to the real rootfs and execution is turned
              over to the init binary which should now be found in the mounted
              rootfs. udev is stopped.

   Boot parameters
              /conf/param.conf  allows  boot  scripts to change exported vari-
              ables that are listed on top of init. Write the  new  values  to
              it. It will be sourced after an boot script run if it exists.

   Hook script
       An  example  hook script would look something like this (and would usu-
       ally be placed in /etc/initramfs-tools/hooks/frobnicate):

              # Example frobnication hook script

                   echo "$PREREQ"

              case $1 in
                   exit 0

              . /usr/share/initramfs-tools/hook-functions
              # Begin real processing below this line

              if [ ! -x "/sbin/frobnicate" ]; then
                   exit 0

              force_load frobnicator interval=10
              cp /sbin/frobnicate "${DESTDIR}/sbin"
              exit 0

   Boot script
       An example boot script would look something like this (and  would  usu-
       ally be placed in /etc/initramfs-tools/scripts/local-top/frobnicate):

              # Example frobnication boot script

                   echo "$PREREQ"

              case $1 in
                   exit 0

              . /scripts/functions
              # Begin real processing below this line
              if [ ! -x "/sbin/frobnicate" ]; then
                   panic "Frobnication executable not found"

              if [ ! -e "/dev/mapper/frobb" ]; then
                   panic "Frobnication device not found"

              log_begin_msg "Starting frobnication"
              /sbin/frobnicate "/dev/mapper/frobb" || panic "Frobnication failed"

              exit 0

   Exported variables
       init sets several variables for the boot scripts environment.

        ROOT  corresponds to the root boot option.  Advanced boot scripts like
              cryptsetup or live-initramfs need  to  play  tricks.   Otherwise
              keep it alone.

              corresponds  to  the rootdelay, rootflags, rootfstype or ip boot
              option.  Use of ROOTDELAY is deprecated; you should implement  a
              local-block boot script rather than delaying or polling.

              allows arch specific boot actions.

        blacklist, panic, quiet, resume, noresume, resume_offset
              set according relevant boot option.

        break Useful  for  manual intervention during setup and coding an boot

              Argument passed to the panic helper function.  Use to  find  out
              why you landed in the initramfs shell.

        init  passes the path to init(8) usually /sbin/init.

              is  the  default  for  mounting  the  root corresponds to the ro
              bootarg.  Overridden by rw bootarg.

              is the path where root gets mounted usually /root.

        debug indicates that a debug log is captured  for  further  investiga-

       initramfs-tools  includes  hook scripts that are called by kernel pack-
       ages on installation and removal, so that an initramfs is automatically
       created,  updated or deleted as necessary.  The hook scripts do nothing
       if the environment variable INITRD is set to No.  This will be the case
       for   kernel   packages   built   with   make  deb-pkg  and  with  CON-
       FIG_BLK_DEV_INITRD not set in the kernel config, or  built  with  make-
       kpkg and not using the --initrd option.

       It  is  easy  to check the generated initramfs for its content. One may
       need to double-check if it contains the relevant binaries, libs or mod-
              lsinitramfs /boot/initrd.img-3.16-3-amd64

              Log  of  fsck commands run within the initramfs, with their out-

              Exists only if fsck ran successfully for the root filesystem.

              Exists only if fsck ran successfully for the /usr filesystem.

       The initramfs-tools are written by Maximilian Attems <>,
       Jeff Bailey <> and numerous others.

       This manual was written by David  Hardeman <>, updated
       by Maximilian Attems <>.

             initramfs.conf(5),      mkinitramfs(8),      update-initramfs(8),

Linux                             2010/09/23                INITRAMFS-TOOLS(8)
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