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Re: Help building debian-installer for arm64

On Tue, Dec 26, 2017 at 05:13:26PM +0100, Loys Ollivier wrote:

> I would like to build a custom debian-installer. The reason being, this
> arm64 platform has a custom PHY that I need to enable in the kernel to get
> network access.
> I built the kernel and version is:
> linux-image-4.14.0-00001-g8796b59b622f-dirty_4.14.0-00001-g8796b59b622f-dirty-27_arm64.deb
> >From that kernel deb package. How can I build the debian installer ? The
> documentation mentions udeb files that I don't have. Also, I don't know how
> to specify the target arch: arm64.
> I checked out the debian-installer source code.


building an installer with a custom kernel is a slightly
complicated topic.  I'll try to give you a rough overview; feel
free to ask specific questions on this list if you get stuck
somewhere.  I would like to propose that you first try to build
an unmodified installer from source to get a feeling for how the
build process works.

Regarding the target architecture: the installer is intended
to be build natively, i.e. you need to build the installer
on an arm64 system.

First a few links for some background information:
- https://wiki.debian.org/DebianInstaller/CheckOut
- https://wiki.debian.org/DebianInstaller/Build
- http://d-i.alioth.debian.org/doc/internals/

The last one is rather old and hasn't been updated for quite a
while, but it still provides a useful overview about which
basic components the installer has.

For building, checkout the source with mr as described in the
first link above.  You can then either run the normal Debian
package building process (provided you have all dependencies
installed, you can simply run "dpkg-buildpackage -us -uc
-rfakeroot", but preferably use either pbuilder or sbuild), or
you can build single installer targets such as the netboot target
separately.  Just running make gives you a list of supported
targets.  Taking the netboot target as an example, the following
commands build it:

  $ fakeroot make reallyclean && fakeroot make build_netboot

The results are placed in the "dest" directory.

Regarding the kernel udebs: those are created by the Debian
kernel package. A package built with "make deb-pkg" from within
an upstream kernel tree only builds regular debs, but no udebs.
To have udebs for a custom kernel, you should start from the
Debian kernel package sources and modify them as needed for
your custom kernel.

The Debian kernel package repository is available at
Please note that this repository only contains the packaging
part, not the upstream kernel sources.

For how to use that with an upstream kernel source, please


To make the installer actually use your udebs, you have to place
them in the "localudebs" directory in the installer source tree
and rebuild the installer.

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