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Linux Guest Environment for Google Compute Engine

Build Status codecov

This repository stores the collection of packages installed on Google supported Compute Engine images.

Table of Contents


The Linux guest environment denotes the Google provided configuration and tooling inside of a Google Compute Engine (GCE) virtual machine. The metadata server is a communication channel for transferring information from a client into the guest. The Linux guest environment includes a set of scripts and daemons (long-running processes) that read the content of the metadata server to make a virtual machine run properly on our platform.


The guest Python code is packaged as a compliant PyPI Python package that can be used as a library or run independently. In addition to the Python package, deb and rpm packages are created with appropriate init configuration for supported GCE distros. The packages are targeted towards distribution provided Python versions.

Distro Package Type Python Version Init System
SLES 12 rpm 2.7 systemd
SLES 15 rpm 3.6 systemd
CentOS 6 rpm 2.6 upstart
CentOS 7 rpm 2.7 systemd
RHEL 6 rpm 2.6 upstart
RHEL 7 rpm 2.7 systemd
RHEL 8 rpm 3.6 systemd
Ubuntu 14.04 deb 2.7 upstart
Ubuntu 16.04 deb 3.5 or 2.7 systemd
Ubuntu 18.04 deb 3.6 systemd
Ubuntu 19.04 deb 3.7 systemd
Debian 9 deb 3.5 or 2.7 systemd

We build the following packages for the Linux guest environment.

  • google-compute-engine
    • System init scripts (systemd, upstart, or sysvinit).
    • Includes udev rules, sysctl rules, rsyslog configs, dhcp configs for hostname setting.
    • Entry point scripts created by the Python package located in /usr/bin.
    • Includes bash scripts used by instance_setup.
  • python-google-compute-engine
    • The Python 2 package for Linux daemons and libraries.
  • python3-google-compute-engine
    • The Python 3 package for Linux daemons and libraries.
  • google-compute-engine-oslogin
  • gce-disk-expand
    • The on-boot resize scripts for root partition.

The package sources (RPM spec files and Debian packaging directories) are also included in this project. There are also Daisy workflows for spinning up GCE VM's to automatically build the packages for Debian, Red Hat, and CentOS. See the README in the packaging directory for more details.

Version Updates

The method for making version updates differs by package.

  • All packages need the VERSION variable set in the setup_{deb,rpm}.sh build scripts.
  • All packages need the debian/changelog file updated. Please use dch(1) to update it.
  • python-google-compute-engine additionally needs the version specified in This is used for entry points through the Python egg and PyPI.
  • google-compute-engine-oslogin needs the version also updated in the Makefile.

Package Distribution

The deb and rpm packages are published to Google Cloud repositories. Debian, CentOS, and RHEL use these repositories to install and update the google-compute-engine, google-compute-engine-oslogin and python-google-compute-engine (and python3-google-compute-engine for Python 3) packages. If you are creating a custom image, you can also use these repositories in your image.

For Debian, run the following commands as root:

Add the public repo key to your system:

curl | sudo apt-key add -

Add a source list file /etc/apt/sources.list.d/google-cloud.list:

sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/google-cloud.list << EOM
deb google-compute-engine-stretch-stable main
deb google-cloud-packages-archive-keyring-stretch main

Install the packages to maintain the public key over time:

sudo apt update; sudo apt install -y google-cloud-packages-archive-keyring

You are then able to install any of the packages from this repo.

For RedHat based distributions, run the following commands as root:

Add the yum repo to a repo file /etc/yum.repos.d/google-cloud.repo for either EL6 or EL7. Change DIST to either 6 or 7 respectively:

tee /etc/yum.repos.d/google-cloud.repo << EOM
name=Google Compute Engine

You are then able to install any of the packages from this repo.


Deprecated Packages

Deprecated Package Replacement
google-compute-engine-jessie google-compute-engine and python-google-compute-engine
google-compute-engine-stretch google-compute-engine and python-google-compute-engine
google-compute-engine-init google-compute-engine
google-compute-engine-init-jessie google-compute-engine
google-compute-engine-init-stretch google-compute-engine
google-config google-compute-engine
google-config-jessie google-compute-engine
google-config-stretch google-compute-engine
google-compute-daemon python-google-compute-engine
google-startup-scripts google-compute-engine

An old CentOS 6 image fails to install the packages with an error on SCL

CentOS 6 images prior to v20160526 may fail to install the package with the error: [Errno 14] PYCURL ERROR 22 - "The requested URL returned error: 404 Not Found"

Remove the stale repository file: sudo rm -f /etc/yum.repos.d/CentOS-SCL.repo

On some CentOS or RHEL 6 systems, extraneous python egg directories can cause the python daemons to fail.

In /usr/lib/python2.6/site-packages look for google_compute_engine-2.4.1-py27.egg-info directories and google_compute_engine-2.5.2.egg-info directories and delete them if you run into this problem.

Using boto with virtualenv

Specific to running boto inside of a Python virtualenv, virtual environments are isolated from system site-packages. This includes the installed Linux guest environment libraries that are used to configure boto credentials. There are two recommended solutions:

  • Create a virtual environment with virtualenv venv --system-site-packages.
  • Install boto via the Linux guest environment PyPI package using pip install google-compute-engine.


Have a patch that will benefit this project? Awesome! Follow these steps to have it accepted.

  1. Please sign our Contributor License Agreement.
  2. Fork this Git repository and make your changes.
  3. Create a Pull Request against the development branch.
  4. Incorporate review feedback to your changes.
  5. Accepted!


All files in this repository are under the Apache License, Version 2.0 unless noted otherwise.

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