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RED Brick Linux Image

Official RED Brick Linux image build system.


The RED Brick image build system is basically a set of shell scripts executed in a specific order.

The preferred and convenient way to build the image is by using Docker. In order to do so Docker must be properly installed on the system the image is being built on.

These scripts require a recent Debian or Ubuntu installation with Internet connection and at least 15GB free disk space. Make sure that the filesystem on which you're executing the build process is not mounted with the nodev or the noexec options. These options hinder the root-fs generation process. If you're using a separate partition for /home then it is likely to be mounted with nodev and noexec. In this case an easy workaround is to build the image in a directory that is mounted without these options, or to remount the /home directory without these options. Building the image might also not work inside an encrypted /home directory.

In Ubuntu 14.04 the multistrap package has a bug. The /usr/sbin/multistrap script is written in Perl and it uses an undefined $forceyes variable in one place. To fix the problem you need to edit /usr/sbin/multistrap and remove $forceyes from it.

Building the Image

To start the build process execute:

./ <config-name>

The <config-name> option selects the image configuration to use. See the image_<config-name>.conf files in the config directory for available configurations.

For example:

foo@bar:~$ ./ full

This script will execute the other scripts in the right order. If you have Docker installed then the script will automatically try to fetch the official Docker image and try to build using the Docker container.


Right after executing this script if Docker is being used then the user will be prompted to provide a password which is tf. This is required to execute the Docker container.

After this script has successfully finished excuting the generated image can be found in the ./build/output directory.

Of course the scripts involved in the build process can be individually executed if that is required. These scripts are described in the following subsection.


To prepare the system for building the image run:

foo@bar:~$ ./

After the preparations are done to get or update the kernel and u-boot source run:

foo@bar:~$ ./

Now the source can be compiled by running:

foo@bar:~$ ./ <config-name>

The next step is to create the root file system. This process will download several Debian packages. It's useful to setup apt-cacher to avoid downloading all the packages multiple times, see the apt-cacher section below for further details.

Whether you decided to use apt-cacher or not the next step is the same:

foo@bar:~$ sudo ./ <config-name>

Finally, run:

foo@bar:~$ sudo ./ <config-name>

which creates the image file in the ./build/output directory.

Using apt-cacher

The apt-cacher daemon acts as a local cache for an APT server. If you intend to create multiple images it's useful to setup apt-cacher daemons to avoid downloading all packages multiple times.

To do this you have to install the apt-cacher package (it's not installed by the script):

foo@bar:~$ sudo apt-get install apt-cacher

If dpkg asks you how apt-cacher should be started, select "manual".

Finally start the apt-cacher daemons by running:

foo@bar:~$ ./

Now ./ will automatically use the apt-cacher daemons instead of directly downloading from the Debian APT servers.

Writing the Image to an SD Card

The image can be transferred to an SD card with:

sudo ./ <config-name> <device>

For example (assuming that /dev/sdb is your SD card):

foo@bar:~$ sudo ./ full /dev/sdb

Now the SD card can be used to boot the RED Brick.

Using the Image

The default user name is tf with password tf.

The full image runs a LXDE desktop on the HDMI interface. All images have a serial console running on the USB OTG interface.

Enable Serial Console for Debug Brick

In config/kernel/boot.cmd replace the line:

setenv arg_console console=tty1

with the following line:

setenv arg_console console=serial,ttyS3

Then move the file to RED-Brick's /boot directory and execute the following commands:

foo@bar:~$ cd /boot
foo@bar:~$ sudo mkimage -C none -A arm -T script -d boot.cmd boot.scr

After these steps reboot the RED-Brick to get a serial console through a Debug Brick.

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