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Some unofficial tools for building FreeBSD images to run in Google Compute Engine
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FreeBSD Google Compute Engine Tools

This script will create a FreeBSD image suitable for booting in the Google Compute Engine (GCE).

Now With ZFS!

Use the -z option to create a bootable Google Compue Engine image with root on ZFS!

Creating Images

Use the script to create images suitable for writing to GCE disks and booting into FreeBSD. Run it with the -h switch for usage information. Use to clean up infrastructure created during the image creation process, which should only be needed if the script fails for some reason while the image is attached as a device and/or is mounted.


Usage: # ./ [options]

  -h This help

  -c Compress the image.
  -k Path to public key for new user.  Will be added to authorized_keys so you can log in.  Required.
  -K Path to private key.  Implies install public and private keys for new user.
  -p Password for new user.  Default: passw0rd.
  -P Packages to install, in a space-separated string (you will need to use quotes).
  -r Release of FreeBSD to use.  Default: 10.2-RELEASE
  -s Image size.  Specify units as G or M.  Default: 2G.
  -w Swap size.  Specify in same units as Image size.  Added to image size.  Default none.
  -u Username for new user.  Default: gceuser.
  -z Use ZFS filesystem for root.


  • If you provide only a public key, it will be added to .ssh/authorized_keys for the new user so that you can log in via ssh.
  • If you provide both public and private keys, those keys will be installed under .ssh/ for the new user as well.

Other Notes

  • The script will use the current directory as a working directory.
  • Note that you are not required to have the specified image size available as free space on your local hard drive. The truncate(1) command "does not cause space to be allocated" unless written to. This script only requires about 1GB to run.
  • If you use ZFS, the above no longer applies; you will need to have the storage available for your specificed image size.
  • If installing packages, the script will create a temporary /etc/resolv.conf file pointing to Google's public DNS so that the FreeBSD repositories can be accessed from within the chroot.

Writing Images

Use any running *nix machine in the GCE to write your image to a new GCE disk. If this is your first image, spin up an instance of debian, copy your new image to it, attach a new disk as big as your image target size, and write your image to the new disk. Detach the new disk, and then you can create a new instance using your new disk.

**NOTE: The example commands below will destroy data unless you are careful to specify the correct target device! Simply write the image directly to a blank GCE disk, like so:

gunzip [Image File] > [GCE Blank Disk]

Example for Debian or FreeBSD:

sudo sh -c 'gunzip -c [TheImageFile.gz] > [Your device, e.g. /dev/daX]'


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