Virtual machine templates for Debian
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bin Merge pull request #45 from andrelucas/build-box_undef_variable Sep 13, 2017
http Added net-tools to preseed-jessie.cfg Mar 12, 2018
script Merge pull request #48 from Koalephant/make-doc-removal-configurable Sep 13, 2017
test Update tests to use ServerSpec v2 for vagrant-serverspec 1.0.1 Mar 15, 2015
tpl Add Debian 8.5 Desktop Jun 26, 2016
.gitignore Add .tmpatlas to .gitignore Mar 16, 2015
AUTHORS point releases where once dropped Jan 17, 2018 Version 2.0.8 pushed to Atlas Dec 4, 2016
LICENSE Initial migration of template code from… May 11, 2014
Makefile Retire cmtool phase Aug 28, 2016 point releases where once dropped Jan 17, 2018
VERSION Bump VERSION to 2.0.9 Dec 4, 2016 Add possibility to use a custom build script like in boxcutter/ubuntu. May 3, 2016
debian.json Add support for Packer 1.1: set expect_disconnect to true. Oct 30, 2017
debian7-i386.json Shorten image names to debin7/8 because CD images keep disappearing Sep 26, 2016
debian7.json Shorten image names to debin7/8 because CD images keep disappearing Sep 26, 2016
debian8-desktop.json Fixed Debian 8 URLs. Closes #62 Feb 27, 2018
debian8-i386.json Fixed Debian 8 URLs. Closes #62 Feb 27, 2018
debian8.json Fixed Debian 8 URLs. Closes #62 Feb 27, 2018
debian9-desktop.json Bump Debian 9 ISO to version 9.4.0 Mar 11, 2018
debian9-i386.json Bump Debian 9 ISO to version 9.4.0 Mar 11, 2018
debian9.json Bump Debian 9 ISO to version 9.4.0 Mar 11, 2018

Packer templates for Debian


This repository contains Packer templates for creating Debian Vagrant boxes.

Current Boxes

We no longer provide pre-built binaries for these templates.

Building the Vagrant boxes with Packer

To build all the boxes, you will need VirtualBox, VMware Fusion/VMware Workstation and Parallels installed.

Parallels requires that the Parallels Virtualization SDK for Mac be installed as an additional preqrequisite.

We make use of JSON files containing user variables to build specific versions of Ubuntu. You tell packer to use a specific user variable file via the -var-file= command line option. This will override the default options on the core debian.json packer template, which builds Debian 8 by default.

For example, to build Debian 7, use the following:

$ packer build -var-file=debian7.json debian.json

If you want to make boxes for a specific desktop virtualization platform, use the -only parameter. For example, to build Debian 7 for VirtualBox:

$ packer build -only=virtualbox-iso -var-file=debian7.json debian.json

The boxcutter templates currently support the following desktop virtualization strings:

Building the Vagrant boxes with the box script

We've also provided a wrapper script bin/box for ease of use, so alternatively, you can use the following to build Debian 8 for all providers:

$ bin/box build debian8

Or if you just want to build Debian 8 for VirtualBox:

$ bin/box build debian8 virtualbox

Building the Vagrant boxes with the Makefile

A GNU Make Makefile drives a complete basebox creation pipeline with the following stages:

  • build - Create basebox *.box files
  • assure - Verify that the basebox *.box files produced function correctly
  • deliver - Upload *.box files to Artifactory, Atlas or an S3 bucket

The pipeline is driven via the following targets, making it easy for you to include them in your favourite CI tool:

make build   # Build all available box types
make assure  # Run tests against all the boxes
make deliver # Upload box artifacts to a repository
make clean   # Clean up build detritus

Acquiring ISO Images

The ISO image are expected to be in the iso subdirectory or the user configured path. The easiest way to acquire the files is the Makefile which depends on jigdo-lite.

For a single iso: make iso/debian-7.8.0-amd64-DVD-1.iso

For all isos: make isos

Proxy Settings

The templates respect the following network proxy environment variables and forward them on to the virtual machine environment during the box creation process, should you be using a proxy:

  • http_proxy
  • https_proxy
  • ftp_proxy
  • rsync_proxy
  • no_proxy


The tests are written in Serverspec and require the vagrant-serverspec plugin to be installed with:

vagrant plugin install vagrant-serverspec

The Makefile has individual targets for each box type with the prefix test-* should you wish to run tests individually for each box.

Similarly there are targets with the prefix ssh-* for registering a newly-built box with vagrant and for logging in using just one command to do exploratory testing. For example, to do exploratory testing on the VirtualBox training environmnet, run the following command:

make ssh-box/virtualbox/

Upon logout make ssh-* will automatically de-register the box as well.


  1. Fork and clone the repo.
  2. Create a new branch, please don't work in your master branch directly.
  3. Add new Serverspec or Bats tests in the test/ subtree for the change you want to make. Run make test on a relevant template to see the tests fail (like make test-virtualbox/ubuntu1404).
  4. Fix stuff. Use make ssh to interactively test your box (like make ssh-virtualbox/ubuntu1404).
  5. Run make test on a relevant template (like make test-virtualbox/ubuntu1404) to see if the tests pass. Repeat steps 3-5 until done.
  6. Update and AUTHORS to reflect any changes.
  7. If you have a large change in mind, it is still preferred that you split them into small commits. Good commit messages are important. The git documentatproject has some nice guidelines on writing descriptive commit messages.
  8. Push to your fork and submit a pull request.
  9. Once submitted, a full make test run will be performed against your change in the build farm. You will be notified if the test suite fails.

Would you like to help out more?



Parallels provided a Business Edition license of their software to run on the basebox build farm.

SmartyStreets provided basebox hosting for the box-cutter project since 2015 - thank you for your support!