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* skip tests using pytest_collection_modifyitems

* remove legacy tests that have been ported to pytest

* add chroot test to default tests

* exclude tests from chroot and arm64

* use unshare for tiger test to avoid conflicts with other tests

* skip random test on metal build, rngtest is not installed on metal

* disable autologin test for dev builds

* also consider pkg.exclude file in packages_musthave test

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Garden Linux

Garden Linux is a Debian GNU/Linux derivate that aims to provide small, auditable Linux images for most cloud providers (e.g. AWS, Azure, GCP etc.) and bare-metal machines. Garden Linux is the best Linux for Gardener nodes. Garden Linux provides great possibilities for customizing that is made by a highly customizable feature set to fit your needs.

Table of Content


  • Easy to use build system
  • Repeatable and auditable builds
  • Small footprint
  • Purely systemd based (network, fstab etc.)
  • Initramfs is dracut generated
  • Running latest LTS Kernel
  • MIT license
  • Security
    • Fully immutable image(s) (optional)
    • OpenSSL 3.0 (default)
    • CIS Framework (optional)
  • Testing
    • Unit tests (Created image testing)
    • Integration tests (Image integration tests in all supported platforms)
    • License violations (Testing for any license violations)
    • Outdated software versions (Testing for outdated software)
  • Supporting major platforms out-of-the-box
    • Major cloud providers AWS, Azure, Google, Alicloud
    • Major virtualizer VMware, OpenStack, KVM
    • Bare-metal systems

Quick Start

The entire build runs in a privileged Podman/Docker container that orchestrates all further actions. If not explicitly skipped, unit tests will be performed. Extended capabilities are at least needed for loop back support. Currently AMD64 and ARM64 architectures are supported.

By default, Garden Linux uses Podman as container runtime (Docker is optionally supported) for building Garden Linux images (Garden Linux artifacts however will have Docker in them to maintain compatibility with older Kubernetes versions). If - for whatever reason - you want or need to use Docker instead, you can set the environment variable GARDENLINUX_BUILD_CRE=docker before invoking the build.

Build Requirements


  • RAM: 2+ GiB (use '--lessram' to lower memory usage)
  • Disk: 10+ GiB (20+ GiB for running integration tests)
  • Internet connection



sudo apt install bash podman crun make coreutils gnupg git qemu-system-x86 qemu-system-aarch64

CentOS/RedHat (>=8):

CFSSL requires GLIBC 2.28. Therefore, we recommand to build on systems running CentOS/RedHat 8 or later.

# Install needed packages
sudo yum install bash podman crun make gnupg git qemu-kvm qemu-img coreutils

Adjust Repository:

Add to unqualified-search-registries in your registries.conf. On freshly installed Podman systems this can be done by executing:

echo 'unqualified-search-registries = [""]' | sudo tee -a /etc/containers/registries.conf

If Podman was already present please add the repository yourself to unqualified-search-registries in /etc/containers/registries.conf.

Kernel Modules:

  • ext4
  • loop
  • squashfs
  • vfat
  • vsock (image builds and extended virtualized tests)

Build Options

Option Description
--features Comma separated list of features activated (see features/) (default:base)
--disable-features Comma separated list of features to deactivate (see features/)
--lessram Build will be no longer in memory (default: off)
--debug Activates basically `set -x` everywhere (default: off)
--manual Built will stop in build environment and activate manual mode (default:off)
--arch Builds for a specific architecture (default: architecture the build runs on)
--suite Specifies the debian suite to build for e.g. bullseye, potatoe (default: testing)
--skip-tests Deactivating tests (default: off)
--tests Test suite to use, available tests are unittests, kvm, chroot (default: unittests)
--skip-build Do not create the build container


To build all supported images you may just run the following command:

    make all

However, to save time you may also build just a platform specific image by running one of the following commands. Related dev images can be created by appending the '-dev' suffix (e.g. "make aws-dev").

    make aws
    make gcp
    make azure
    make ali
    make vmware
    make openstack
    make kvm
    make metal

Artifacts are located in the .build/ folder of the project's build directory.


Building Garden Linux is based on a feature system.

Feature Type Includes
Platforms ali, aws, azure, gcp, kvm, baremetal, ...
Features container host, vitual host, ...
Modifiers  _slim, _readonly, _pxe, _iso, ...
Element cis, fedramp, gardener

if you want to build manually choose:  --features <Platform>,[<feature1>],[<featureX>],[_modifier1],[_modifierX] destination [version]

Example:  --features server,cloud,cis,vmware .build/

This builds a server image, cloud-like, with CISfeature for the VMware platform. The build result can be found in .build/. Also look into our Version scheme since adding a date or a Version targets the whole build for a specific date.


Deploying on common cloud platforms requires additional packages. The following overview gives a short quick start to run cloud platform deployments. Currently, all modules are based on Python. Therefore, please make sure to have Python installed.

Platform Module
Alicloud Aliyun CLI
Azure Azure CLI
GCP: Cloud SDK, gsutil
OpenStack OpenStackCLI


Garden Linux frequently publishes snapshot releases. These are available as machine images in most major cloud providers as well as file-system images for manual import. See the releases page for more info.


Garden Linux provides a great documentation for build options, customizing, configuration, tests and pipeline integrations. The documentation can be found within the project's docs/ path or by clicking here. Next to this, you may find a corresponding in each directory explaning some more details. Below, you may find some important documentations for continous integration and integration tests.

Continous Integration

Garden Linux can build in an automated way for continous integration. See ci/ for details.

Integration Tests

While it may be confusing for beginners we highlight this chapter for integration tests here. Garden Linux supports integration testing on all major cloud platforms (Alicloud, AWS, Azur, GCP). To allow testing even without access to any cloud platform we created an universal kvm platform that may run locally and is accessed in the same way via a ssh client object as any other cloud platform. Therefore, you do not need to adjust tests to perform local integration tests. Just to mention here that there is another platform called chroot. This platform is used to perform unit tests and will run as a local integration test. More details can be found within the documentation in tests/


Feel free to add further documentation, to adjust already existing one or to contribute with code. Please take care about our style guide and naming conventions. More information are available in in and our docs/.


Garden Linux has a large grown community. If you need further asstiance, have any issues or just want to get in touch with other Garden Linux users feel free to join our public chat room on Gitter.