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Debian Admin CD

It's like Gentoo Admin CD but it's Debian

What's this?

This is a simple console-only live system based off Debian, aimed for administrators to perform various tasks. Inspired by Gentoo Admin CD.

Built using standard Debian Live tools.

Essentially this is a simple live image, with a selection of administration tools preinstalled. This image can be used to rescue your system, debug hardware issues, or even install Debian with debootstrap, from a more friendly interface than Debian installer's rescue mode.

With the included Live SSH Setup tool, Debian Admin CD can be used to bootstrap a managed node with Ansible! Read more here.


Originally, Debian Admin CD was just a basic Debian live CD with a lot of preinstalled packages. But as time went on, a few home-grown tools and scripts were added to make Debian Admin CD suitable for even more tasks!

Tools currently included:

  • Live SSH setup Preconfigure an SSH server even from the kernel commandline (Useful for PXE booting)

Detailed description about the included tools/scripts can be found here.

Building Debian Admin CD

Building Debian Admin CD is easy as pie!

All you have to do, is install live-build on your Debian based system (in theory it should work on Ubuntu):

# apt install live-build

After this clone the repository, cd into it, and issue lb build:

$ git clone
$ cd debian-admincd
# lb build

After that, if everything went okay, you should find the admincd image named live-image-amd64.hybrid.iso in that folder.

Prebuilt binaries

Functional iso files can be downloaded here:

Burn it on a CD, dd it on a usb stick, whatever works for you.

At the moment, I don't really know how to how could I set this up to automagically build, but I'm working on it.

Design choices

AMD64 build only

I don't think, that there is any reason to support other platforms.

i386 is very-very outdated. I understand if anyone would need a rescue CD for them, since I'm a big fan of old computers as well, but it just does not worth the effort. If you really need such a thing, you can modify the code, and build one for youself, it should not be hard.

alpha and sparc are kinda the same thing.

For arm and similar platforms... well... I don't feel like the need to support that as well... Maybe I'm just lazy.

ppc/ppc64/ppc64le supporting those platforms would be actually really cool. But it's kinda the same as for arm.

Hybrid ISO

The reason for building Hybrid ISO is simple. It can be booted from almost any media. Both USB and CD. (Altrought I don't think anyone still uses CDs for anything).

You can also easily setup PXE boot, since all files could be found in the binary folder after build.

Root user only

Well, for the purpose of this image is to do administration tasks. So you would be issuing commands that require root anyway. A regular user account would only get in your way.

I also don't want to include any passwords in the image, and because of that a passwordless sudo wouldn't be any more secure than just logging in with root.

Also, the Gentoo Admin CD does it the same way.

Package selection

Package selection is really just a matter of my taste. And also a matter of change. Packages come and go, with good reasoning any package can be included or excluded.

Also if you need something you can always use apt on the live system, to install the right tool on the fly.