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Rockstor 4 Installer Recipe

This repo contains the kiwi-ng configuration used to create Rockstor 4 'Built on openSUSE' installers. Please see the excellent kiwi ng docs for configuration options.

Pull requests most welcome; especially new target system profiles. Please test your modifications on all affected profiles prior to submission and provide details of how you tested the resulting installer.

Profile Anatomy

Profiles are named after their upstream distribution base, i.e. openSUSE Leap version, and then the intended target system; the two elements separated by a ".".

The "target system" element is either generic, i.e. x86_64 or AArch64, or target system specific, i.e. RaspberryPi4 or ARM64EFI. With the latter ARM64EFI spanning both generic (Arm64) and specific (64 bit EFI).

Core Profiles

Our current pre-built installers, see: Downloads, are built using the following profiles:

  • Leap15.3.x86_64
  • Leap15.3.RaspberryPi4 (supports RPi400 also)
  • Leap15.3.ARM64EFI (N.B. Full Ten64 compatibility awaiting mcbridematt repo update)

Contributing a Profile

If you would like to add a specific target system installer profile, please take a look at the examples referenced in the second link above. The file itself also contains comments with links to example configs used during it's development. We can make no promises for the 'supported' status of any additional profiles but 'The Rockstor Project' will endeavour to make available the more popular resulting installers.

Raspberry Pi4 Notes:

This installer requires a recent Raspberry OS initiated firmware updates to be booted from a USB device. However, regular microSD card boot should work out-of-the-box without a more modern firmware in the Pi4.

Broken Profiles

Prior to Tumbleweed dropping some Python 2 libraries this profile was functional. We used this target to inform our developmental direction and as a more leading-edge installer option. We are preserving this profile for when our in-process Python 2 to 3 move is complete. Note however that it is not currently maintained. Please contribute to this profile if you are interested as we would very much like to again be available in the Tumbleweeds.

Special mention:

  • ARM64EFI

We are very excited to welcome contributions for the innovative Traverse Ten64 AArch64 platform. Traverse technologies are an important contributor to the rockstor-core code base and have been instrumental in achieving our initial AArch64 aims. The resulting installer is intended to supports 64-bit ARM systems that implement the Embedded Boot or Server boot standard. Note that additional drives may be required for your specific hardware, if so consider Installing the Stable Kernel Backport. Also see the following subsection for enabling these same repositories/facilities within the resulting installer itself.

Stable Kernel Backport & matching btrfs-progs

Note that we have, remarked out, the 'Stable Kernel Backport' and 'filesystems' repositories within our config. This enables building a custom installer with these back-ported modifications out-of-the-box. See Installing the Stable Kernel Backport for more information. Note that this is not a supported configuration so do indicate this modification if reporting issues on our forum or GitHub.


Please see the overview section of the kiwi-ng docs for the canonical System Requirements for building the installer: e.g. 15 GB free space, Python 3.5+ etc.

Given our image target OS is exclusively 'Built on openSUSE', a vanilla openSUSE Leap 15.3 install is recommended if not using the kiwi-ng boxbuild method. But if the newer kiwi-ng boxbuild method in "Building on any linux host... " is used, any relatively modern linux system can be used to build the installer.

rockstor-installer local copy

In order to build the installer you need a local copy of the rockstor-installer GitHub repository. This file is part of that repository. To get this copy you simply need to 'git clone' that repository to your local openSUSE instance:

zypper in git
git clone
cd rockstor-installer/

The above commands install the 'git' program, and uses it to 'clone' (read copy locally) the GitHub repo, then sets your working directory to be inside this local copy. Now you just need the kiwi-ng program this config requires to make the final installer.

Building on any linux host (KVM support required)

Kiwi now has support for using KVM virtual machines to build in an isolated environments, regardless of the linux host.

On any linux platform with KVM virtualization enabled, and python3, you can use an isolated python virtual environment to build the installer without modifying your host OS, or needing to manually set up an openSUSE virtual machine (see below for this alternative). This boxbuild approach does have some overheads compared to building on a baremetal installation, but on reasonably powerful hardware it can still take less than twenty minutes.

By default, the kiwi-boxed-plugin will reserve 8GB of memory, and 4 CPU cores. This can be modified with --box-memory=<vm>G --box-smp-cpus=<number>, e.g. --box-memory 4G --box-smp-cpus=2. On machines with low RAM, building with as low as 1GB has been tested successfully. Assigning too much ram will crash your host, so be sure to set a safe amount smaller than your current available host ram. Arguments before the -- are passed to boxbuild, and after are passed to the kiwi-ng build itself.

Note on using a host OS within a Virtual Machine: If using a Linux OS in a Virtual Machine, any shared folders from the host are not properly recognized by the KVM/QEMU that is generated by kiwi-ng's boxbuild approach. This can lead to chroot errors and terminate the installer generation. The recommendation in this case is to clone the installer git directly into the VM directory and edit the relevant files (e.g. before executing the box build; or edit them outside of the VM and transfer them back into the VM's installer directory using a shared folder. At the end of installer creation the .iso file must then be copied from within the VM directory back onto the VM's host for further use.

Note on pip usage: Some distros might still have a split between Python 2.x/3.x usage of pip (i.e. pip3 vs. pip), or an existing system that is being used had both installed over time. If that is the case, one wants to ensure that the 3.x version is used, by explicitly declaring pip3 in the below command line. Otherwise this can lead to execution errors down the line.

python3 -m venv kiwi-env

If the system/distro has dropped python 2.x support or it is not installed on the system that is used for the build:

./kiwi-env/bin/pip install kiwi kiwi-boxed-plugin

Or go with the explicit version 3.x of pip:

./kiwi-env/bin/pip3 install kiwi kiwi-boxed-plugin

The rest remains the same (make sure to consider the memory and CPU defaults mentioned above)

./kiwi-env/bin/kiwi-ng --profile=Leap15.3.x86_64 --type oem \
  system boxbuild --box leap -- --description ./ --target-dir ./images

For building on dedicated openSUSE installations

This was the preferred method before the above kiwi-ng boxbuild capability existed.

kiwi-ng install

For an openSUSE Leap 15.3 OS from kiwi-ng's doc Installation section we have:

x86_64 host for x86_64 profiles

Any x86_64 machine, although keep in mind that building the ISO installer is computationally expensive so Haswell or better is recommended.

Leap 15.3 host

The openSUSE host version should, ideally, be at least the version of the target profile.

sudo zypper addrepo appliance-builder
sudo zypper install python3-kiwi btrfsprogs gfxboot qemu-tools gptfdisk e2fsprogs squashfs xorriso dosfstools

AArch64 host (e.g. a Pi4) for AArch64 profiles

See HCL:Raspberry Pi4. Install, for example, an appliance JeOS Leap 15.3 image as the host OS. Enabling USB boot on older Pi4 systems will allow for the use of, for example, an SSD as the system drive which will massively speed up installer building. USB booting on the Pi4 may require a bootloader update via a fully updated Raspberry OS.

Pi4 EEPROM/bootloader version "Jun 15 2020" or later will be required for USB boot regardless of any installer /EFI file changes.

For a JeOS Leap 15.3 host:

(Leap 15.3 has moved to mixed X86_64/aarch64 repos)

sudo zypper addrepo appliance-builder
sudo zypper install python3-kiwi btrfsprogs qemu-tools gptfdisk e2fsprogs squashfs xorriso dosfstools


No edit is required if you wish to use the generic installer filename and default rockstor package version (recommended). To change these defaults edit all lines directly preceded by <!--Change to ... as per the ... details given. Our release infrastructure performs these same edits to set official installer filenames and rockstor package versions.

Leap15.3.x86_64 profile

Executed, as the root user, in the directory containing this repositories file.

kiwi-ng --profile=Leap15.3.x86_64 --type oem system build --description ./ --target-dir /home/kiwi-images/

Leap15.3.RaspberryPi4 profile

Executed, as the root user, in the directory containing this repositories file. N.B. RPi400 built in keyboard is known not to work with this profile.

kiwi-ng --profile=Leap15.3.RaspberryPi4 --type oem system build --description ./ --target-dir /home/kiwi-images/

Resulting Rockstor installers

With the above suggested kiwi-ng commands the resulting installers will be found in /home/kiwi-images/ on the kiwi-ng host systems.

  • For the x86_64 profiles the resulting installer is an ISO image intended for image transfer to an installer only device. Use the file ending in ".iso".
  • For the RaspberryPi4 profile the resulting installer is an uncompressed raw disk image intended for image transfer to the target system disk directly. Use the file ending in ".raw".

The resulting installs will grow, on first boot, to the size of their host devices. All partitioning is fully automatic. Please see Rockstor’s “Built on openSUSE” installer HowTo for a user guide.

Help or Assistance

Our friendly forum is a good place to ask question regarding this HowTo. Please be patient however as our support is predominantly community based and the above procedure is not that well known by our community members. If you find an issue with this procedure and it's associated kiwi-ng config, please consider submitting a pull request with any fixes or improvements you consequently discover or invent.

'The Rockstor Project' is a community endeavour and depends on update channel subscriptions and contributions for it's continued open source development.


The kiwi-ng configuration used to create Rockstor 4 'Built on openSUSE' installers.







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