Generic Salt Bootstrap Script
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Bootstrapping Salt

Build status of the develop branch on Windows

Before Salt can be used for provisioning on the desired machine, the binaries need to be installed. Since Salt supports many different distributions and versions of operating systems, the Salt installation process is handled by this shell script This script runs through a series of checks to determine operating system type and version to then install the Salt binaries using the appropriate methods. For Windows, use the bootstrap-salt.ps1 script.


This README file is not the absolute truth as to what the bootstrap script is capable of. For that, please read the generated help by passing -h to the script or even better, read the source.


In every two-step installation example, you would be well-served to verify against the SHA256 sum of the downloaded file.

The SHA256 sum of the file, per release, is:

  • 2018.08.15: 6d414a39439a7335af1b78203f9d37e11c972b3c49c519742c6405e2944c6c4b
  • 2018.08.13: 98284bdc2b5ebaeb619b22090374e42a68e8fdefe6bff1e73bd1760db4407ed0
  • 2018.04.25: e2e3397d6642ba6462174b4723f1b30d04229b75efc099a553e15ea727877dfb
  • 2017.12.13: c127b3aa4a8422f6b81f5b4a40d31d13cec97bf3a39bca9c11a28f24910a6895
  • 2017.08.17: 909b4d35696b9867b34b22ef4b60edbc5a0e9f8d1ed8d05f922acb79a02e46e3
  • 2017.05.24: 8c42c2e5ad3d4384ddc557da5c214ba3e40c056ca1b758d14a392c1364650e89

If you're looking for a one-liner to install Salt, please scroll to the bottom and use the instructions for Installing via an Insecure One-Liner.


The Salt Bootstrap project is open and encouraging to code contributions. Please review the Contributing Guidelines for information on filing issues, fixing bugs, and submitting features.


The Salt Bootstrap script has a wide variety of options that can be passed as well as several ways of obtaining the bootstrap script itself. Note that the use of sudo is not needed when running these commands as the root user.


The examples below show how to bootstrap Salt directly from GitHub or another Git repository. Run the script without any parameters to get latest stable Salt packages for your system from SaltStack's corporate repository. See first example in the Install using wget section.

Install using curl

Using curl to install latest development version from GitHub:

curl -o -L
sudo sh git develop

If you want to install a specific release version (based on the Git tags):

curl -o -L
sudo sh git v2016.11.5

To install a specific branch from a Git fork:

curl -o -L
sudo sh -g git mybranch

If all you want is to install a salt-master using latest Git:

curl -o -L
sudo sh -M -N git develop

If your host has Internet access only via HTTP proxy:

curl -o -L -x "$PROXY"
sudo sh -H "$PROXY" git

Install using wget

Using wget to install your distribution's stable packages:

wget -O
sudo sh

Installing a specific version from git using wget:

wget -O
sudo sh -P git v2016.11.5


On the above example we added -P which will allow PIP packages to be installed if required. However, the -P flag is not necessary for Git-based bootstraps.

Install using Python

If you already have Python installed, python 2.7, then it's as easy as:

python -m urllib "" >
sudo sh git develop

All Python versions should support the following in-line code:

python -c 'import urllib; print urllib.urlopen("").read()' >
sudo sh git develop

Install using fetch

On a FreeBSD-based system you usually don't have either of the above binaries available. You do have fetch available though:

fetch -o
sudo sh

If you have any SSL issues install ca_root_nss:

pkg install ca_root_nss

And either copy the certificates to the place where fetch can find them:

cp /usr/local/share/certs/ca-root-nss.crt /etc/ssl/cert.pem

Or link them to the right place:

ln -s /usr/local/share/certs/ca-root-nss.crt /etc/ssl/cert.pem

Installing via an Insecure One-Liner

The following examples illustrate how to install Salt via a one-liner.


Warning! These methods do not involve a verification step and assume that the delivered file is trustworthy.

Any of the examples above which use two lines can be made to run in a single-line configuration with minor modifications.

Installing the latest stable release of Salt (default):

curl -L | sudo sh

Using wget to install your distribution's stable packages:

wget -O - | sudo sh

Installing the latest develop branch of Salt:

curl -L | sudo sh -s -- git develop

Supported Operating Systems

The salt-bootstrap script officially supports the distributions outlined in Salt's Supported Operating Systems document. The operating systems listed below should reflect this document but may become out of date. If an operating system is listed below, but is not listed on the official supported operating systems document, the level of support is "best-effort".

Since Salt is written in Python, the packages available from SaltStack's corporate repository are CPU architecture independent and could be installed on any hardware supported by Linux kernel. However, SaltStack does package Salt's binary dependencies only for x86_64 (amd64) and AArch32 (armhf). The latter is available only for Debian/Raspbian 8 platforms.

It is recommended to use git bootstrap mode as described above to install Salt on other architectures, such as x86 (i386), AArch64 (arm64) or ARM EABI (armel). You also may need to disable repository configuration and allow pip installations by providing -r and -P options to the bootstrap script, i.e.:

sudo sh -r -P git develop


Bootstrap may fail to install Salt on the cutting-edge version of distributions with frequent release cycles such as: Amazon Linux, Fedora, openSUSE Tumbleweed, or Ubuntu non-LTS. Check the versions from the list below. Also, see the `Unsupported Distro`_ section.

Debian and derivatives

  • Cumulus Linux 2/3
  • Debian GNU/Linux 7/8/9
  • Devuan GNU/Linux 1/2
  • Kali Linux 1.0 (based on Debian 7)
  • Linux Mint Debian Edition 1 (based on Debian 8)
  • Raspbian 8 (armhf packages) and 9 (using git installation mode only)
Debian Best Effort Support: Testing Release

This script provides best-effort support for the upcoming Debian testing release. Package repositories are not provided on SaltStack's Debian repository for Debian testing releases. However, the bootstrap script will attempt to install the packages for the current stable version of Debian.

For example, when installing Salt on Debian 10 (Buster), the bootstrap script will setup the repository for Debian 9 (Stretch) from SaltStack's Debian repository and install the Debian 9 packages.

Red Hat family

  • Amazon Linux 2012.3 and later
  • CentOS 6/7
  • Cloud Linux 6/7
  • Fedora 27/28 (install latest stable from standard repositories)
  • Oracle Linux 6/7
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6/7
  • Scientific Linux 6/7

SUSE family

  • openSUSE Leap 15 (see note below)
  • openSUSE Leap 42.3
  • openSUSE Tumbleweed 2015
  • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11 SP4, 12 SP2

NOTE: Leap 15 installs Python 3 Salt packages by default. Salt is packaged by SUSE, and Leap 15 ships with Python 3. Salt with Python 2 can be installed using the the -x option in combination with the git installation method.

sh -x python2 git v2018.3.2

Ubuntu and derivatives

  • KDE neon (based on Ubuntu 16.04)
  • Linux Mint 17/18
  • Ubuntu 14.04/16.04/18.04 and subsequent non-LTS releases (see below)
Ubuntu Best Effort Support: Non-LTS Releases

This script provides best-effort support for current, non-LTS Ubuntu releases. If package repositories are not provided on SaltStack's Ubuntu repository for the non-LTS release, the bootstrap script will attempt to install the packages for the most closely related LTS Ubuntu release instead.

For example, when installing Salt on Ubuntu 18.10, the bootstrap script will setup the repository for Ubuntu 18.04 from SaltStack's Ubuntu repository and install the 18.04 packages.

Non-LTS Ubuntu releases are not supported once the release reaches End-of-Life as defined by Ubuntu's release schedule.

Other Linux distributions

  • Alpine Linux 3.5/edge
  • Arch Linux
  • Gentoo

UNIX systems


  • OpenBSD (pip installation)
  • FreeBSD 9/10/11


  • SmartOS

Unsupported Distributions

If you are running a Linux distribution that is not supported yet or is not correctly identified, please run the following commands and report their output when creating an issue:

sudo find /etc/ -name \*-release -print -exec cat {} \;
command lsb_release -a

For information on how to add support for a currently unsupported distribution, please refer to the Contributing Guidelines.

Python 3 Support

Some distributions support installing Salt to use Python 3 instead of Python 2. The availability of this offering, while limited, is as follows:

  • CentOS 7
  • Debian 9
  • Fedora (only git installations)
  • Ubuntu 16.04
  • Ubuntu 18.04

On Fedora 28, PIP installation must be allowed (-P) due to incompatibility with the shipped Tornado library.

Installing the Python 3 packages for Salt is done via the -x option:

sh -x python3

See the -x option for more information.


There are a couple of ways to test the bootstrap script. Running the script on a fully-fledged VM is one way. Other options include using Vagrant or Docker.

Testing in Vagrant

Vagrant can be used to easily test changes on a clean machine. The Vagrantfile defaults to an Ubuntu box. First, install Vagrant, then:

vagrant up
vagrant ssh

Running in Docker

It is possible to run and use Salt inside a Docker container on Linux machines. Let's prepare the Docker image using the provided Dockerfile to install both a Salt Master and a Salt Minion with the bootstrap script:

docker build -t local/salt-bootstrap .

Start your new container with Salt services up and running:

docker run --detach --name salt --hostname salt local/salt-bootstrap

And finally "enter" the running container and make Salt fully operational:

docker exec -i -t salt /bin/bash
salt-key -A -y

Salt is ready and working in the Docker container with the Minion authenticated on the Master.


The Dockerfile here inherits the Ubuntu 14.04 public image with Upstart configured as the init system. Use it as an example or starting point of how to make your own Docker images with suitable Salt components, custom configurations, and even pre-accepted Minion keys already installed.