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As much as I hate that it came to this, I just don't have the time to maintain this. I hope it might be useful to someone, but unfortunately you shouldn't expect it to work on current arch (this is written 2012-05-05).


Mostly automated creation/bootstrapping of an Arch Linux AMI for EC2, without relying on any external "magic" other than that provided by EC2, Arch Linux, and the contents of this repository.

Inspired by but updated and aiming to be a bit more complete.

Current status

Only 32 bit supported. 64 bit would probably work with minor modifications; the known issue is that the kernel config must be modified. Untested.

Pre-created AMI:s

(NOTE: These lack /boot mounted when they start up, due to issue #3. I will fix that and create new images at some point.)

  • 2011-10-23: eu-west-1: ami-51625f25 / arch4ec2-32bit-20111023-3
  • 2011-10-23: us-west-1: ami-f9b3efbc / arch4ec2-uswest-32bit-20111023-1

The dates indicate when they were created, and thus should reflect arch as it appeared on that day (with appropriate fuzz depending on mirror latencies).

(Want other regions/64 bit? Let me know. Else I'll do it when I get around to it.)

How to create an AMI

I recommend against running this on a system that you use for anything other than bootstrapping. The script is not treating 'root' as a dangerous user (e.g., uses makepkg --asroot and rm -rf:es some stuff, and if you specify the wrong EBS device you'll nuke something you did not intend to nuke). Use of a virtualized environment of some kind is highly recommended.

One way to get started is to use the pre-build AMI:s listed above. Another way is to make a clean installation of Arch in e.g. VirtualBox.

Firest, install dependencies, including zsh, xmlto, docbook-xsl and probably others (I have yet to test on a truly minimalistic system).

Secondly, build the ec2-metadata and kernel packages and create the arch repository (for use by pacman) by:


After that, bootstrap the AMI on one of your devices (assuming /dev/xvdb is the one):

./ --target-ebs-device=/dev/xvdb --mount-point=/mnt/ami

Then snapshot your device (like this, or in the management console):

ec2-create-snapshot -d 'my-ami-snapshot' vol-XXXXXXX

Then register your AMI using the snapshot just created:

ec2-register --debug -s snap-XXXXXXXX --root-device-name /dev/sda -n my-arch-ami --kernel AKI

Where AKI is (see

  • For eu-west-1: aki-47eec433
  • For us-west-1: aki-9da0f1d8
  • For us-east-1: aki-4c7d9525
  • For ap-southeast-1: aki-6fd5aa3d

Note that the use of /dev/sda (rather than /dev/xvda) is intentional, as that is how it appears to the early pv-grub boot environment at EC2. The aki in the example is the 32 bit pv-grub aki supplied by amazon for use on volumes with root fs on the first partition.

The kernel

Since a customly configured kernel is necessary, and to avoid future upgrades switching to a stock compiled kernel, the kernel package used is specifically named after arch4ec2. This means that it should be safe to upgrade all packages on the bootstrapped instances at any time without risking switching to a kernel that won't boot.

Ideally, I should set up a repository for people to use. If you are interested and would use it, let me know.


automated bootstrapping of arch linux AMI:s for EC2






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