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Top level build scripts for VyOS > 1.2.0
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VyOS toplevel build

What is VyOS

VyOS is an open source operating system for network devices (routers, firewalls and so on). If you want to use it in your network, check out download and installation instructions at

If you want to modify VyOS and/or join its development, read on.

VyOS is not new. It is a fork of Vyatta Core that was created when the open source version of it was discontinued. If you are a Vyatta Core user, you can upgrade your installation to VyOS.

About this repository

VyOS is a GNU/Linux distribution based on Debian. Just like any other distribution, it consists of multiple packages.

Some packages are taken from the upstream, while other are modified or written from scratch by VyOS developers. Every package maintained by the VyOS team has its own git repository. VyOS image build is therefore a multi-step process. Packages are compiled first, then an ISO is built from Debian packages and our own packages.

This is the top level repository that contains links to repositories with VyOS specific packages (organized as Git submodules) and scripts and data that are used for building those packages and the installation image.

Repository Structure

There are several directories with their own purpose:

  • build/ Used for temporary files used for the build and for build artifacts
  • scripts/ Scripts that are used for the build process
  • data/ Data required for building the ISO (e.g. boot splash/configs)
  • tools/ Scripts that are used for maintainer's tasks automation and other purposes, but not during ISO build process

Building installation images


To build a VyOS 1.2.0 image, you need Debian 8 "Jessie" environment (with jessie-backports repository).

If you are working on a Debian Jessie machine, no special preparation is needed, you only need to enable jessie-backports and install build dependencies.

If you are interested which individual packages are required please check our Dockerfile which holds the most complete documentation of required packages. Listing individual packages here tend to be always outdated. We try to list required packages in groups through their inheritance in the Dockerfile.


If you do not have a Debian Jessie machine, you may create a chroot environment with the debootstrap tool.

For example, on another version of Debian or another Debian-based distro, these commands will work:

$ sudo apt-get install debootstrap
$ sudo debootstrap jessie vyos-chroot
$ sudo chroot vyos-chroot

$ echo "deb jessie-backports main" >> /etc/apt/sources.list
$ apt-get update -o Acquire::Check-Valid-Until=false

NOTE: We recommend to use the Docker build method


NOTE: Currently the image can only be build with docker on Linux system

Using our Dockerfile you create your own Docker container that is used to build a VyOS ISO image or other required VyOS packages. The Dockerfile contains some of the most used packages needed to build a VyOS ISO, a qemu image, and several of the submodules.

To build the docker image ensure you have a working Docker environment and then run the following commands:

$ docker build -t vyos-builder docker

Run newly built container:

$ docker run --rm -it --privileged -v $(pwd):/vyos -w /vyos vyos-builder bash

This will drop you into a bash shell with this vyos-build repo mounted at /vyos. Then follow the instructions bellow to build the VyOS ISO and QEMU image.

vyos_bld@948a2be7c52c:/vyos$ uname -a
Linux 948a2be7c52c 3.16.0-7-amd64 #1 SMP Debian 3.16.59-1 (2018-10-03) x86_64 GNU/Linux


  • Docker container must be run with --privileged flag
  • We recommended to run the container with a volume mapped in order to easy export built VyOS ISO images to the "external" world
  • UNIX ownership is automatically inherited from your host directory but can be altered by specifying the following environment variables when running the container: -e GOSU_UID=$(id -u) and/or -e GOSU_GID=$(id -g)

After the Docker container is running you can follow up the instructions below in order to build the VyOS ISO image.

Building the ISO image

The ./configure script will warn you if any dependencies are missing. Individual packages may have other build dependencies. If some dependencies are missing, package build scripts will tell you.

$ ./configure --help
usage: configure [-h] [--build-by BUILD_BY] [--version VERSION]
                 [--pbuilder-debian-mirror PBUILDER_DEBIAN_MIRROR]
                 [--debian-security-mirror DEBIAN_SECURITY_MIRROR]
                 [--architecture ARCHITECTURE] [--vyos-mirror VYOS_MIRROR]
                 [--build-type BUILD_TYPE] [--debian-mirror DEBIAN_MIRROR]
                 [--debug] [--custom-apt-entry CUSTOM_APT_ENTRY]
                 [--custom-apt-key CUSTOM_APT_KEY]
                 [--custom-package CUSTOM_PACKAGE]

optional arguments:
  -h, --help            show this help message and exit
  --build-by BUILD_BY   Builder identifier (e.g.
  --version VERSION     Version number (release builds only)
  --pbuilder-debian-mirror PBUILDER_DEBIAN_MIRROR
                        Debian repository mirror for pbuilder env bootstrap
  --debian-security-mirror DEBIAN_SECURITY_MIRROR
                        Debian security updated mirror
  --architecture ARCHITECTURE
                        Image target architecture (amd64 or i386 or armhf)
  --vyos-mirror VYOS_MIRROR
                        VyOS package mirror
  --build-type BUILD_TYPE
                        Build type, release or development
  --debian-mirror DEBIAN_MIRROR
                        Debian repository mirror for ISO build
  --debug               Enable debug output
  --custom-apt-entry CUSTOM_APT_ENTRY
                        Custom APT entry
  --custom-apt-key CUSTOM_APT_KEY
                        Custom APT key file
  --custom-package CUSTOM_PACKAGE
                        Custom package to install from repositories

Before you can build an image, you need to configure your build.

Each build needs to run the ./configure step first where you can extend your ISO by additional packages (--custom-package) or specify who build this nice ISO image (--build-by). If you have local Debian mirrors, you can select them by --debian-mirror or --debian-security-mirror.

$ ./configure --custom-package vim --build-by
$ sudo make iso

After some time you will find the resulting ISO image in the build folder.

Building images for virtualization platforms


Run following command after building the ISO image.

$ make qemu


Run following command after building the QEMU image.

$ make vmware

Building subpackages inside Docker

VyOS requires a bunch of packages which are VyOS specific and thus can not be found in any Debian Upstream mirrror. Those packages can be found at the VyOS GitHub project ( and there is a nice helper script available to build and list those individual packages.

scripts/build-packages provides an easy interface to automate the process of building all VyOS related packages that are not part of the upstream Debian version. Execute it in the root of the vyos-build directory to start compilation.

$  scripts/build-packages -h
usage: build-packages [-h] [-v] [-c] [-l] [-b BUILD [BUILD ...]] [-f] [-p]

optional arguments:
  -h, --help            show this help message and exit
  -v, --verbose         Increase logging verbosity for each occurance
  -c, --clean           Re-clone required Git repositories
  -l, --list-packages   List all packages to build
  -b BUILD [BUILD ...], --build BUILD [BUILD ...]
                        Whitespace separated list of packages to build
  -f, --fetch           Fetch sources only, no build
  -p, --parallel        Build on all CPUs

Git repositoriers are automatically fetched and build on demand. If you wan't to work offline you can fetch all source code first with the -f option.

The easiest way to compile is with the above mentioned Docker container, it includes all dependencies for compiling supported packages.

$ docker run --rm -it -v $(pwd):/vyos -w /vyos \
             --sysctl net.ipv6.conf.lo.disable_ipv6=0 \
             vyos-builder scripts/build-packages

NOTE: --sysctl net.ipv6.conf.lo.disable_ipv6=0 is required to build the vyos-strongswan package

NOTE: Prior to executing this script you need to create or build the Docker container and checkout all packages you want to compile.

Building single package(s)

The script above runs all package build inside the Docker container, this is also possible to do by hand using:

Executed from the root of vyos-build

$ docker run --rm -it -v $(pwd):/vyos -w /vyos/packages/PACKAGENAME \
             --sysctl net.ipv6.conf.lo.disable_ipv6=0 \
             vyos-builder scripts/build-packages -b <package>

NOTE: --sysctl net.ipv6.conf.lo.disable_ipv6=0 is only needed when building vyos-strongswan and can be ignored on other packages.

NOTE: vyos-strongswan will only compile on a Linux system, running on macOS or Windows might result in a unittest deadlock (it never exits).

Development process

Git branches

The default branch that contains the most recent VyOS code is called current rather than master. We know it's confusing, but it's not easy to fix. In a nutshell, the code we inherited from Vyatta Core had its master branch so out of sync with everything it was beyond any repair. Vyatta developers used to create a new branch not when a release is ready for code freeze, but rather before starting to work on a new release. This is hard to change in existing code, so this is just the way it is, for now.

All new code goes to the current branch. When it's time for a code freeze, a new branch is created for the release, and new code from current is backported to the release branch as needed.

In packages that originate from VyOS the master branch is kept in sync with current, but we still use current as default branch for uniformity. When the last legacy package is gone, we will switch to using the master branch and retire current.

Post-1.2.0 branches are named after constellations sorted by from smallest to largest. There are 88 of them, here's the complete list.

  • 1.2.0: crux (Southern Cross)
  • Future 1.3.0: equuleus
  • ...
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