A few days ago, I've added a new feature to the FAI.me build service.

Additionally to creating an installation image, FAI.me can now build bootable disk images. These disk images can be booted in a VM like KVM, Virtualbox or VMware or openstack.

You can define a disk image size, select a language, set a user and root password, select a Debian distribution and enable backports just by one click. It's possible to add your public key for access to the root account without a password. This can also be done by just specifying your GitHub account. Several disk formats are supports, like raw (compressed with xz or zstd), qcow2, vdi, vhdx and vmdk. And you can add your own list of packages, you want to have inside this OS. After a few minutes the disk image is created and you will get a download link, including a log the the creation process and a link to the FAI configuration that was used to create your customized image.

The new service is available at


If you have any comments, feature requests or feedback, do not hesitate to contact me.


Posted Tue 13 Mar 2018 05:27:24 PM CET Tags:

The FAI.me build service now supports packages from the backports repository. When selecting the stable distribution, you can also enable backports packages. The customized installation image will then uses the kernel from backports (currently 4.14) and you can add additional packages by appending /stretch-backports to the package name, e.g. notmuch/stretch-backports.

Currently, the FAIme service offers images build with Debian stable, stable with backports and Debian testing.

If you have any ideas for extensions or any feedback, send an email to FAI.me =at= fai-project.org


Posted Mon 22 Jan 2018 02:00:16 PM CET Tags:

Only one week ago, I've announced the FAI.me build service for creating your own installation images. I've got some feedback and people like to have root login without a password but using a ssh key. This feature is now available. You can upload you public ssh key which will be installed as authorized_keys for the root account.

You can now also download the configuration space that is used on the installation image and you can get the whole log file from the fai-mirror call. This command creates the partial package mirror. The log file helps you debugging if you add some packages which have conflicts on other packages, or if you misspelt a package name.


Posted Mon 04 Dec 2017 09:59:14 PM CET Tags:

I just returned from the MiniDebConf in Cambridge, where I gave two talks. One about building disk images (also for cross architecures) using fai-diskimage with FAI and the other about making d-i easier for beginners. The ideas for this talk were also the inspiration for creating the FAI.me web page. Making the usage of FAI easier, using it without installing it. Is this FAI as a service (FaaS)?

On the web page you can easily configure a customized installation image which will then be created for you. Booting this image, you will get a fully unattended installation, based on FAI technique and all software packages are already included on the installation image. The announcement has more details. I'm very excited to get your feedback for this project.


Posted Tue 28 Nov 2017 08:59:07 AM CET Tags:

Since DebConf 17 I was working on cross-architecture support for FAI. The new FAI release supports creating cross-architecture disk images, for e.g. you can build an image for Arm64 (aarch64) on a host running 64-bit x86 Linux (amd64) in about 6 minutes.

The release announcement has more details, and I also created a video showing the build process for an Arm64 disk image and booting this image using Qemu.

I'm happy to join the Debian cloud sprint in a week, where more FAI related work is waiting.

FAI embedded ARM

Posted Sun 08 Oct 2017 03:05:34 PM CEST Tags:

During DebConf 17 in Montréal I had a FAI demo session (video), where I showed how to create a customized installation CD and how to create a diskimage using the same configuration. This diskimage is ready for use with a VM software or can be booted inside a cloud environment.

During the last weeks I was working on FAI 5.4 which will be released in a few weeks. I you want to test it use

deb https://fai-project.org/download beta-testing koeln

in your sources.list file.

The most important new feature will be the cross architecture support. I managed to create an ARM64 diskimage on a x86 host and boot this inside Qemu. Currently I learn how to flash images onto my new Hikey960 board for booting my own Debian images on real hardware. The embedded world is still new for me and very different in respect to the boot process.

At DebConf, I also worked on debootstrap. I produced a set of patches which can speedup debootstrap by a factor of 2. See #871835 for details.

FAI debootstrap ARM

Posted Thu 07 Sep 2017 05:03:30 PM CEST Tags:

In this wiki entry, I describe how to extend a FAI nfsroot, so it can be used as a file system for a diskless client or a Live CD. A host can mount it via NFS when booting via PXE. You can create a Live CD easily by using the command fai-cd.

This works also nicely with a Xfce desktop, and I've prepared a ISO image for easy testing.

You can log in as user demo, and the password is fai.

The next thing is to check, if we can use FAI's dirinstall or install method for creating the same environment, so it will be easy to create customized Live images.


Posted Wed 26 Jul 2017 04:34:41 PM CEST Tags:

The FAI webpage is now reachable via HTTPS. You can also access the package repository at fai-project.org via HTTPS if you use this line in /etc/apt/sources.list:

deb https://fai-project.org/download jessie koeln

Thanks to Let's Encrypt for making this possible.


Posted Tue 04 Apr 2017 02:41:54 PM CEST Tags:

The last months were filled with a lot of FAI work. After the release that supports the creation of disk images, I attended the Debian cloud sprint in Seattle. During the sprint, we've looked at some image creation tools and I gave a short demo of the new fai-diskimage command. We've decided to evaluate FAI for creating official Debian cloud images!

We've created the FAI configuration for GCE images during the sprint and Sam has now moved his own setup from vmdebootstrap to FAI report.

A few weeks ago, I gave a FAI training in cologne for a customer. The participants really loved FAI and they will use it for CentOS, OpenSUSE, Debian and Ubuntu because FAI perfectly fits into their needs Giving this training was a pleasure for me because the participants were really good and they've learned everything about FAI.

Later, I wrote some new code for detecting unknown packages names for the command install_packages, which is needed because aptiude does not handle this any more.

I've finally released the new version FAI 5.3.2 and also created new ISO images which are now available at http://fai-project.org/fai-cd/.

FAI cloud

Posted Mon 12 Dec 2016 04:54:23 PM CET Tags:

The newest version of FAI, the Fully Automatic Installation tool set, now supports creating disk images for virtual machines or for your cloud environment.

The new command fai-diskimage uses the normal FAI process for building disk images of different formats. An image with a small set of packages can be created in less than 50 seconds, a Debian XFCE desktop in nearly two minutes and a complete Ubuntu 16.04 desktop image is created in four minutes.

New FAI installation images for CD and USB stick are also available.

Update: Add link to announcement

FAI cloud

Posted Mon 17 Oct 2016 01:51:21 PM CEST Tags:

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