After more than one a year, a new minor FAI version is available, but it includes some interesting new features.

Here a the items from the NEWS file:

fai (6.2) unstable; urgency=low

  • fai-cd can now create live images
  • Use systemd during installation
  • New feature: run FAI inside a screen or tmux session
  • fai-diskimage: do not use compression of qemu-img which is slow instead provide .qcow2.zst, add option -C
  • fai-kvm: add support for booting from USB storage
  • new tool mk-data-partition adds a data partition to an ISO
  • easy installation of packages from /pkgs/<CLASS> directories
  • new helper functions for creating custom list of disks
  • new method detect:// for FAI_CONFIG_SRC

In the past the command fai-cd was only used for creating installation ISOs, that could be used from CD or USB stick. Now it possible to create a live ISO. Therefore you create your live chroot environment using 'fai dirinstall' and then convert it to a bootable live ISO using fai-cd. See man fai-cd(8) for an example.

Years ago I had the idea to use the remaining disk space on an USB stick after copying an ISO onto it. I've blogged about this recently:

The new FAI version includes the tool mk-data-partition for adding a data partition to the ISO itself or to an USB stick.

FAI detects this data partition, mounts it to /media/data and can then use various configurations from it. You may want to copy your own set of .deb packages or your whole FAI config space to this partition. FAI now automatically searches this partition for usable FAI configuration data and packages. FAI will install all packages from pkgs/<CLASSNAME> if the equivalent class is defined. Setting FAI_CONFIG_SRC=detect:// now looks into the data partition for the subdirectory 'config' and uses this as the config space. So it's now possible to modify an existing ISO (that is read-only) and make changes to the config space. If there's no config directory in the data partition FAI uses the default location on the ISO.

The tool fai-kvm, which starts virtual machines can now boot an ISO not only as CD but also as USB stick.

Sometimes users want to adjust the list of disks before the partitioning is startet. Therefore FAI provides several new functions including

  • smallestdisk()
  • largestdisk()
  • matchdisks()

You can select individual disks by their model name or even the serial number.

Two new FAI flags were added (tmux and screen) that make it easy to run FAI inside a tmux or screen session.

And finally FAI uses systemd. Yeah!

This technical change was waiting since 2015 in a merge request from Moritz 'Morty' Strübe, that would enable using systemd during the installation. Before FAI still was using old-style SYSV init scripts and did not started systemd. I didn't tried to apply the patch, because I was afraid that it would need much time to make it work. But then in may 2023 Juri Grabowski just gave it a try at MiniDebConf Hamburg, and voilà it just works! Many, many thanks to Moritz and Juri for their bravery.

The whole changelog can be found at

New ISOs for FAI are also available including an example of a Xfce desktop live ISO:

The FAIme service for creating customized installation ISOs will get its update later.

The new packages are available for bookworm by adding this line to your sources.list:

deb bookworm koeln