FAI 6.2 released

Thomas Lange lange at cs.uni-koeln.de
Mon Jan 22 09:45:16 CET 2024

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 functions like

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

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 will be prepared during the next days. The FAIme
service for creating customized installation ISOs will get its update

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

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

best regards Thomas

More information about the linux-fai mailing list