live-helper - the Debian Live tool suite
lh COMMAND [-h|--help] [-u|--usage] [-v|--version] [--breakpoints]
[--conffile] [--debug] [--force] [--quiet] [--verbose]
live-helper is a set of scripts to build Debian Live system images. The
idea behind live-helper is a tool suite that uses a configuration
directory to completely automate and customize all aspects of building
a Live image.
The COMMAND is a name of a live-helper command (see below).
More documentation about how to use live-helper is available in the
individual manpages for each helper and in the manual at
Shared live-helper options
The following command line options are supported by all live-helper
display help and exit.
show usage and exit.
output version information and exit.
Common live-helper options
The following command line options are supported by most live-helper
programs. See the man page of each program for a complete explanation
of what each option does.
run with breakpoints.
use custom configuration file.
show debug information.
force helper execution, even if stage file exists.
We divide live-helper into high level ("porcelain") commands and low
level ("plumbing") commands.
Here is the complete list of all available live-helper commands. See
their man pages for additional documentation.
HIGH-LEVEL COMMANDS (PORCELAIN)
We separate the porcelain commands into the main commands and some
ancillary user utilities.
Main porcelain commands
create configuration for live-helper
create the first stage by bootstrapping a basic debian system
create the second stage by customizing the chroot
create the third stage by generating a binary image
create the optional fourth stage by generating a source image
clean up system build directories
generic live-helper wrapper
alias for all stages
helper for using a local live-helper
ensure that a system is built as root
LOW-LEVEL COMMANDS (PLUMBING)
The actual work of live-helper is implemented in the low-level
commands, called plumbing. They are not supposed to be used by end
users, they should stick with porcelains as they ensure that all the
different plumbing commands are executed in the right order. However,
if you intend to reuse live-helper commands in your own scripts, then
the plumbings might be of interest for you.
Note that the interface (set of options and the semantics) to these
low-level commands are meant to be a lot more stable than Porcelain
level commands. The interface to Porcelain commands on the other hand
are subject to change in order to improve the end user experience.
cache bootstrap stage
bootstrap a Debian system with cdebootstrap(1)
bootstrap by copying the host system
bootstrap a Debian system with debootstrap(8)
cache chroot stage
execute hacks in chroot
execute hooks in chroot
install queued packages into chroot
make build interactive
execute local hooks in chroot
copy local files into chroot
install localization packages into chroot
queue install of local packages into chroot
apply local patches against chroot
use debconf local preseeding file
queue install of packages into chroot
queue install of packages lists into chroot
use debconf preseeding file
install tasks into chroot
copy chroot into chroot
install debian-installer into binary
install disk information into binary
installs grub into binary
installs grub2 into binary
copy files into binary
build iso binary image
install linux-image into binary
execute local hooks in binary
copy files into binary
install local packages lists into binary
create binary checksums (md5, sha1, and/or sha256)
installs a memtest into binary
build netboot binary image
build rootfs image
installs silo into binary
installs syslinux into binary
build harddisk binary image
build binary usb-hdd image
build binary virtual-hdd image
installs win32-loader into binary
installs yaboot into binary
copy debian-live config into source
install disk information into source
build iso source image
create source checksums (md5, sha1, and/or sha256)
build source net image
build source tarball
build source usb-hdd image
build source virtual-hdd image
Many live-helper commands make use of files in the config/ directory to
control what they do. Besides the common config/common, which is used
by all live-helper commands, some additional files can be used to
configure the behavior of specific live-helper commands. These files
are typically named config/stage or config/stage_helper (where "stage"
of course, is replaced with the name of the stage that they belong to,
and "helper" with the name of the helper).
For example, lh_bootstrap_debootstrap uses files named config/bootstrap
and config/bootstrap_debootstrap to read the options it will use. See
the man pages of individual commands for details about the names and
formats of the files they use. Generally, these files contain variables
with values assigned, one variable per line. Some programs in
live-helper use pairs of values or slightly more complicated variable
Note that live-helper will respect environment variables which are
present in the context of the shell it is running. If variables can be
read from config files, then they override environment variables, and
if command line options are used, they override values from config
files. If no value for a given variable can be found and thus is unset,
live-helper will automatically set it to the default value.
In some rare cases, you may want to have different versions of these
files for different architectures or distributions. If files named
config/stage.arch or config/stage_helper.arch, and config/stage.dist or
config/stage_helper.dist exist, where "arch" is the same as the output
of "dpkg --print-architecture" and "dist" is the same as the codename
of the target distribution, then they will be used in preference to
other, more general files.
All config files are shell scripts which are sourced by a live-helper
program. That means they have to follow the normal shell syntax. You
can also put comments in these files; lines beginning with "#" are
This program is a part of live-helper.
More information about live-helper and the Debian Live project can be
found on the homepage at <http://live.debian.net/> and in the manual at
Bugs can be reported by submitting a bugreport for the live-helper
package in the Debian Bug Tracking System at <http://bugs.debian.org/>
or by writing a mail to the Debian Live mailing list at <debian-
live-helper was written by Daniel Baumann <firstname.lastname@example.org> for the