Brussels / 3 & 4 February 2024


mkosi-initrd: Building initrds out of distribution packages

Generally, initrd images have always been constructed by picking various files from the host filesystem, with various bespoke mechanisms to figure out all the dependencies that have to accompany said files. Instead, we propose to build initrd images out of distribution packages. This results in initrds that behave more like a regular Linux system, making them more reliable.

In this talk, we'll present mkosi-initrd, a project to build initrds out of distribution packages using mkosi (, systemd's image builder sister project. While it started as a Fedora project , mkosi-initrd has recently gained support for Ubuntu, Debian, OpenSUSE, CentOS, RHEL, Alma Linux, Rocky Linux and Arch Linux. We'll discuss the new distribution-independent implementation, what's implemented and what's still missing. We'll also give a brief introduction on mkosi itself.

We're hoping to start a discussion on what it would take for popular distributions to consider adopting this approach to building initrds and to leave FOSDEM with new ideas on how to improve the project.


Photo of Zbigniew Jędrzejewski-Szmek Zbigniew Jędrzejewski-Szmek
Daan De Meyer