Manual Linux Installs with Funky Storage Configurations


I often find that my tastes for hard drive configurations on my installed systems is a bit outside of the norm. I like playing with thin LVs, BTRFS snapshots, or whatever new thing there is around the corner. The Anaconda UI has been adding support for these fringe cases but I still find it hard to get Anaconda to do what I want in certain cases.

An example of this happened most recently when I went to reformat and install Fedora 20 on my laptop. Ultimately what I wanted was encrypted root and swap devices and btrfs filesystems on root and boot. One other requirement was that I needed to leave sda4 (a Windows Partition) completely intact. At the end the configuration should look something like:

[root@lintop ~]# lsblk /dev/sda
sda              8:0    0 465.8G  0 disk
├─sda1           8:1    0     1G  0 part  /boot
├─sda2           8:2    0     4G  0 part
│ └─cryptoswap 253:1    0     4G  0 crypt [SWAP]
├─sda3           8:3    0 299.2G  0 part
│ └─cryptoroot 253:0    0 299.2G  0 crypt /
└─sda4           8:4    0 161.6G  0 part

After a few failed attempts with Anaconda I decided to do a custom install instead.

Custom Install

I used the Fedora 20 install DVD (and thus the Anaconda environment) to do the install but I performed all the steps manually by switching to a different terminal with a prompt. First off I used fdisk to format the disk the way I wanted. The results looked like:

[anaconda root@localhost ~]# fdisk -l /dev/sda

Disk /dev/sda: 465.8 GiB, 500107862016 bytes, 976773168 sectors
Units: sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 4096 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 4096 bytes / 4096 bytes
Disklabel type: dos
Disk identifier: 0xcfe1cf72

Device    Boot     Start       End    Blocks  Id System
/dev/sda1 *         2048   2099199   1048576  83 Linux
/dev/sda2        2099200  10487807   4194304  82 Linux swap / Solaris
/dev/sda3       10487808 637945855 313729024  83 Linux
/dev/sda4      637945856 976773119 169413632   7 HPFS/NTFS/exFAT

Next I set up the encrypted root (/dev/sda3) device and created a btrfs filesystems on both boot (/dev/sda2) and the encrypted root device (/dev/mapper/cryptoroot):

[anaconda root@localhost ~]# cryptsetup luksFormat /dev/sda3
[anaconda root@localhost ~]# cryptsetup luksOpen /dev/sda3 cryptoroot
Enter passphrase for /dev/sda3:
[anaconda root@localhost ~]#
[anaconda root@localhost ~]# mkfs.btrfs --force --label=root /dev/mapper/cryptoroot
fs created label root on /dev/mapper/cryptoroot
[anaconda root@localhost ~]# mkfs.btrfs --force --label=boot --mixed /dev/sda1
fs created label boot on /dev/sda1

Next, if you want to use the yum cli then you need to install it because some of the files are left out of the environment by default. I show the error you get below and then how to fix it:

[anaconda root@localhost ~]# yum list
Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "/bin/yum", line 28, in <module>
    import yummain
ImportError: No module named yummain
[anaconda root@localhost ~]# rpm -ivh --nodeps /run/install/repo/Packages/y/yum-3.4.3-106.fc20.noarch.rpm

I needed to set up a repo that used the DVD as the source:

[anaconda root@localhost ~]# cat <<EOF > /etc/yum.repos.d/repo.repo

Now I could mount my root device on /mnt/sysimage and then lay down the basic filesystem tree by installing the filesystem package into it:

[anaconda root@localhost ~]# mount /dev/mapper/cryptoroot /mnt/sysimage/
[anaconda root@localhost ~]# yum install -y --installroot=/mnt/sysimage filesystem

Now I can mount boot and other filesystems into the /mnt/sysimage tree:

[anaconda root@localhost ~]# mount /dev/sda1 /mnt/sysimage/boot/
[anaconda root@localhost ~]# mount -v -o bind /dev /mnt/sysimage/dev/
mount: /dev bound on /mnt/sysimage/dev.
[anaconda root@localhost ~]# mount -v -o bind /run /mnt/sysimage/run/
mount: /run bound on /mnt/sysimage/run.
[anaconda root@localhost ~]# mount -v -t proc proc /mnt/sysimage/proc/
mount: proc mounted on /mnt/sysimage/proc.
[anaconda root@localhost ~]# mount -v -t sysfs sys /mnt/sysimage/sys/
mount: sys mounted on /mnt/sysimage/sys.

Now ready for the actual install. For this install I just went with a small set of packages (I’ll use yum once the system is up to add on what I want later).

[anaconda root@localhost ~]# yum install -y --installroot=/mnt/sysimage \
                                @core @standard kernel grub2 grub2-tools btrfs-progs

After the install there are a few housekeeping items to take care of. I started with populating crypttab, populating fstab, changing the root password, and touching /.autorelabel to trigger an selinux relabel on first boot:

[anaconda root@localhost ~]# chroot /mnt/sysimage/
[anaconda root@localhost /]# cat <<EOF > /etc/crypttab
cryptoswap  /dev/sda2   /dev/urandom    swap
cryptoroot  /dev/sda3   -
[anaconda root@localhost /]# cat <<EOF > /etc/fstab
LABEL=boot             /boot  btrfs    defaults        1 2
/dev/mapper/cryptoswap swap   swap     defaults        0 0
/dev/mapper/cryptoroot /      btrfs    defaults        1 1
[anaconda root@localhost /]# passwd --stdin root <<< "password"
Changing password for user root.
passwd: all authentication tokens updated successfully.
[anaconda root@localhost /]# touch /.autorelabel

Next I needed to install grub and make a config file. I set the grub kernel command line arguments and then generated a config. The config needed some fixing up (I am not using EFI on my system, but grub2-mkconfig thought I was because I had booted through EFI off of the install CD).

[anaconda root@localhost /]# echo 'GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX="ro root=/dev/mapper/cryptoroot"' > /etc/default/grub
[anaconda root@localhost /]# grub2-mkconfig -o /boot/grub2/grub.cfg 
Generating grub.cfg ...
Found linux image: /boot/vmlinuz-3.11.10-301.fc20.x86_64
Found initrd image: /boot/initramfs-3.11.10-301.fc20.x86_64.img
Found linux image: /boot/vmlinuz-0-rescue-81c04e9030594ef6a5265a95f58ccf98
Found initrd image: /boot/initramfs-0-rescue-81c04e9030594ef6a5265a95f58ccf98.img
[anaconda root@localhost /]# sed -i s/linuxefi/linux/ /boot/grub2/grub.cfg
[anaconda root@localhost /]# sed -i s/initrdefi/initrd/ /boot/grub2/grub.cfg
[anaconda root@localhost /]# grub2-install -d /usr/lib/grub/i386-pc/ /dev/sda
Installation finished. No error reported.

NOTE: grub2-mkconfig didn’t find my windows partition until I rebooted into the system and ran it again.

Finally I re-executed dracut to pick up the crypttab, exited the chroot, unmounted the filesystems, and rebooted into my new system:

[anaconda root@localhost /]# dracut --kver 3.11.10-301.fc20.x86_64 --force
[anaconda root@localhost /]# exit
[anaconda root@localhost ~]# umount /mnt/sysimage/{boot,dev,run,sys,proc}
[anaconda root@localhost ~]# reboot

After booting into Fedora I was then able to run grub2-mkconfig again and get it to recognize my (untouched) Windows partition:

[root@localhost /]# grub2-mkconfig -o /boot/grub2/grub.cfg
Generating grub.cfg ...
Found linux image: /boot/vmlinuz-3.11.10-301.fc20.x86_64
Found initrd image: /boot/initramfs-3.11.10-301.fc20.x86_64.img
Found linux image: /boot/vmlinuz-0-rescue-375c7019484a45838666c572d241249a
Found initrd image: /boot/initramfs-0-rescue-375c7019484a45838666c572d241249a.img
Found Windows 7 (loader) on /dev/sda4

And that’s pretty much it. Using this method you can have virtually any hard drive setup that you desire. Hope someone else can find this useful.


P.S. You can start sshd in anaconda by running systemctl start anaconda-sshd.service.