Installing Silverblue, side-by-side

Some users have reported issues when trying to install Silverblue side-by-side. Please report any issues you may encounter on the Silverblue Forums.

A really neat feature of OSTree is that you can parallel install inside your existing OS' filesystem. Let’s try that, we first make sure we have the ostree packages:

yum -y install ostree ostree-grub2

Before proceeding further, make sure that you have enough space in your root filesystem. The recommended minimum is 10GB (the Silverblue repo we are going to pull takes ~7GB on disk). Note that ostree will refuse to continue if you go below 3% of free space, so there’s no risk of actually running out of space.

Next, we add /ostree/repo to the filesystem:

ostree admin init-fs /

Add a remote which points to the Silverblue content:

ostree remote add --set=gpgkeypath=/etc/pki/rpm-gpg/RPM-GPG-KEY-fedora-29-primary fedora --set=contenturl=mirrorlist=

If you do not have the Fedora 29 GPG primary key, you can get it from Alternatively, if you really need to, you can turn off GPG verification using the --no-gpg-verify option.

Pull down the content (you can interrupt and restart this):

ostree --repo=/ostree/repo pull fedora:fedora/29/x86_64/silverblue

Initialize an OS for this, which acts as a state root.

ostree admin os-init fedora

For EFI systems: currently ostree uses the presence of /boot/grub2/grub.cfg to detect a BIOS system, but that can be present on systems booted with EFI as well. If you boot with EFI (/sys/firmware/efi exists), then you need to move /boot/grub2/grub.cfg aside:

mv /boot/grub2/grub.cfg /boot/grub2/grub.cfg.bak

Since this file is not used on a EFI system, this won’t break the operation of your current system. While you are at it, back up your existing grub config:

cp /boot/efi/EFI/fedora/grub.cfg /boot/efi/EFI/fedora/grub.cfg.bak

And now, we can deploy the commit we just pulled down. The --karg-proc-cmdline switch will ensure that the current kernel arguments you used for the current boot will also apply to the OSTree boot.

ostree admin deploy --os=fedora --karg-proc-cmdline atomic:fedora/29/x86_64/silverblue

To initialize this root, you’ll need to copy over your /etc/fstab, /etc/locale.conf, /etc/default/grub at least, along with the ostree remote that we added:

for i in /etc/fstab /etc/default/grub /etc/locale.conf /etc/ostree/remotes.d/atomic.conf ; do cp $i /ostree/deploy/fedora/deploy/$checksum.0/$i; done

where $checksum is whatever the checksum of the deployment is; there should only be a single directory there if this is your first deployment.

If you have a separate /home mount point, you’ll need to change that fstab copy to refer to /var/home. If you don’t have a separate /home mount point, then you need to make sure that a symlink will be created:

echo 'L /var/home - - - - ../sysroot/home' > /ostree/deploy/fedora/deploy/$checksum.0/etc/tmpfiles.d/00rpm-ostree.conf

You’ll also need to copy your user entry from /etc/passwd, /etc/group, and /etc/shadow into the new /etc/, and add yourself to the wheel group in /etc/group. Don’t copy just copy these files literally, however, since the system users and groups won’t be the same.

For BIOS systems: while ostree regenerated the bootloader configuration, it writes config into /boot/loader/grub.cfg. On a current grubby system, you’ll need to copy that version over:

cp /boot/loader/grub.cfg /boot/grub2/grub.cfg

Note that you will have to repeat this every time a new tree is created, so it may be more convenient to just create a symlink:

cd /boot/grub2
rm grub.cfg
ln -s ../loader/grub.cfg .