Curtin Configuration

Curtin exposes a number of configuration options for controlling Curtin behavior during installation.

Configuration options

Curtin’s top level config keys are as follows:

  • apt_mirrors (apt_mirrors)
  • apt_proxy (apt_proxy)
  • block-meta (block)
  • curthooks (curthooks)
  • debconf_selections (debconf_selections)
  • disable_overlayroot (disable_overlayroot)
  • grub (grub)
  • http_proxy (http_proxy)
  • install (install)
  • kernel (kernel)
  • kexec (kexec)
  • multipath (multipath)
  • network (network)
  • pollinate (pollinate)
  • power_state (power_state)
  • proxy (proxy)
  • reporting (reporting)
  • restore_dist_interfaces: (restore_dist_interfaces)
  • sources (sources)
  • stages (stages)
  • storage (storage)
  • swap (swap)
  • system_upgrade (system_upgrade)
  • write_files (write_files)


Configure APT mirrors for ubuntu_archive and ubuntu_security

ubuntu_archive: <http://local.archive/ubuntu>

ubuntu_security: <http://local.archive/ubuntu>

If the target OS includes /etc/apt/sources.list, Curtin will replace the default values for each key set with the supplied mirror URL.


  ubuntu_archive: http://local.archive/ubuntu
  ubuntu_security: http://local.archive/ubuntu


Curtin will configure an APT HTTP proxy in the target OS

apt_proxy: <URL to APT proxy>


apt_proxy: http://squid.mirror:3267/


Configure how Curtin selects and configures disks on the target system without providing a custom configuration (mode=simple).

devices: <List of block devices for use>

The devices parameter is a list of block device paths that Curtin may select from with choosing where to install the OS.

boot-partition: <dictionary of configuration>

The boot-partition parameter controls how to configure the boot partition with the following parameters:

enabled: <boolean>

Enabled will forcibly setup a partition on the target device for booting.

format: <[‘uefi’, ‘gpt’, ‘prep’, ‘mbr’]>

Specify the partition format. Some formats, like uefi and prep are restricted by platform characteristics.

fstype: <filesystem type: one of [‘ext3’, ‘ext4’], defaults to ‘ext4’>

Specify the filesystem format on the boot partition.

label: <filesystem label: defaults to ‘boot’>

Specify the filesystem label on the boot partition.


      - /dev/sda
      - /dev/sdb
      - enabled: True
        format: gpt
        fstype: ext4
        label: my-boot-partition


Configure how Curtin determines what Curthooks / New OS Support to run during the installation process.

mode: <[‘auto’, ‘builtin’, ‘target’]>

The default mode is auto.

In auto mode, curtin will execute curthooks within the image if present. For images without curthooks inside, curtin will execute its built-in hooks.

Currently the built-in curthooks support the following OS families:

  • Ubuntu
  • Centos

When specifying builtin, curtin will only run the curthooks present in Curtin ignoring any curthooks that may be present in the target operating system.

When specifying target, curtin will attempt run the curthooks in the target operating system. If the target does NOT contain any curthooks, then the built-in curthooks will be run instead.

Any errors during execution of curthooks (built-in or target) will fail the installation.


# ignore any target curthooks
  mode: builtin

# Only run target curthooks, fall back to built-in
  mode: target


Curtin will update the target with debconf set-selection values. Users will need to be familiar with the package debconf options. Users can probe a packages’ debconf settings by using debconf-get-selections.

selection_name: <debconf-set-selections input>

debconf-set-selections is in the form:

<packagename> <packagename/option-name> <type> <value>


  set1: |
    cloud-init cloud-init/datasources multiselect MAAS
    lxd lxd/bridge-name string lxdbr0
  set2: lxd lxd/setup-bridge boolean true


Curtin disables overlayroot in the target by default.

disable_overlayroot: <boolean: default True>


disable_overlayroot: False


Curtin configures grub as the target machine’s boot loader. Users can control a few options to tailor how the system will boot after installation.

install_devices: <list of block device names to install grub>

Specify a list of devices onto which grub will attempt to install.

replace_linux_default: <boolean: default True>

Controls whether grub-install will update the Linux Default target value during installation.

update_nvram: <boolean: default True>

Certain platforms, like uefi and prep systems utilize NVRAM to hold boot configuration settings which control the order in which devices are booted. Curtin by default will enable NVRAM updates to boot configuration settings. Users may disable NVRAM updates by setting the update_nvram value to False.

probe_additional_os: <boolean: default False>

This setting controls grub’s os-prober functionality and Curtin will disable this feature by default to prevent grub from searching for other operating systems and adding them to the grub menu.

When False, curtin writes “GRUB_DISABLE_OS_PROBER=true” to target system in /etc/default/grub.d/50-curtin-settings.cfg. If True, curtin won’t modify the grub configuration value in the target system.

terminal: <[‘unmodified’, ‘console’, …]>

Configure target system grub option GRUB_TERMINAL terminal value which is written to /etc/default/grub.d/50-curtin-settings.cfg. Curtin does not attempt to validate this string, grub2 has many values that it accepts and the list is platform dependent. If terminal is not provided, Curtin will set the value to ‘console’. If the terminal value is ‘unmodified’ then Curtin will not set any value at all and will use Grub defaults.

reorder_uefi: <boolean: default True>

Curtin is typically used with MAAS where the systems are configured to boot from the network leaving MAAS in control. On UEFI systems, after installing a bootloader the systems BootOrder may be updated to boot from the new entry. This breaks MAAS control over the system as all subsequent reboots of the node will no longer boot over the network. Therefore, if reorder_uefi is True curtin will modify the UEFI BootOrder settings to place the currently booted entry (BootCurrent) to the first option after installing the new target OS into the UEFI boot menu. The result is that the system will boot from the same device that it booted to run curtin; for MAAS this will be a network device.

On some UEFI systems the BootCurrent entry may not be present. This can cause a system to not boot to the same device that it was previously booting. If BootCurrent is not present, curtin will update the BootOrder such that all Network related entries are placed before the newly installed boot entry and all other entries are placed at the end. This enables the system to network boot first and on failure will boot the most recently installed entry.

This setting is ignored if update_nvram is False.

reorder_uefi_force_fallback: <boolean: default False>

The fallback reodering mechanism is only active if BootCurrent is not present in the efibootmgr output. The fallback reordering method may be enabled even if BootCurrent is present if reorder_uefi_force_fallback is True.

This setting is ignored if update_nvram or reorder_uefi are False.

remove_duplicate_entries: <boolean: default True>

When curtin updates UEFI NVRAM it will remove duplicate entries that are present in the UEFI menu. If you do not wish for curtin to remove duplicate entries setting remove_duplicate_entries to False.

This setting is ignored if update_nvram is False.


     - /dev/sda1
   replace_linux_default: False
   update_nvram: True
   terminal: serial
   remove_duplicate_entries: True

Default terminal value, GRUB_TERMINAL=console:

     - /dev/sda1

Don’t set GRUB_TERMINAL in target:

     - /dev/sda1
   terminal: unmodified

Allow grub to probe for additional OSes:

    - /dev/sda1
   probe_additional_os: True

Avoid writting any settings to etc/default/grub.d/50-curtin-settings.cfg:

    - /dev/sda1
   probe_additional_os: True
   terminal: unmodified

Enable Fallback UEFI Reordering:

   reorder_uefi: true
   reorder_uefi_force_fallback: true


Curtin will export http_proxy value into the installer environment. Deprecated: This setting is deprecated in favor of proxy below.

http_proxy: <HTTP Proxy URL>


http_proxy: http://squid.proxy:3728/


Configure Curtin’s install options.

log_file: <path to write Curtin’s install.log data>

Curtin logs install progress by default to /var/log/curtin/install.log

log_file_append: <boolean>

By default, curtin install will truncate the install log file (if it already exists). Setting log_file_append to true will cause curtin to open the file in append mode instead.

error_tarfile: <path to write a tar of Curtin’s log and configuration data in the event of an error>

If error_tarfile is not None and curtin encounters an error, this tarfile will be created. It includes logs, configuration and system info to aid triage and bug filing. When unset, error_tarfile defaults to /var/log/curtin/curtin-logs.tar.

post_files: <List of files to read from host to include in reporting data>

Curtin by default will post the log_file value to any configured reporter.

save_install_config: <Path to save merged curtin configuration file>

Curtin will save the merged configuration data into the target OS at the path of save_install_config. This defaults to /root/curtin-install-cfg.yaml

save_install_logs: <Path to save curtin install log>

Curtin will copy the install log to a specific path in the target filesystem. This defaults to /root/install.log

target: <path to mount install target>

Control where curtin mounts the target device for installing the OS. If this value is unset, curtin picks a suitable path under a temporary directory. If a value is set, then curtin will utilize the target value instead.

unmount: disabled

If this key is set to the string ‘disabled’ then curtin will not unmount the target filesystem when install is complete. This skips unmounting in all cases of install success or failure.

resume_data: <path where to load or store the data needed to resume>

If specified and the file exists, curtin will load the data to resume an installation that has already been initiated. The target directory will not be expected to be empty.

If the file does not exist, curtin will create it and store the necessary data so that one can resume the installation and run further stages later.

extra_rsync_args: list of extra arguments

Additional arguments to pass to rsync when copying files to the target system.


   log_file: /tmp/install.log
   error_tarfile: /var/log/curtin/curtin-error-logs.tar
     - /tmp/install.log
     - /var/log/syslog
   save_install_config: /root/myconf.yaml
   save_install_log: /var/log/curtin-install.log
   target: /my_mount_point
   unmount: disabled


Configure how Curtin selects which kernel to install into the target image. If kernel is not configured, Curtin will use the default mapping below and determine which package value by looking up the current release and current kernel version running.

fallback-package: <kernel package-name to be used as fallback>

Specify a kernel package name to be used if the default package is not available.

mapping: <Dictionary mapping Ubuntu release to HWE kernel names>

Default mapping for Releases to package names is as follows:

   3.5.0: -lts-quantal
   3.8.0: -lts-raring
   3.11.0: -lts-saucy
   3.13.0: -lts-trusty
   3.16.0: -lts-utopic
   3.19.0: -lts-vivid
   4.2.0: -lts-wily
   4.4.0: -lts-xenial

package: <Linux kernel package name>

Specify the exact package to install in the target OS.


  fallback-package: linux-image-generic
  package: linux-image-generic-lts-xenial
    - xenial:
      - 4.4.0: -my-custom-kernel


Curtin can use kexec to “reboot” into the target OS.

mode: <on>

Enable rebooting with kexec.


  mode: "on"


Curtin will detect and autoconfigure multipath by default to enable boot for systems with multipath. Curtin does not apply any advanced configuration or tuning, rather it uses distro defaults and provides enough configuration to enable booting.

mode: <[‘auto’, [‘disabled’]>

Defaults to auto which will configure enough to enable booting on multipath devices. Disabled will prevent curtin from installing or configuring multipath.

overwrite_bindings: <boolean>

If overwrite_bindings is True then Curtin will generate new bindings file for multipath, overriding any existing binding in the target image.


    mode: auto
    overwrite_bindings: True


Configure networking (see Networking section for details).

network_option_1: <option value>


   version: 1
     - type: physical
       name: eth0
       mac_address: "c0:d6:9f:2c:e8:80"
         - type: dhcp4


Configure pollinate user-agent

Curtin will automatically include Curtin’s version in the pollinate user-agent. If a MAAS server is being used, Curtin will query the MAAS version and include this value as well.

user_agent: [<mapping> | <boolean>]

Mapping is a dictionary of key value pairs which will result in the string ‘key/value’ being present in the pollinate user-agent string sent to the pollen server.

Setting the user_agent value to false will disable writting of the user-agent string.


       curtin: 17.1-33-g92fbc491
       maas: 2.1.5+bzr5596-0ubuntu1
       machine: bob27
       app: 63.12

   user_agent: false


Curtin can configure the target machine into a specific power state after completing an installation. Default is to do nothing.

delay: <Integer seconds to delay change in state>

Curtin will wait delay seconds before changing the power state.

mode: <New power state is one of: [halt, poweroff, reboot]>

Curtin will transition the node into one of the new states listed.

halt will stop a machine, but may not cut the power to the system. poweroff will stop a machine and request it shut off the power. reboot will perform a platform reset.

message: <message string>

The message string will be broadcast to system consoles prior to power state change.


  mode: poweroff
  delay: 5
  message: Bye Bye


Curtin will put http_proxy, https_proxy and no_proxy into its install environment. This is in affect for curtin’s process and subprocesses.

proxy: A dictionary containing http_proxy, https_proxy, and no_proxy.


  http_proxy: http://squid.proxy:3728/
  https_proxy: http://squid.proxy:3728/
  no_proxy: localhost,,


Configure installation reporting (see Reporting section for details).


    level: DEBUG
    type: webhook
    endpoint: http://localhost:8000/


Curtin can restore a copy of /etc/network/interfaces built in to cloud images.

restore_dist_interfaces: <boolean>

If True, then Curtin will restore the interfaces file into the target.


restore_dist_interfaces: True


Specify the root image to install on to the target system. The URI also configures the method used to copy the image to the target system.

sources: <List of source URIs>

source URI may be one of:

  • dd-: Use dd command to write image to target.
  • cp://: Use rsync command to copy source directory to target.
  • file://: Use tar command to extract source to target.
  • squashfs://: Mount squashfs image and copy contents to target.
  • http[s]://: Use wget | tar commands to extract source to target.
  • fsimage:// mount filesystem image and copy contents to target. Local file or url are supported. Filesystem can be any filesystem type mountable by the running kernel.
  • fsimage-layered:// mount layered filesystem image and copy contents to target. A fsimage-layered install source is a string representing one or more mountable images from a single local or remote directory. The string is dot-separated where each value between the dots represents a particular image and the location of the name within the string encodes the order in which it is to be mounted. The resulting list of images are downloaded (if needed) then mounted and overlayed into a single directory which is used as the source for installation.

Image Name Pattern

[[<parent_layer>.]…]<layer name>.<file extension pattern>



Layer Dependencies

Layers are parts of the name seperated by dots. Any layer in the name will be included as a dependency. The file extension pattern is used to find related layers.


Base use case:

├── main.squashfs
├── main.upper.squashfs
└── main.upper.debug.squashfs

source=’fsimage-layered://images/main.squashfs’ -> images=’/images/main.squashfs’ source=’fsimage-layered://images/main.upper.squashfs’ -> images=’/images/main.upper.squashfs, /images/main.squashfs’ source=’fsimage-layered://images/main.upper.debug.squashfs’ -> images=’/images/main.upper.debug.squashfs, /images/main.upper.squashfs, /images/main.squashfs’

Multiple extensions:

├── main.squashfs
├── main.img
├── main.upper.squashfs
├── main.upper.img
└── main.upper.debug.squashfs

source=’fsimage-layered://images/main.upper.squashfs’ -> images=’/images/main.upper.squashfs, /images/main.squashfs’ source=’fsimage-layered://images/main.upper.img’ -> images=’/images/main.upper.img, /images/main.img’

Missing intermediary layer:

├── main.squashfs
└── main.upper.debug.squashfs

If there is a missing image in the path to a leaf, an error will be raised

source=’fsimage-layered://images/main.squashfs’ -> images=’/images/main.squashfs’ source=’fsimage-layered://images/main.upper.debug.squashfs’ -> Raised Error’

Remote Layers:

The URI passed to fsimage-layered may be on a remote system. Curtin will parse the URI and then download each layer from the remote system. This results in Curtin downloading the following URLs:


Example Cloud-image:


Example Custom DD image:

  - dd-img: https://localhost/raw_images/centos-6-3.img

Example Copy from booted environment:

  - cp:///
Example squashfs from NFS mount::
  • squashfs:///media/filesystem.squashfs

Example Copy from local tarball:

  - file:///tmp/root.tar.gz


Curtin installation executes in stages. At each stage, Curtin will look for a list of commands to run by reading in from the Curtin config <stage_name>_commands which is a dictionary and each key contains a list of commands to run. Users may override the stages value to control what curtin stages execute. During each stage, the commands are executed in C Locale sort order. Users should name keys in a NN-XXX format where NN is a two-digit number to exercise control over execution order.

The following stages are defined in Curtin and run by default.

  • early: Preparing for Installation

This stage runs before any actions are taken for installation. By default this stage does nothing.

  • partitioning: Select and partition disks for installation

This stage runs curtin block-meta simple by default.

  • network: Probe and configure networking

This stage runs curtin net-meta auto by default.

  • extract: Writing install sources to disk

This stage runs curtin extract by default.

  • curthooks: Configuring installed system

This stage runs curtin curthooks by default.

  • hooks: Finalizing installation

This stage runs curtin hook by default.

  • late: Executing late commands

This stage runs after Curtin has completed the installation. By default this stage does nothing.

Example Custom Stages:

# Skip the whole install and just run `mystage`
stages: ['early', 'late', 'mystage']
   00-cmd: ['/usr/bin/foo']

Example Early and Late commands:

    99-cmd:  ['echo', 'I ran last']
    00-cmd:  ['echo', 'I ran first']
    50-cmd: ['curtin', 'in-target' '--', 'touch', '/etc/disable_overlayroot']


Curtin can configure a swapfile on the filesystem in the target system. Size settings can be integer or string values with suffix. Curtin supports the following suffixes which multiply the value.

  • B: 1
  • K[B]: 1 << 10
  • M[B]: 1 << 20
  • G[B]: 1 << 30
  • T[B]: 1 << 40

Curtin will use a heuristic to configure the swapfile size if the size parameter is not set to a specific value. The maxsize sets the upper bound of the heuristic calculation.

filename: <path to swap file>

Configure the filename of the swap file. Defaults to /swap.img

maxsize: <Size string>

Configure the max size of the swapfile, defaults to 8GB

size: <Size string>

Configure the exact size of the swapfile. Setting size to 0 will disable swap.

force: <boolean>

Force the creation of swapfile even if curtin detects it may not work. In some target filesystems, e.g. btrfs, xfs, zfs, the use of a swap file has restrictions. If curtin detects that there may be issues it will refuse to create the swapfile. Users can force creation of a swapfile by passing force: true. A forced swapfile may not be used by the target OS and could log cause an error.


  filename: swap.img
  size: 1GB
  maxsize: 4GB

  filename: btrfs_swapfile.img
  size: 1GB
  force: true


Control if Curtin runs dist-upgrade in target after install. Defaults to False.

enabled: <boolean>


  enabled: False


Curtin supports writing out arbitrary data to a file. write_files accepts a dictionary of entries formatted as follows:

path: <path and filename to save content>

Specify the name and location of where to write the content.

permissions: <Unix permission string>

Specify the permissions mode as an integer or string of numbers.

content: <data>

Specify the content.


    path: /file1
    content: !!binary |
  f2: {path: /file2, content: "foobar", permissions: '0666'}