Ubuntu ZFS Root

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Revision as of 16:43, 28 May 2017 by Mark Furneaux (Talk | contribs) (Created page with "Ubuntu does not support installing to a ZFS root filesystem as of 16.04. This guide serves as a workaround. ==Installation== #Boot a live USB #Setup the drive by running:<br>...")

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Ubuntu does not support installing to a ZFS root filesystem as of 16.04. This guide serves as a workaround.


  1. Boot a live USB
  2. Setup the drive by running:
    sgdisk -a1 -n2:34:2047 -t2:EF02 /dev/disk/by-id/ata-DISK
  3. Use parted/gparted to create the rest of the partition table
  4. Run:
    apt update
    apt install zfsutils-linux
    zpool create -f -o ashift=12 -O compression=lz4 -O xattr=sa -O mountpoint=none rootpool /dev/disk/by-id/ata-DISK-partN
    zfs create -V 10G rootpool/tempdisk
    zfs create mountpoint=none rootpool/ROOT
    zfs create mountpoint=/ rootpool/ROOT/hostname
    zpool export rootpool
    zpool import rootpool -R /mnt
    zfs create rootpool/ROOT/hostname/boot
    zfs create rootpool/ROOT/hostname/etc
    zfs create rootpool/ROOT/hostname/home
    zfs create rootpool/ROOT/hostname/tmp
    zfs create rootpool/ROOT/hostname/usr
    zfs create rootpool/ROOT/hostname/var
    zpool set bootfs=rootpool/ROOT/hostname
  5. Run the installer, selecting /dev/zd0 as the install drive with an ext4 partiton. The bootloader should be set for installation on /dev/zd0. The bootloader install will fail. Continue without a bootloader. Do not reboot once the install is finished.
  6. Run:
    mkdir temp
    mount /dev/zd0p1 temp
    rsync -aAXvH temp/* /mnt --exclude={/dev/*,/proc/*,/sys/*,/tmp/*,/run/*,/mnt/*,/media/*,/lost+found}
    for i in /dev /dev/pts /proc /sys /run; do sudo mount -B $i /mnt$i; done
    chroot /mnt
    apt install zfs-initramfs
    ln -s /dev/disk/by-id/ata-DISK-partN /dev/ata-DISK-partN
    grub-install /dev/disk/by-id/ata-DISK
  7. Remove any entries in /etc/fstab referencing the previous temporary root filesystem
  8. Add "boot=zfs" to /etc/default/grub under GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX
  9. Install your custom kernel and ZFS modules at this point. It appears that the Ubuntu stock modules will not boot properly. Something along the lines of:
    apt install linux-image-4.9* linux-headers-4.9* linux-firmware-image-4.9* kmod-spl-4.9* kmod-zfs-4.9* zfs zfs-initramfs
    depmod -a
    You may need to run the apt command twice since it is in a chroot.
  10. Run:
    for i in /dev/pts /dev /proc /sys /run; do sudo umount /mnt$i; done
    umount temp
    zfs snapshot -r rootpool@factory
    zpool export rootpool