[arch-dev-public] New kernel packages and mkinitcpio hooks

Sébastien Luttringer seblu at seblu.net
Tue Nov 12 18:24:26 UTC 2019

On Mon, 2019-11-11 at 15:41 -0500, Eli Schwartz via arch-dev-public wrote:
> On 11/10/19 9:54 PM, Sébastien Luttringer via arch-dev-public wrote:
> As I said above, the documentation for kernel-install is pretty clear on
> its expected usage. It's a one-stop shop, it executes mkinitcpio or
> whatever other plugin you've installed for generating an initramfs, and
> it's totally 100% independent of the mkinitcpio hook.

Hi Eli,

Let me first agree on the clarity of kernel-install documentation. Its goal is
well summed in the man page NAME section: "Add and remove kernel and initramfs
images to and from /boot.

> ...
> Also, yes, kernel-install mandates the use of systemd-boot. 
No, kernel-install doesn't mandate use of systemd-boot.
It's a modular framework to make your machine bootable.
The default plugin, install kernel for systemd-boot which is different.

Since 2014, I use kernel-install[1] to manage kernel upgrades on over than 300
Arch servers. There is regular Arch kernels, custom versioned kernels, some are
booted with grub (uefi or not) others with systemd-boot.

> Meanwhile, mkinitcpio's presets and the kernel file which was
> historically installed by the linux package install directly to:
> /boot/vmlinuz-linux
> /boot/initramfs-linux.img
An Arch plugin of few lines could easily put the files in our historical
location. This are just examples [2][3].

> Under no circumstances can we unilaterally remove mkinitcpio presets and
> switch to kernel-install without a mandatory manual intervention for all
> (or most) archlinux users. 
We can easily switch to kernel-install, without user intervention, as it was
done with pacman hooks. Switching from mkinitcpio is another topic.

kernel-install runs a collection of scripts (hooks), with the systemd
overriding logic. There is no huge difference with the pacman hooks, except the
logic is cross distro, provided by systemd, and not tied to pacman.
Improvements can be shared. What it makes me prefer systemd kernel-install than
pacman hooks logic.


[1] https://git.seblu.net/archlinux/kernel-install-poc/

Sébastien Luttringer
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