How do I deploy a custom ISO?

Linode Staff

I need to deploy a distribution not listed within the Linode manager. How can I do this?

7 Replies

You absolutely can install your own custom distribution. Here is a guide that will show you how.

Our entire fleet is now running on KVM which gives a variety of benefits that will help you when running a custom distribution.

Direct Disk Boot: Direct disk booting allows you to boot from any disk with a Master Boot Record (MBR). This can be especially useful for operating systems that do not make use of the Grub bootloader, such as FreeBSD.

Full Virtualization: Our KVM hypervisor offers a full virtualization option that simulates the experience of running directly from hardware. This can be useful for non-standard configurations.

Glish: KVM introduces the Glish graphical console, which makes it easy to access your distribution’s installer directly from a disk.

If you need anything else let us know!


hi, i've tried to follow the guide

but it's not clear. While booting the instance into rescue mode, you cannot just download the image to the Installer partition (/dev/sda) as it should be formatted to an valid fs type.

Can you please clear this? Also tried formatting the partition as ext4 but was not bootable after the iso download.


The guide works, though admittedly the configuration profile section does confuse some people - it would probably be easier to figure out what's going wrong if you can specify the exact steps you took, as well as any error messages you encountered.

I've followed until :

Download and Install ImagePermalink

Boot into Rescue Mode with your Installer disk mounted to /dev/sda, and connect to your Linode using the Lish Console.

Once in Rescue Mode, download your installation media and copy it to your Installer disk. In this example we’re using the Debian network installer, but you can replace the URL in the first command with the location of the image you want to install:


Here I tried to mount de partition /dev/sda on /media/sda (I created the directory sda under /media to mount the patition). And it shows the following error message :

root@ttyS0:~# mount /dev/sda /media/sda
mount: /dev/sda is write-protected, mounting read-only
NTFS signature is missing.
Failed to mount '/dev/sda': Invalid argument
The device '/dev/sda' doesn't seem to have a valid NTFS.
Maybe the wrong device is used? Or the whole disk instead of a
partition (e.g. /dev/sda, not /dev/sda1)? Or the other way around?

My doubt is here should i format the partition /dev/sda? If yes, which type should i format it (ext3, ntfs, ext4, etc…)?

If the device is not formatted it's not possible to download the iso image:

wget | dd of=/dev/sda

as the download is being stored in the current path : /root

and the download fails as no space left in the filesystem.

What should I do after i boot the instance in rescue mode and which steps should i follow in order to download the image in /dev/sda ?


hi any update? need an urgent advice on this. please help

I get the feeling that you're misunderstanding this line:

Boot into Rescue Mode with your Installer disk mounted to /dev/sda, and connect to your Linode using the Lish Console.

You don't need to run the mount command here - this instruction is just meant to ensure that you've selected the Installer disk for the /dev/sda mount point. It's referring to the order that disks are assigned in the "Rescue" tab:

Once you've booted into finnix correctly, you should be able to run:

curl | dd of=/dev/sda

That's very dumb way to provide custom installations. Other VPS providers also allowing custom ISOs and QCOW files. And they have pretty much identical feature set compared to Linode. Why you don't want your customers to install Custom OSes easily? That thing really annoys me and I'm not gonna give any money to Linode unless iso,qcow mounting is available.


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