Configuration Files

The configuration files are a means to customize the conversion process for mender-convert. In the configs/ directory, there are customization scripts which add support for board-specific configurations. A run of mender-convert can include multiple configuration files, each one added with the --config command-line option. The standard configuration configs/mender_convert_config includes the defaults for the configuration options which the tool supports.


An example application of using a configuration file can be enabling lzma compression for the Raspberry Pi 3:

echo 'MENDER_ARTIFACT_COMPRESSION=lzma' >> configs/custom_config

Call docker-mender-convert and provide your custom configuration file using the --config option:

MENDER_ARTIFACT_NAME=release-1 ./docker-mender-convert \
  --disk-image input/<image-to-convert.img> \
  --config configs/raspberrypi3_config \
  --config configs/custom_config

Configuration files are also a means to add customization that might be necessary for specific devices or distributions.

Pre-release versions

If you want to use pre-release versions of the Mender components, please see the Variables section, and especially the variables that contain VERSION.


The mender-convert tool supports the addition of user hooks to override, or add to some specific part of the modification process. There are two hook interfaces: List based hooks and function hooks.

List based hooks

The list based hooks modify the image contents, or post-process the binary image after its creation (but before compression). For example, create a file configs/custom_config, and add this content to it:

remove_apt_cache_from_filesystem() {
    log_info "Remove apt cache on device to save space."
    run_and_log_cmd "sudo rm -rf work/var/cache/apt"

embed_bootloader_in_image() {
    log_info "Embedding bootloader in disk image"
    run_and_log_cmd "dd if=work/bootloader.img of=${img_path} \
        seek=64 conv=notrunc status=none"

When calling mender-convert, enable the hooks by using the --config argument to supply the custom_config file:

MENDER_ARTIFACT_NAME=release-1 ./docker-mender-convert \
  --disk-image input/<image-to-convert.img> \
  --config configs/raspberrypi3_config \
  --config configs/custom_config

These four variables hold lists of hooks:

  • PLATFORM_MODIFY_HOOKS - Run after the filesystem is prepared, but before the image is created.
  • OVERLAY_MODIFY_HOOKS - Run after overlays application.
  • PLATFORM_PACKAGE_HOOKS - Run after image creation, but before compression and bmap creation.

Note that the variables come with default values of PLATFORM_MODIFY_HOOKS=(platform_modify), USER_LOCAL_MODIFY_HOOKS=(user_local_modify), OVERLAY_MODIFY_HOOKS=(overlay_modify) and PLATFORM_PACKAGE_HOOKS=(platform_package) . This is because the platform_modify, user_local_modify, overlay_modify and platform_package function overrides were the only way to specify hooks in mender-convert 2.0.

Function override hook

There is only one function override hook in mender-convert: mender_create_artifact. This is used to override the command which creates Mender Artifacts from the rootfs image. Just define the function in a custom config file to use the hook. A good starting point is the standard function found in the standard configuration file configs/mender_convert_config.

An example of overriding the mender_create_artifact hook is provided below.

Create a custom configuration file with a custom implementation of mender_create_artifact:

cat <<- EOF >> configs/custom_config
mender_create_artifact() {
  local -r device_type="${1}"
  local -r artifact_name="${2}"
  log_info "Running custom implementation of the 'mender_create_artifact' hook"
  log_info "Writing Mender artifact to: ${mender_artifact}"
  log_info "This can take up to 20 minutes depending on which compression method is used"
  run_and_log_cmd "mender-artifact --compression ${MENDER_ARTIFACT_COMPRESSION} \
      write rootfs-image \
      --key <path/to/private-key> \
      --file work/rootfs.img \
      --output-path ${mender_artifact} \
      --artifact-name ${artifact_name} \
      --device-type ${device_type}"

Call docker-mender-convert and provide your custom configuration file using the --config option:

MENDER_ARTIFACT_NAME=release-1 ./docker-mender-convert \
  --disk-image input/<image-to-convert.img> \
  --config configs/raspberrypi3_config \
  --config configs/custom_config

This should trigger the provided mender_create_artifact implementation in configs/custom_config.

Rootfs overlays

The "rootfs-overlay" is a method for providing new and modified files to appear in the output image without needing to modify the input image. Adding a file, such as /etc/mender/mender.conf, to your "rootfs-overlay" will allow you customize the files that are included in the output images.


One example of a overlay-rootfs addition can be found in the rootfs-overlay-demo directory, which, after running the server setup script (see Configure the Mender client server configuration) contains:

└── etc
    ├── hosts
    └── mender
        ├── mender.conf
        └── server.crt

The files and folders shown above will become a part of the final filesystem available to the device on boot

If the final image needs application configurations and additions, this is the recommended way of doing it.

When invoking mender-convert, pass the --overlay argument with the name of the overlay directory:

# prepare overlay
mkdir -p input/rootfs_overlay_demo
cp -r rootfs_overlay_demo/* input/rootfs_overlay_demo/

# run conversion
MENDER_ARTIFACT_NAME=release-1 ./docker-mender-convert \
    --disk-image input/golden-image-1.img \
    --config configs/raspberrypi3_config \
    --overlay input/rootfs_overlay_demo/

When passing multiple overlays mender-convert applies each overlay in the order of which they were passed. Consequently, an overlay will override identically pathed files from priorly passed overlays.

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