mkinitrd - description of modular scripts layout


(not applicable)


mkinitrd creates initial ramdisk images for booting Linux. It is designed to be modular, so that functionality required by other programs can be maintained in separate scripts.


All files are located in the directory /lib/mkinitrd. The directory has the following layout:


External program required during boot


Additional devices nodes to be copied into the mkinitrd.


Repository for mkinitrd scripts


Resolved links for scripts to be executed during creation of the initrd


Resolved links for scripts to be executed during boot.


The directory /lib/mkinitrd/scripts is the repository for all mkinitrd scripts. They follow the naming convention


<type> can be either setup for scripts to be called during initrd creation or boot for scripts to be called during boot. The <name> for a script serves as an identification for the implemented feature; it is assumed that scripts named and both refer to the feature foo.


The directories /lib/mkinitrd/setup and /lib/mkinitrd/boot hold the resolved symlinks to the scripts in the mkinitrd repository. The symlinks have the naming convention


where <number> determines the execution order (lower numbers will be executed earlier) and <name> is the names of the script as mentioned in the previous section. The symlinks are maintained by the program /sbin/mkinitrd_setup which evaluates the tags in the scripts and creates symlinks with the correct name. Manual maintenance in the /lib/mkinitrd/setup or /lib/mkinitrd/boot directories are strongly discouraged, as any call to /sbin/mkinitrd_setup will remove the manually created links.


The execution order of the mkinitrd scripts is determined by keywords. The following keywords are recognized:

#%stage: <name>

The execution stage for this script

#%depends: <list>

Space-separated list of features or scripts names this script depends upon.

#%provides: <list>

Space-separated list of additional features provided by this script.


Don\(cqt show the script in the list of features displayed to the user.

#%programs: <list>

A (space separated) list of programs, specified by their full path, that should be included in the initrd.

NOTE: The path is the full path in the initrd, not in the system. mkinitrd tries to discover programs automatically, which means that programs in /sbin will be also searched in /usr/sbin and programs in /bin will be also searched in /usr/bin.

Libraries are automatically resolved by ldd(1). Please note that libraries that are loaded at runtime by dlopen(3) are not included automatically. They have to be copied manually.

#%modules: <list>

List of (space separated) kernel modules (only the name, no path, without suffix) that should be included in the initrd. The modules must be loaded in the corresponding boot script with load_modules.

#%udevmodules: <list>

List of (space separated) kernel modules (only the name, no path, without suffix) that should be included in the initrd but are loaded automatically with either udev or something else (like file system modules with mount).

Each script provides per default a feature with the script name, so that automatically provides a feature foo.

All dependend scripts (i.e. any feature listed in the #%depends: list) will be executed prior to this script.


Script execution is gouverned by stages. The stages define the overall execution order as each stage is executed sequentially. The defined stages are:


General preparation


Filesystem detection and maintenance


Handling of cryptographic volumes


Handling of LVM2 and EVMS volumes


Detection and setup of MD devices


Detection and setup of partitions.


Device-mapper devices presenting full disks, e.g. multipath and dmraid


Detection and setup of block devices.


Detection and setup of hardware devices


Final cleanups/preparation

During setup the stages are executed from setup to boot; during boot the stages are executed in reversed order. The stages itself are defined corresponding to the Novell Storage Foundation Layout. This induces some restrictions to the possible device setups, as e.g. MD over LVM is not supported.

The stages are executed sequentially. All scripts for a stage have to be executed before those for the next stage are evaluated. Within a stage scripts can run parallel where pos- sible.

As each stage serves as a checkpoint it is not possible to have dependencies across stages. So script foo in stage filesystem cannot depend on script bar in stage block.


New scripts should be copied to /lib/mkinitrd/scripts and the appropriate keywords should be inserted. Afterwards /sbin/mkinitrd_setup should be executed to update the symlinks in boot and setup.

For removal the scripts should be deleted and /sbin/mkinitrd_setup should be called to update the symlinks.


Steffen Winterfeldt <>, Susanne Oberhauser <>, Andreas Gr├╝nbacher <>, Hannes Reinecke <>, Alexander Graf <>, Bernhard Walle <>


/lib/mkinitrd /sbin/mkinitrd /sbin/mkinitrd_setup


Please report bugs and enhancement requests at


mkinitrd(8), lsinitrd(8)

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