Manually Installing carbonOS

Updated for 2022.1

Manually installing carbonOS from the command line gives you complete control over the parition layout of the system, and other install-time settings. This is useful, for instance, if you’d like to dual-boot carbonOS with another system, or if you’d like to use a different filesystem type. Please keep in mind, however, that only the default partition layout created by carbonOS’s basic installer is officially supported.

  1. Download the ISO Image
  2. Write the ISO to a USB flash drive, using dd, balenaEtcher, or similar software
  3. Boot your machine into the EFI firmware. Disable secure boot, and ensure that your USB drive has priority in the boot order
  4. Boot your machine from the USB drive.
  5. Select “Try or Install carbonOS” from the menu. You can select the ramdisk alternative if necessary (i.e. you want to remove the USB drive during installation), but I don’t recommend using the ramdisk unless you have at least 8GB of RAM.
  6. Once the system boots, follow the on-screen instructions until it asks you whether you want to try or install the OS. Select “Try”
  7. In the LiveOS session, bring up a terminal. You’ll need to use pkexec to give yourself root privilages
  8. Create & format your partitions/filesystems however you wish. carbonOS 2022.1 requires that the partition label of the root partition is carbon-root. This will change in future versions of the OS.
  9. Mount the partitions. I suggest doing this in /mnt
  10. Run updatectl init-os --sysroot=/path/to/mounted/sysroot /sysroot. This will copy carbonOS’s system files into your partition layout.
  11. Unless your partitions follow the Discoverable Partitions Spec, you’ll need to create an /etc/fstab file. Once you create and appropriately populate this file, you’ll need to copy it into /path/to/mounted/sysroot/ostree/deploy/carbonOS/deploy/*/etc/, which will become /etc once you boot into your new installation of carbonOS
  12. Install the bootloader by running bootctl install. If you’d like to use a custom bootloader, it will need to be compatible with the Boot Loader Spec
  13. Reboot. carbonOS should now be installed