Host Requirements To Build Images

When building OS images, several tools and sub-systems are used and required on the host KIWI NG is called at. For example, to build a virtual disk image, several tools needs to be available on the host that builds the image. This includes tools for partition table setup or tools to create filesystems.

The number of required components depends on the selected image type and the features used with the image. We cannot expect the users of KIWI NG to know about each and every component that is needed to build the image. Therefore a concept to help with the host requirements exists and is named kiwi-systemdeps

The kiwi-systemdeps concept consists out of a collection of sub-packages provided with the python-kiwi main package. Each individual package requires a number of tools and subsystem packages which belongs to the package category. There are the following systemdeps packages:

  • Supports building the simple root archive tbz image type.

  • Installs the package managers which are supported by the target distribution as well as the tar archiving tool.

  • Supports building docker and appx image types.

  • Installs the distribution specific tool chain to build OCI compliant and WSL container images.

  • Supports building iso image types and oem install media.

  • Installs all tools required to build ISO filesystems.

  • Depends on the -core, -filesystems and -bootloaders kiwi-systemdeps packages.

  • Supports building bootable oem and iso image types.

  • Installs all bootloader tools depending on the host architecture to allow setup and install of the bootloader. The pulled in components are required for any image that is able to boot through some BIOS or firmware.

  • Depends on the -core kiwi-systemdeps packages.


The iso type is an exception which might not require the -bootloaders systemdeps. In case of the firmware attribute to be set to bios, KIWI NG builds bootable ISO images still based on isolinux which is provided with the -iso-media systemdeps. However, by default, any KIWI NG created ISO image is BIOS and EFI capable and based on the grub bootloader which causes a requirement to the -bootloaders systemdeps.

  • Supports building fs-type, oem, pxe, kis and live iso image types.

  • Installs all tools to create filesystems supported with KIWI NG. The pulled in components are needed for any image type that needs to create a filesystem. This excludes the archive based image types like docker, appx or tbz. The package also installs tools one level below the actual filesystem creation toolkit. These are components to manage loop devices as well as partition table setup and subsystem support like LVM and LUKS.

  • Depends on the -core kiwi-systemdeps packages.

  • Supports building the oem image type.

  • Installs all tools to create virtual disks. In KIWI NG, virtual disks are created using the QEMU toolchain.

  • Depends on the -filesystems and -bootloaders kiwi-systemdeps packages.

  • Installs the jing tool to validate the image description. This is useful for detailed error reports from KIWI NG in case of an image description validation error. In addition, the anymarkup Python module is installed if the the option to install recommended packages is set. With anymarkup available, KIWI NG can also handle image descriptions in another format than the XML markup, like YAML.

Depending on the image type the kiwi-systemdeps packages can help to setup the host system quickly for the task to build an image. In case the host should support everything there is also the main kiwi-systemdeps package which has a dependency on all other existing systemdeps packages.


Pulling in all kiwi-systemdeps packages can result in quite some packages to become installed on the host. This is because the required packages itself comes with a number of dependencies like java for jing as one example.