> Installation

Tribblix is designed to be easy to install, while remaining flexible. Generally, you will be able to install with a single command.

Hardware requirements

Tribblix will run on a wide variety of x86 and SPARC systems. Generally, the requirements will be:

Installation using a CD/DVD drive

You'll need to download the ISO image. For virtual emulators, you can boot direct off the ISO image; for physical hardware you'll need to create a DVD. (If you don't have a CD or DVD drive, see the section below on iPXE.) On Solaris or illumos systems, this can be accomplished using the command:

cdrw -i tribblix-0m34.iso

On an x86 system, you may need to interrupt the BIOS to specify an alternate boot device. On SPARC, you should be able to

boot cdrom

at the OBP prompt, or reboot from the current installation using

reboot -- cdrom

On x86, a boot menu should appear. If you just leave it, after a few seconds it will boot into the live installer for Tribblix. From the boot menu you have the option of enabling debugging or changing other boot settings, or bypassing the live image to boot from the hard disk.

After some messages, you will be presented with a login prompt. You can log in using the following account:

At this point you have a functional, if somewhat minimalist environment. You can look around, try out a few commands, or check that Tribblix can see all the hardware you expect to be present.

To install Tribblix, you need to be root. To become root,

su -

The initial root password is tribblix.

To install, you need to invoke the ./live_install.sh script, specifying which device to install to, and what software you wish to be installed.

To identify disk devices, use the format command. This should list the devices, and you can immediately exit with ctrl-d. The disk drives follow the naming scheme c#t#d#. Normally the c# will be a small number, often c1. Similarly, d# will often be d0. The t# might be a small number or a long string, depending on the disk controller (fiber channel or newer SAS HBAs will present the longer version).

By default, a fairly minimal base system will be installed. To install additional software, supply a list of overlays.

The overall command to perform the install will be of the form

./live_install.sh -G c0t0d0 kitchen-sink

Which means install the kitchen sink to the disk c0t0d0. The -G before the disk means to take over the whole drive. If omitted, it is assumed that you have manually partitioned the disk and allocated the named part of the disk to Tribblix. (What this means is that without -G you're also responsible for managing the boot process and configuring your own bootloader.)

The installer takes over the disk device, creates a ZFS pool and file systems, copies the running system to the disk, and installs additional software packages. At the end of the install you will see an error

unable to remount

This actually means that the installation has succeeded - it's part of the reconfiguration to make the newly installed disk the primary device. Then just reboot.

Some systems will automatically boot off the newly installed hard drive. If the system tries to boot off the live media, choose the menu entry that says

Chainload disk0:

and eject the CD so it doesn't become a problem again.

The newly installed system will have the same user (jack) and passwords as the installer. You should change the root password and create your own user accounts.

Installation from USB

Tribblix doesn't currently offer a USB image that can be written to a USB stick. If all you have is USB, then your best bet is to boot the iPXE image (see the section below) and use that to boot Tribblix from the network.

The live ISO image is a hybrid image, so may work if written to a USB stick. Unfortunately not every BIOS is compatible with this approach.

Using iPXE

Tribblix can be booted using iPXE. Some cloud providers supported booting directly with iPXE. Alternatively, download an iso or usb image from ipxe.org, write to the appropriate media, and boot from that. Press ctrl-B to get the iPXE command line, and type the following at the prompt:

    chain http://pkgs.tribblix.org/m34/ipxe.txt

You can replace m34 with m34lx to get omnitribblix, or an alternative version may be available. That should boot up as normal and you can do the install.

Alternatively, to get a menu from which you can choose the Tribblix version you wish to install, you can type the following at the iPXE prompt:

    chain http://pkgs.tribblix.org/ipxe.txt

In the cloud

Tribblix is available on AWS, so you can quickly run up an EC2 instance. Simply search for Tribblix in the Community images. You will need to set the region to London (eu-west-2), as the AMIs are only created there by default. If you want to run Tribblix in another region, you'll need to copy the AMI there.

Raw images are available for Digital Ocean.

Many smaller cloud providers offer an install from ISO option, which can be used along with the regular install process.

Further installation options

The installation can be customized. You saw a little of this above where the disk drive and software were supplied. There are other options you can set.

Drive format

The -G flag tells the installer that it owns the drives, and is free to do whatever it wants with them. (This is the same as running fdisk -B.) If you have data on the drive you need to preserve, or want to partition the disk to give space elsewhere, then you need to omit the -G flag and partition the drive yourself (using the fdisk and format commands). In that case, you need to create a slice s0 on the device, and Tribblix will install to that.


You can tell the system to mirror the installation across two drives for redundancy, using the -m flag with the name of the second drive. The syntax here is

-m second_drive


You can tell the system to install to and boot from a raidz zfs pool, using the -z (for raidz1) or -Z (for raidz2) flag with the list of the drives in a quoted list. The syntax here is

-z "drive1 drive2 drive3 ..."


-Z "drive1 drive2 drive3 drive4 ..."

With raidz, there's no need to supply any other drive as an argument. Make sure all drives used in the pool are visible to the BIOS.


You can specify the name of the system, instead of the default "tribblix", using the -n flag

-n new_name


You can specify the desired timezone for the new system, as opposed to the default pacific time, with the -t flag

-t timezone

Swap space

By default, the system will be allocated 2g of swap space. This is a reasonable default, but will depend on workload. (Some applications will request memory but never use it - swap space will allow this to be allocated out of the swap area rather than locking up valuable memory.) If you do need to change it, use the -s flag with the desired size (with an m or g suffix for megabytes or gigabytes)

-s swap_size

All the arguments need to precede the main disk drive and the list of software.

A full example of all the above might be

./live_install.sh -n bigserver -s 8g -t GB -G -m c0t1d0 c0t0d0 retro-desktop develop

If the disk is already in use by zfs

If the disk you're installing to already contains a zfs pool, then you will need to clear that first. From the live environment,

zpool import

will tell you if the disk contains a zfs pool and what its name is. Then import and destroy it by name, for example

zpool import oldpool
zpool destroy oldpool

Following this, you should be able to install to that disk as normal.

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