Awesome Open Source
Awesome Open Source

Arch Linux Image Builder for Google Compute Engine

This project provides a script that creates an Arch Linux image that can run on Google Compute Engine.

The image is configured to be as close as possible to a base Arch Linux installation, while still allowing it to be fully functional and optimized for Compute Engine. Notable choices made and differences compared to a standard Arch Linux installation are the following:

  • GRUB is used with BIOS-based boot and a GPT partition table.
  • Serial console logging is enabled from kernel command line and journald is configured to forward to it.
  • Block multiqueue and elevator noop are configured from kernel command line to optimize Compute Engine disk performance.
  • A minimal initcpio is configured for booting on Compute Engine virtual machines.
  • Root filesystem is ext4.
  • Locale is set to en_US.UTF-8 and timezone is set to UTC.
  • Network is configured through dhclient.
  • Systemd-timesyncd is enabled and configured to use the Compute Engine metadata server.
  • Pacman keyring is configured to be built and initialized on first boot.
  • Pacman mirror list is taken fresh from Arch Linux servers at the time the image is built.
  • Linux Guest Environment for Google Compute Engine is installed and enabled.
  • An OpenSSH server is installed and enabled, with root login and password authentication forbidden. User SSH keys are deployed and managed automatically by the Linux Guest Environment as described in the corresponding documentation.
  • Sudo is installed. Permission to use sudo is managed automatically by Linux Guest Environment.
  • Root partition and filesystem are automatically extended at boot using growpart, to support dynamic disk resizing.
  • An additional Pacman repository is used to install and keep the Linux Guest Environment and growpartfs packages up to date.

Prebuilt Images

You can use Cloud SDK to create instances with the latest prebuilt Arch Linux image. To do that follow the SDK installation procedure, and then run the following command:

$ gcloud compute instances create INSTANCE_NAME \
      --image-project=arch-linux-gce --image-family=arch

Build Your Own Image

You can build the Arch Linux image yourself with the following procedure:

  1. Install the required dependencies and build the image

    $ sudo pacman -S --needed arch-install-scripts e2fsprogs
    $ git clone
    $ cd compute-archlinux-image-builder
    $ sudo ./build-arch-gce

    You can also use the build-arch-gce package from the AUR, and run sudo /usr/bin/build-arch-gce

    If the build is successful, this will create an image file named arch-vDATE.tar.gz in the current directory, where DATE is the current date.

  2. Install and configure the Cloud SDK.

  3. Copy the image file to Google Cloud Storage:

    $ gsutil mb gs://BUCKET_NAME
    $ gsutil cp arch-vDATE.tar.gz gs://BUCKET_NAME
  4. Import the image file to Google Cloud Engine as a new custom image:

    $ gcloud compute images create IMAGE_NAME \
          --source-uri=gs://BUCKET_NAME/arch-vDATE.tar.gz \

You can now create new instances with your custom image:

$ gcloud compute instances create INSTANCE_NAME --image=IMAGE_NAME

The Google Cloud Storage file is no longer needed, so you can delete it if you want:

$ gsutil rm gs://BUCKET_NAME/arch-vDATE.tar.gz

Contributing Changes


All files in this repository are under the Apache License, Version 2.0 unless noted otherwise.


Google Inc. does not provide any support, guarantees, or warranty for this project or the images provided.

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