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YaST Tools for Creating Installation Media and Appliances

November 1st, 2007 by

The casual reader of news.opensuse.org knows that openSUSE 10.3 contains a YaST tool for creating images using KIWI. However, it is not that known fact that openSUSE 10.3 contains much more tools to manipulate RPM-based software and wrap it into a numerous ways for delivery, from a simple repository to a complete appliance creation. The picture below describes how the tools fit together.


The tools allow anyone to take the openSUSE distribution, add additional software (packaged as RPMs) and create

  • modified installation media for the distribution
  • complete installation media for the additional software, including an installation workflow
  • combined installation media for the distribution and the additional software
  • any executable image supported by KIWI, like liveCD, bootable USB stick, Xen image etc.

So, it’s much better if we choose an example how the things work together. Let’s assume we want to have a nice way to deliver our great software ACME. We have a bunch of rpm packages in a directory on the disk. What we can do:

  • create an installation media (including ISOs) to be used as add-on product for openSUSE 10.3
  • add ACME packages to the openSUSE 10.3 distribution, removing all non-ACME related stuff from 10.3, adapting the patterns to preselect ACME
  • create a liveCD based on openSUSE 10.3 that will automatically start ACME
  • create a Xen image to be directly deployable on our farm of Xen-enabled hosts

To do this, there are in principle three YaST tools we can use:

  1. the easiest way is to use the über-tool, called YaST product creator
  2. create just the add-on product using YaST add-on creator
  3. create KIWI-based executable image using YaST image creator

YaST Add-on Creator

This tool allows a user to create an installation media (repository) from a bunch of RPMs:

  • build Add-Ons, to be available for specific Base Products
  • provide hardware drivers or own software
  • customize installation workflow of the Base Product with own YaST configuration screens

First, a user has to select a name for the add-on product, the base product required for this add-on, and a path to the directory containing the packages.


Asking a few more questions, the tool gathers all data needed for generating the installation media, possibly creating an ISO image to be burned out.


The module is able to create a new add-on product from scratch or modify already existing one. It also supports a commandline interface for scriptable changes of add-on products, see output of ‘yast2 add-on-creator help’ for supported options.

YaST Image Creator

This tool is a YaST user interface for the KIWI imaging tool. Again, there is just a few simple steps needed for creating an image.


A user chooses the repositories to use, the kind of the resulting image and where to store the image.


Then, a user just needs to adapt the KIWI parameters to suit the needs and just click „Finish“ to generate the image:


As a note from Jiří Suchomel, the primary developer, there is a enhanced version in the works to deliver e.g. management of the profiles and more. When ready, the version should be available via BuildService.

YaST2 Product Creator

The primary purpose of this tool is to create a new, completely installable distributions based on existing one. Specifically, it can:

  • include latest software from Online Update source
  • merge own Add-On into the base product
  • build customized product
  • create installation medias (network, DVD)

As you can see, the tool provides also way to invoke the add-on creator tool („Create New“ button)…


… as well as generating a resulting image using KIWI …


How to try it out

As mentioned above, the tools are already available on the openSUSE 10.3. However, it might make sense to check out the newest version, which can be found in the buildservice at


The packages you need are:


As always, feedback is always appreciated, either using opensuse-factory mailing list or bugzilla.

The article was written by the YaST team – thanks to Stanislav Visnovsky as main author.

Both comments and pings are currently closed.

11 Responses to “YaST Tools for Creating Installation Media and Appliances”

  1. Mirko

    And here I found a solution which might be scriptable:


    seems the education project has already released the first ISO images created with the scripts given in this tutorial!

    • Stano

      Yes, these YaST modules are able to do the same using GUI. They also provide a command line interface with high-level functionality, like signing a add-on product with a single invocation.

  2. roastedmnm

    I’m playing with this now. Unfortunately when attempting to install the newest versions (2.16.x)theres a conflict with the shipped version of YaST (2.15.x) and I was unable to resolve it on SuSE 10.3.

    • Jiri

      True. With new versions, there was a change of API in some low-level module (yast2-storage, to be precise), so to upgrade to those you’ll need to upgrade more of the YaST. I’m not sure if those required others were already released, but I hope they should be available in a few weeks.

      Meanwhile, you can play with the modules from 10.3 (including the updates)…

  3. roastedmnm

    (Took me a while to check back.)

    Looking forward to the upgrade. Hopefully the new version will hit the Backports:/ soon.

  4. RobertZ

    Hi, I would like to create a Live USB stick with the above shown yast2 image creator.

    Where is the yast2-image creator rpm?
    I could not find it in:
    – the 10.3 default repos
    – the build service search system
    – the repo of jsuchome
    – google

    At least I found an alternative:
    – /usr/share/doc/packages/kiwi/kiwi.pdf

    • Jiri

      The name of rpm is yast2-product-creator. It includes both Product Creator and Image Creator, that are described in this article.

  5. Hi, how ‘production ready’ is the Product Creator?

    I’m trying to create an install CD with limited package selection and autoinstall, but I always end-up with unusable CD:

    – if I don’t choose to sign packages, the installer says there is no repository on the CD (it requires the file ‘content.asc’, which isn’t there)
    – if I choose to sign packages, the installer complains about wrong keys (how do I import & accept my own keys into the installer)

    Hopefully I’ll be able to crack it soon as my deadline is closing in… :(


  6. nonos

    LiveCD Creator don’t run.
    When I want to change software, Kiwi don’t find the package database !!!

    I’m sad !

  7. Saint DanBert

    I have a running OpenSUSE 10.3 workstation. I’d really like to tell YAST2
    “make a CD/DVD from what I already have.” This media might best be
    a live CD/DVD that I can use to recover my current system from bare metal.
    My configuration works now, the CD/DVD might be able to duplicate the
    partition plan, restore the system parts, and enable a fresh boot on
    the old hardware.
    ~~~ Dan 0;-D

  8. overload

    How can i find documentation in how to work with product creator, it always comes up that the system wont be bootable because there is no boot directorie, i newbie what respects to linux, just felt it was time to drop microsoft :)