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I recently updated one of my Debian boxes to run with stretch, but unfortunately I run in an issue when it comes to the regeneration of the initramfs image.

It seems that it doesn't recognize that I need the /root/.ssh/ directory and its contents to be there at boot time. I tried to look for a config option to force update-initramfs to take the contents which are in /etc/initramfs-tools/root - which I manually created after it failed to generate the image - but without any luck. Finally I did a debootstrap install from a sysresccd to ensure it is not a failure from a config on my side, but this failed as well.

What follows, is the output I get when trying to update the initramfs image:

root@sysresccd:/etc/initramfs-tools# update-initramfs -u -k all
update-initramfs: Generating /boot/initrd.img-4.3.0-1-amd64
/etc/initramfs-tools/hooks/mount_cryptroot: 21: /etc/initramfs-tools/hooks/mount_cryptroot: cannot create /var/tmp/mkinitramfs_uIC6Q0/root/mount_cryptroot.sh: Directory nonexistent
chmod: cannot access /var/tmp/mkinitramfs_uIC6Q0/root/mount_cryptroot.sh: No such file or directory
/etc/initramfs-tools/hooks/mount_cryptroot: 36: /etc/initramfs-tools/hooks/mount_cryptroot: cannot create /var/tmp/mkinitramfs_uIC6Q0/root/.profile: Directory nonexistent
/etc/initramfs-tools/hooks/mount_cryptroot: 21: /etc/initramfs-tools/hooks/mount_cryptroot: cannot create /var/tmp/mkinitramfs_uIC6Q0/root/mount_cryptroot.sh: Directory nonexistent
chmod: cannot access /var/tmp/mkinitramfs_uIC6Q0/root/mount_cryptroot.sh: No such file or directory
/etc/initramfs-tools/hooks/mount_cryptroot: 36: /etc/initramfs-tools/hooks/mount_cryptroot: cannot create /var/tmp/mkinitramfs_uIC6Q0/root/.profile: Directory nonexistent
E: /etc/initramfs-tools/hooks/mount_cryptroot failed with return 2.
update-initramfs: failed for /boot/initrd.img-4.3.0-1-amd64 with 2.

Actually I am out of ideas now and would be really thankful if somebody could help me with this issue.

Some background information:
I use this guide to install my systems and for jessie it works perfectly, but on stretch it fails because of the reason stated above.

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  • I'm not sure this will fix your particular scenario, but for Strech the recommended "unlock by SSH" approach is to use the dropbear-initramfs package. Commented Feb 1, 2016 at 12:21
  • Thanks for the answer, but I already have this installed: dropbear-initramfs is already the newest version (2015.71-1).
    – Steffen
    Commented Feb 1, 2016 at 12:28
  • I'm having the same problem with Ubuntu Trusty 14.04. It's not creating the root directory in the initramfs tmp directory.
    – Neil
    Commented Mar 10, 2016 at 22:36
  • Hi. I'm having a similar issue, see unix.stackexchange.com/questions/372073/…
    – CHM
    Commented Jun 19, 2017 at 23:02

1 Answer 1

4

The same issue occured to me today and I could only find this question in the web. So I tried to debug it myself...

The script /etc/initramfs-tools/hooks/mount_cryptroot (line 21) is trying to put a file into the /var/tmp/mkinitramfs_uIC6Q0/root/ directory. This directory happens to be missing, according to the error message. The relevant part of the script is:

SCRIPT="${DESTDIR}/root/mount_cryptroot.sh"
cat > "${SCRIPT}" << 'EOF'

The /var/tmp/mkinitramfs_uIC6Q0/ directory is a temporary directory in which the contents of the new initrd are collected. My guess was that the initrd does not have a root subdirectory any more. So I took a look at the contents of the existing initrd image:

# mkdir initrd
# cd initrd
# gunzip -c /boot/initrd.img-4.9.0-3-amd64 | cpio -i
125955 blocks
# ls
bin  conf  etc  init  lib  lib64  root-aBcDeF  run  sbin  scripts
#

The root directory has a suffix with 6 random letters/numbers (changed here to aBcDeF). This is probably for security reasons. I found out that the suffix is different each time the initrd is generated.

So the solution is to extend the /etc/initramfs-tools/hooks/mount_cryptroot script to find out the true name of the root directory including the suffx and to use this instead of just root.

This can be done by inserting

ROOTDIR="$(cd "${DESTDIR}"; echo root-*)"

before the failing lines and changing the failing lines to

SCRIPT="${DESTDIR}/${ROOTDIR}/mount_cryptroot.sh"
cat > "${SCRIPT}" << 'EOF'

. There are two more lines that contain root without the suffix. Those have to be changed to

cat > "${DESTDIR}/${ROOTDIR}/.profile" << EOF

and

/${ROOTDIR}/mount_cryptroot.sh && exit 1 || echo "Run ./mount_cryptroot.sh to try unlocking again"

. This solved the issue for me and

update-initramfs -u -k all

as well as the entering of the password via SSH on bootup worked again.

My entire script /etc/initramfs-tools/hooks/mount_cryptroot after adaption:

#!/bin/sh

# Author: http://www.dont-panic.cc/capi/2012/10/24/fully-encrypted-vserver-with-ubuntu-12-04/
# This script generates two scripts in the initramfs output,
# /root-xxxxxx/mount_cryptroot.sh and /root-xxxxxx/.profile
ALLOW_SHELL=1
# Set this to 1 before running update-initramfs if you want
# to allow authorized users to type Ctrl-C to drop to a
# root shell (useful for debugging, potential for abuse.)
#
# (Note that even with ALLOW_SHELL=0 it may still be possible
# to achieve a root shell.)
#

if [ -z ${DESTDIR} ]; then
exit
fi

ROOTDIR="$(cd "${DESTDIR}"; echo root-*)"

SCRIPT="${DESTDIR}/${ROOTDIR}/mount_cryptroot.sh"
cat > "${SCRIPT}" << 'EOF'
#!/bin/sh
CMD=
while [ -z "$CMD" -o -z "`pidof askpass plymouth`" ]; do
CMD=`ps -o args | grep 'open --type luks' | grep -v grep`
sleep 0.1
done
while [ -n "`pidof askpass plymouth`" ]; do
$CMD && kill -9 `pidof askpass plymouth` && echo "Success"
done
EOF

chmod +x "${SCRIPT}"

# Run mount_cryptroot by default and close the login session afterwards
# If ALLOW_SHELL is set to 1, you can press Ctrl-C to get to an interactive prompt
cat > "${DESTDIR}/${ROOTDIR}/.profile" << EOF
ctrl_c_exit() {
exit 1
}
ctrl_c_shell() {
# Ctrl-C during .profile appears to mangle terminal settings
reset
}
if [ "$ALLOW_SHELL" == "1" ]; then
echo "Unlocking rootfs... Type Ctrl-C for a shell."
trap ctrl_c_shell INT
else
echo "Unlocking rootfs..."
trap ctrl_c_exit INT
fi
/${ROOTDIR}/mount_cryptroot.sh && exit 1 || echo "Run ./mount_cryptroot.sh to try unlocking again"
trap INT
EOF
1
  • I had the same problem and this solution worked perfectly.
    – mklein9
    Commented Feb 19, 2018 at 1:31

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