For Ubuntu I use the Core/Base images as available here: http://cdimage.ubuntu.com/ubuntu-base/releases/

These 'images' are just base rootfs tarballs which can be used with for example rkt. More information on the Ubuntu Wiki: https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Core

Does Debian ship similar type of release images? I can't seem to find these on https://www.debian.org/distrib/. Debian does publish Docker-specific images on the Docker hub, but not the "upstream" rootfs, apparently. Or am I missing something? :)

Also accepted as an answer; how to create such a core/base image?/ debootstrap something something I guess?

  • Debootstrap may be what you are looking for see wiki.debian.org/Debootstrap or one of its relatives; I remember last time I did this I used a relative of debootstrap (If I remember correct). One of these tools is probably what the ubuntu team used to create their tar-balls. – ctrl-alt-delor Jun 30 '16 at 21:23

Debian does indeed not ship such images, because it's trivial to create them with debootstrap:

debootstrap <suite> <target directory> <mirror>

Downloads packages for suite from mirror, and installs them into target directory. Once that's finished, create a tarball of the target directory, and you're done. Note: not 100% sure of the ordering of the arguments. The man page is pretty clear, though :-)


A better and more alternative debootstrap is debuerreotype: reproducible, snapshot-based Debian rootfs builder to create the images.

  • Creates tarballs of the rootfs.
  • Reproducible builds.

It's also the base of the official Docker images.

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