Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Installing Raspbian on the Raspberry Pi 3 using raspbian-ua-netinst

I really like using the Raspbian unattended netinstaller (raspbian-ua-netinst) for doing headless installs of Raspbian to Raspberry Pi devices. You pretty much write the installer image to SD, create a configuration file, then insert the SD into the Pi and let it do the rest.

I wasn't able to install Raspbian to my Raspberry Pi 3 using the current latest build (1.0.9) of raspbian-ua-netinst as it still lacks support for this newer hardware.

Below is a quick guide on what I did to get it up and running successfully. I ran this from a Raspberry Pi but you could just as easily use any Linux machine:

Pull down the v1.1.x branch from GitHub:
$ git clone -b v1.1.x https://github.com/debian-pi/raspbian-ua-netinst.git

Download and build:
$ cd raspbian-ua-netinst
$ ./build.sh

Create the images you can then write to SD, this requires root for the loopback setup:
$ sudo ./buildroot.sh

If using a Raspberry Pi with limited swap like myself, you may get an error when creating the xz archive due to it being unable to allocate sufficient memory to xz. It's no problem as you can use the uncompressed or bz2 image.

As an example you could run bzcat raspbian-ua-netinst-20170426-gited24416.img.bz2 redirected to the destination SD card (the card itself, not a partition device).

Hopefully this post will be redundant soon when a newer raspbian-ua-netinst is released with Raspberry Pi 3 support, but until then I hope this is useful to someone!

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