OS Builder


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olpc-os-builder or OS Builder (and sometimes known as "OOB") is a utility that allows you to build operating system (OS) images for XO laptops, including various customizations.

Starting in December 2009, it is the build tool used to produce official OLPC OS releases.

This utility makes it easy for you to replicate an OLPC OS build, as well as allowing you to make your own customizations, using a different set of activities, and so on.



First, you need to identify which version of OLPC OS you wish to replicate or customize. You need to use the same version of olpc-os-builder that OLPC used to make the official release. The table below will help you to identify the olpc-os-builder version.

On your image-constructing host system, it is generally a requirement (and if not, it is strongly advisable) to use the same version and architecture of Fedora as the version and architecture of Fedora used in the target image. For example, if you are building an OLPC OS release that is based on top of Fedora 14, your host system must also be running Fedora 14 (e.g. F15 will not work, due to RPMDB format changes). The table below also shows which Fedora version should be used to build each release.

OLPC OS version Target platforms olpc-os-builder version Built using
13.2.0 XO-1
7.0.x Fedora 18
13.1.0 XO-1
6.0.x Fedora 18
12.1.0 XO-1
5.0.x Fedora 17
11.3.0 XO-1
4.0.x Fedora 14
11.2.0 XO-1
3.0.x Fedora 14
10.1.3 XO-1
1.3.x Fedora 11
10.1.2 XO-1
1.2.x Fedora 11
10.1.1 XO-1.5 1.1.x Fedora 11
10.1.0 XO-1.5 1.0.x Fedora 11

So, the first steps are to choose an OLPC OS version to reproduce, and then to prepare a computer system by installing the Fedora version that it is built upon. You are advised to choose the latest OLPC OS version. All releases shown in the above table are regarded as stable.

Note that the above table shows (e.g.) v1.3.x for release 10.1.3, this means that (if presented with a choice) you should take the latest olpc-os-builder version starting with version number v1.3. The official release will have been built with v1.3.0, but later olpc-os-builder releases are guaranteed not to change the default reconstructed output, but will solve build problems under different environments and perhaps offer you some more customization options.

Installing olpc-os-builder

Method 1: From Fedora

This method only works for release 11.2.0 and newer. For older releases, skip this section and continue to Method 2.
This is the general, recommended approach.

As olpc-os-builder is an official Fedora package, you can obtain it by running the following command as root on your already-prepared host system:

# yum install olpc-os-builder

This will install the latest version of olpc-os-builder that is suitable for building images on the version of Fedora installed on your host system. If you wish to install a previous version, you can find an appropriate package on koji.

Method 2: From source tarball

If you are rebuilding a release older than 11.2.0, or if you prefer to work from a source tarball for any other reason, follow the instructions at /Usage from tarball

Method 3: Development version

If you wish to build an unstable, in-development, not-yet-released OLPC OS release, you need to use the development version of olpc-os-builder directly from our git tree. See /Development.


Each build is made from a specific configuration file.

  • To reconstruct an OLPC OS release exactly (without customizations), reuse the configuration file that was used by OLPC, which is included in the olpc-os-builder,
  • To customize an OLPC OS release, make a copy of the OLPC OS configuration file, and make your own customizations.

The configuration files supplied by olpc-os-builder are installed into /usr/share/doc/olpc-os-builder-*/examples. For example, having installed olpc-os-builder-3.0.x on Fedora 14, you can reconstruct the 11.2.0 release for XO-1.5 with (as root):

# olpc-os-builder /usr/share/doc/olpc-os-builder-3.0.0/examples/olpc-os-11.2.0-xo1.5.ini

If using a source tarball or the development version, the command to run is ./osbuilder.py from the root directory of olpc-os-builder, and configurations can be found in the examples/ subdirectory. e.g.

# ./osbuilder.py examples/olpc-os-11.2.0-xo1.5.ini

Signing preparation

The signing module has an additional requirement: you need to check out and build OLPC's bios-crypto code. As your regular user in (e.g.) your home directory, run the following commands:

$ git clone git://dev.laptop.org/bios-crypto
$ cd bios-crypto/build
$ make cli

You can now point the signing module configuration at the bios-crypto directory.


Your goals are not covered in the recipes above? Check the README files included in the modules for a more complete list of options.

If you installed from source or from git, see the available READMEs with

 ls modules/*/README

if you installed from rpm, you can do

 ls /usr/share/olpc-os-builder/modules.d/*/README

Subpages of OS Builder

OS Builder/Add Adobe Flash supportOS Builder/Add OpenDNS ConfigurationOS Builder/Add additional Activities
OS Builder/Add repositories and packagesOS Builder/Development
OS Builder/Edit a config fileOS Builder/Enable taptoclickOS Builder/Run on XO hardware
OS Builder/Run on XO hardware/ExperiencesOS Builder/Run under mockOS Builder/Tweak boot animation
OS Builder/Usage from tarball
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