systemd-firstboot, systemd-firstboot.service — Initialize basic system settings on or before the first boot-up of a system
systemd-firstboot initializes basic system settings interactively during the
first boot, or non-interactively on an offline system image. The service is started during boot if
ConditionFirstBoot=yes is met, which essentially means that
is unpopulated, see
The following settings may be configured:
The machine ID of the system
The system locale, more specifically the two
The system keyboard map
The system time zone
The system hostname
The kernel command line used when installing kernel images
The root user's password and shell
Each of the fields may either be queried interactively by users, set non-interactively on the tool's command line, or be copied from a host system that is used to set up the system image.
If a setting is already initialized, it will not be overwritten and the user will not be prompted for the setting.
Note that this tool operates directly on the file system and does not involve any running system services, unlike localectl(1), timedatectl(1) or hostnamectl(1). This allows systemd-firstboot to operate on mounted but not booted disk images and in early boot. It is not recommended to use systemd-firstboot on the running system after it has been set up.
The following options are understood:
Takes a directory path as an argument. All
paths will be prefixed with the given alternate
root path, including config search
paths. This is useful to operate on a system image mounted to
the specified directory instead of the host system itself.
Takes a path to a disk image file or block device node. If specified all operations
are applied to file system in the indicated disk image. This is similar to
but operates on file systems stored in disk images or block devices. The disk image should either
contain just a file system or a set of file systems within a GPT partition table, following the
Specification. For further information on supported disk images, see
switch of the same name.
Sets the system locale, more specifically the
settings. The argument should be a valid locale identifier,
such as "
de_DE.UTF-8". This controls the
Sets the system keyboard layout. The argument should be a valid keyboard map,
such as "
de-latin1". This controls the "
KEYMAP" entry in the
Sets the system time zone. The argument should
be a valid time zone identifier, such as
Europe/Berlin". This controls the
Sets the system hostname. The argument should be a hostname, compatible with DNS. This controls the hostname(5) configuration file.
Initialize the system's machine ID to a random ID. This controls the machine-id(5) file.
This option only works in combination with
--image=. On a running system,
machine-id is written by the
manager with help from
Set the system's machine ID to the specified value. The same restrictions apply
Sets the password of the system's root user. This creates/modifies the
files. This setting exists in three forms:
--root-password= accepts the password to
set directly on the command line,
--root-password-file= reads it from a file and
--root-password-hashed= accepts an already hashed password on the command line. See
for more information on the format of the hashed password. Note that it is not recommended to specify
plaintext passwords on the command line, as other users might be able to see them simply by invoking
Sets the shell of the system's root user. This creates/modifies the passwd(5) file.
Sets the system's kernel command line. This controls the
/etc/kernel/cmdline file which is used by
Prompt the user interactively for a specific basic setting. Note that any explicit configuration settings specified on the command line take precedence, and the user is not prompted for it.
Query the user for locale, keymap, timezone, hostname,
root's password, and root's shell. This is equivalent to specifying
--prompt-root-shell in combination.
Copy a specific basic setting from the host.
This only works in combination with
Copy locale, keymap, time zone, root password and shell from the host. This is
equivalent to specifying
--copy-root-shell in combination.
Write configuration even if the relevant files already exist. Without this option,
systemd-firstboot doesn't modify or replace existing files. Note that when
configuring the root account, even with this option, systemd-firstboot only
modifies the entry of the "
root" user, leaving other entries in
If specified, all existing files that are configured by systemd-firstboot are removed. Note that the files are removed regardless of whether they'll be configured with a new value or not. This operation ensures that the next boot of the image will be considered a first boot, and systemd-firstboot will prompt again to configure each of the removed files.
Removes the password of the system's root user, enabling login as root without a password unless the root account is locked. Note that this is extremely insecure and hence this option should not be used lightly.
Takes a boolean argument. By default when prompting the user for configuration options a brief welcome text is shown before the first question is asked. Pass false to this option to turn off the welcome text.
systemd-firstboot supports the service credentials logic as implemented by
(see systemd.exec(1) for
details). The following credentials are used when passed in:
A hashed or plaintext version of the root password to use, in place of prompting the user. These credentials are equivalent to the same ones defined for the systemd-sysusers.service(8) service.
Specifies the shell binary to use for the specified account. Equivalent to the credential of the same name defined for the systemd-sysusers.service(8) service.
These credentials specify the locale settings to set during first boot, in place of prompting the user.
This credential specifies the keyboard setting to set during first boot, in place of prompting the user.
Note the relationship to the
vconsole.keymap credential understood by
both ultimately affect the same setting, but
firstboot.keymap is written into
/etc/vconsole.conf on first boot (if not already configured), and then read from
there by systemd-vconsole-setup, while
vconsole.keymap is read
on every boot, and is not persisted to disk (but any configuration in
vconsole.conf will take precedence if present).
This credential specifies the system timezone setting to set during first boot, in place of prompting the user.
Note that by default the
systemd-firstboot.service unit file is set up to
inherit the listed credentials
from the service manager. Thus, when invoking a container with an unpopulated
for the first time it is possible to configure the root user's password to be "
# systemd-nspawn --image=… --set-credential=firstboot.locale:de_DE.UTF-8 …
Note that these credentials are only read and applied during the first boot process. Once they are applied they remain applied for subsequent boots, and the credentials are not considered anymore.
On success, 0 is returned, a non-zero failure code otherwise.
Takes a boolean argument, defaults to on. If off,
won't interactively query the user for basic settings at first boot, even if those settings are not