2. Install Guide
Setting up and running cobblerd is not a easy task. Knowledge in Apache2 configuration (setting up SSL, virtual hosts, and apache proxy module) is needed. Certificates and some server administration knowledge is required too.
Cobbler is available for installation in several different ways, through packaging systems for each distribution or directly from source.
Cobbler has both definite and optional prerequisites, based on the features you’d like to use. This section documents the definite prerequisites for both a basic installation and when building/installing from source.
2.1. Known packages by distros
This is the most convenient way and should be the default for most people. Production usage is advised only from these four sources or from source with Git Tags.
Please note that installing any of the packages here via a package manager (such as dnf/yum or apt) can and will require a large number of ancillary packages, which we do not document here. The package definition should automatically pull these packages in and install them along with Cobbler, however it is always best to verify these requirements have been met prior to installing Cobbler or any of its components.
First and foremost, Cobbler requires Python. Since 3.0.0 you will need Python 3. Cobbler also requires the installation of the following packages:
A webserver that can act as a proxy (like Apache, Nginx, …)
wget and/or curl
PyYAML / python-yaml
tftp-server / atftpd
On dnf based systems please also install:
If you decide to use the LDAP authentication, please also install manually in any case:
python3-ldap (or via PyPi: ldap)
If you decide to require Windows auto-installation support, please also install manually:
If you are on an apt-based system our operation may be better for mirror detection if the
aptsources Python module
Koan can be installed apart from Cobbler. Please visit the Koan documentation for details.
Not installing all required dependencies will lead to stacktraces in your Cobbler installation.
Please be aware that on some distributions the python packages are named differently. On Debian based systems
everything which is named
something-devel is named
something-dev there. Also please remember that the case of
some packages is slightly different.
Some distributions still have Python 2 available. It is your responsibility to adjust the package names to Python3.
Installation from source requires the following additional software:
python3-devel (on Debian based distributions
Cobbler is available for installation for many Linux variants through their native packaging systems. However, the Cobbler project also provides packages for all supported distributions which is the preferred method of installation.
We leave packaging to downstream; this means you have to check the repositories provided by your distribution vendor. However we provide docker files for
openSUSE Leap 15.3
Rocky Linux 8
Debian 10 Buster
Debian 11 Bullseye
Debian 12 Bookworm
which will give you packages which will work better then building from source yourself.
If you have a close look at our
docker folder you may see more folders and files but they are meant for
testing or other purposes. Please ignore them, this page is always aligned and up to date.
To build the packages you to need to execute the following in the root folder of the cloned repository:
./docker/rpms/build-and-install-rpms.sh fc37 docker/rpms/Fedora_37/Fedora37.dockerfile
./docker/rpms/build-and-install-rpms.sh el8 docker/rpms/CentOS_8/CentOS8.dockerfile
./docker/debs/build-and-install-debs.sh deb10 docker/debs/Debian_10/Debian10.dockerfile
./docker/debs/build-and-install-debs.sh deb11 docker/debs/Debian_11/Debian11.dockerfile
./docker/debs/build-and-install-debs.sh deb12 docker/debs/Debian_12/Debian12.dockerfile
After executing the scripts you should have one folder owned by
root which was created during the build. It is
deb-build. In these directories you should find the built packages. They are
obviously unsigned and thus will generate warnings in relation to that fact.
2.3.2. Packages from source
For some platforms it’s also possible to build packages directly from the source tree.
$ make rpms
... (lots of output) ...
As you can see, an RPM is output for each component of Cobbler, as well as a source RPM. This command was run on a system running Fedora 20, hence the fc20 in the RPM name - this will be different based on the distribution you’re running.
To install Cobbler from source on a Debian-Based system, the following steps need to be made (tested on Debian Buster):
$ a2enmod proxy
$ a2enmod proxy_http
$ a2enmod rewrite
$ ln -s /srv/tftp /var/lib/tftpboot
$ systemctl restart apache2
$ make debs
add Required-Stop line
path needs to be
/usr/local/...or fix the install location
In the repository root there is a file called
docker-compose.yml. If you have
docker-compose installed you may
use that to build packages for multiple distros on a single run. Just execute:
$ docker-compose up -d
After some time all containers expect one should be exited and you should see two new folders owned by
deb-build. The leftover docker container is meant to be used for testing and playing, if you don’t
require this playground you may just clean up with:
$ docker-compose down
Cobbler is not suited to be run outside of custom paths or being installed into a virtual environment. We are working hard to get there but it is not possible yet. If you try this and it works, please report to our GitHub repository and tell us what is left to support this conveniently.
The latest source code is available through git:
$ git clone https://github.com/cobbler/cobbler.git
$ cd cobbler
The release30 branch corresponds to the official release version for the 3.0.x series. The main branch is the development series.
When building from source, make sure you have the correct prerequisites. The Makefile uses a script called distro_build_configs.sh which sets the correct environment variables. Be sure to source it if you do not use the Makefile.
If all prerequisites are met, you can install Cobbler with the following command:
$ make install
This command will rewrite all configuration files on your system if you have an existing installation of Cobbler (whether it was installed via packages or from an older source tree).
To preserve your existing configuration files, snippets and automatic installation files, run this command:
$ make devinstall
To install Cobbler, finish the installation in any of both cases, use these steps:
Copy the systemd service file for cobblerd from
/etc/cobbler/cobblerd.serviceto your systemd unit directory (
python3-gunicornor the package responsible for your distro.
Take the systemd service file
cobblerd-gunicorn-serviceand copy it into your unit directory.
Enable the proxy module of Apache2 (
a2enmod proxyor something similar) if not enabled.
Depending on your distributions FHS implementation you might need to adjust
/usr/local/bin/cobblerd in the
Be advised that we don’t copy the service file into the correct directory and that the path to the binary may be wrong depending on the location of the binary on your system. Do this manually and then you should be good to go. The same is valid for the Apache webserver config.
Remove Cobbler related files from the following paths:
2.8. Relocating your installation
Often folks don’t have a very large
/var partition, which is what Cobbler uses by default for mirroring install
trees and the like.
You’ll notice you can reconfigure the webdir location just by going into
/etc/cobbler/settings.yaml, but it’s not
the best way to do things – especially as the packaging process does include some files and directories in the stock
path. This means that, for upgrades and the like, you’ll be breaking things somewhat. Rather than attempting to
reconfigure Cobbler, your Apache configuration, your file permissions, and your SELinux rules, the recommended course of
action is very simple.
Copy everything you have already in
/var/www/cobblerto another location – for instance,
Now just create a symlink or bind mount at
/var/www/cobblerthat points to
Done. You’re up and running.
If you decided to access Cobbler’s data store over NFS (not recommended) you really want to mount NFS on
/var/www/cobbler with SELinux context passed in as a parameter to mount versus the symlink. You may also have to
deal with problems related to rootsquash. However if you are making a mirror of a Cobbler server for a multi-site setup,
mounting read only is OK there.
/var/lib/cobbler can not live on NFS, as this interferes with locking (“flock”) Cobbler does around it’s