Mike Sampson

Linux Systems Administrator




10 Aug 2010

Easy Debian/Ubuntu chroots.

Until recently I had been using Adobe's 64 bit Flash Player plugin. Unfortunately the 64 bit Flash Player has been removed from Adobe's site with no clear indication of exactly when it will return. For a while I continued to use the last released version however this version contains major security vulnerabilities and I eventually removed it. I don't use Flash that much but I did miss it every now and then so decided to do something about it. I'm not a fan of multi-lib setups or nspluginwrapper so went with a 32 bit chroot. At first I tried an Arch Linux 32 bit chroot however I experienced issues with some GUI applications not working correctly and segfaulting. While I look into this I installed a Ubuntu Lucid 32 bit chroot using debootstrap.

Debootstrap is a handy way to install a Debian/Ubuntu base system into a directory. It is available in the AUR. Installing a base Lucid 32 bit system is as easy as:

[mike@mercury|~] $ sudo mkdir /opt/lucid32
[mike@mercury|~] $ sudo debootstrap --arch=i386 lucid /opt/lucid32/

To manage entering the chroot I installed schroot. Schroot allows a normal user to enter a chroot. It also handles copying files from the host into the chroot as well as mounting any required filesystems inside the chroot. This comes in handy for keeping /etc/{resolv.conf,hosts,passwd,shadow} and so on in sync as well as mounting /{proc,dev,tmp} inside the chroot. I also mount my /usr/share/fonts directory this way so Chromium has access to my fonts. I still need to do something similar with my mouse cursor icons. Once configured schroot allows me to launch my 32 bit web browser via:

[mike@mercury|~] $ schroot -c lucid32 -- chromium

I now have flash working again.

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