Rootfs over encrypted lvm

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This howto describes how to setup LVM and rootfs with cryptoLUKS-encrypted drive. It is not meant to be a standalone installation guide, rather, it is meant to be read alongside the Funtoo Linux Installation Guide.


[edit] Prepare the hard drive and partitions

This is an example partition scheme, you may want to choose differently. /dev/sda1 used as /boot. /dev/sda2 will be encrypted drive with LVM.

  • /dev/sda1 -- /boot partition.
  • /dev/sda2 -- BIOS boot partition (not needed for MBR - only needed if you are using GPT) This step required for GRUB2. For more info, see: [1] for more information on GPT and MBR.
  • /dev/sda3 -- / partition, will be the drive with LUKS and LVM.

With UEFI:

  • /dev/sda1 -- /boot
  • /dev/sda2 -- / partition

[edit] Wipe the hard drive

# gdisk /dev/sda

Command: x ↵
Expert command: z ↵
About to wipe out GPT on /dev/sda. Proceed?: y ↵
GPT data structures destroyed! You may now partition the disk using fdisk or other utilities.
Blank out MBR?: y ↵
Warning: This action will destroy all data on the disk.

[edit] Encrypting the drive

Read more about different cipher options here: [2]

# cryptsetup --cipher aes-xts-plain64 luksFormat /dev/sda3
# cryptsetup luksOpen /dev/sda3 dmcrypt_root

There you'll be prompted to enter your password phrase for encrypted drive, type your paranoid password there.

[edit] Create logical volumes

# pvcreate /dev/mapper/dmcrypt_root
# vgcreate vg /dev/mapper/dmcrypt_root
# lvcreate -L10G --name root vg           
# lvcreate -L2G --name swap vg
# lvcreate -L5G --name portage vg
# lvcreate -l 100%FREE -nhome vg

Feel free to specify your desired size by altering the numbers after the -L flag. For example, to make your portage dataset 20GB's, use the flag -L20G instead of -L5G.

[edit] Create a filesystem on volumes

# mkfs.ext2 /dev/sda1
# mkswap /dev/mapper/vg-swap
# mkfs.ext4 /dev/mapper/vg-root
# mkfs.ext4 /dev/mapper/vg-portage
# mkfs.ext4 /dev/mapper/vg-home

[edit] Basic system setup

# swapon /dev/mapper/vg-swap
# mkdir /mnt/funtoo
# mount /dev/mapper/vg-root /mnt/funtoo
# mkdir -p /mnt/funtoo/{boot,usr/portage,home}
# mount /dev/sda1 /mnt/funtoo/boot
# mount /dev/mapper/vg-portage /mnt/funtoo/usr/portage
# mount /dev/mapper/vg-home /mnt/funtoo/home

Now perform all the steps required for basic system install, please follow [3] don't forget to emerge the following before your install is finished:

  • cryptsetup
  • lvm2
  • a bootloader (grub recommended)
  • kernel sources

[edit] Editing the fstab

Fire up your favorite text editor to edit /etc/fstab. You want to put the following in the file:

# <fs>                  <mountpoint>  <type>    <opts>                          <dump/pass>
/dev/sda1               /boot         ext2      noauto,noatime                  1 2
/dev/mapper/vg-swap     none          swap      sw                              0 0
/dev/mapper/vg-root     /             ext4      noatime,nodiratime,defaults     0 1
/dev/sr0                /mnt/cdrom    auto      noauto,ro                       0 0
/dev/mapper/vg-portage  /usr/portage  ext4      noatime,nodiratime              0 0
/dev/mapper/vg-home     /home         ext4      noatime,nodiratime              0 0

[edit] Kernel options

Note: This part is particularly important: pay close attention.

General setup --->
      [*] Initial RAM filesystem and RAM disk (initramfs/initrd) support
Device Drivers --->
      Generic Driver Options ---> 
      [*] Maintain a devtmpfs filesystem to mount at /dev
Device Drivers --->
      [*] Multiple devices driver support --->
      <*>Device Mapper Support
        <*> Crypt target support
Cryptographic API --->
      <*> XTS support
      -*-AES cipher algorithms

[edit] Initramfs setup and configuration

[edit] Better-initramfs

Build your initramfs with better-initramfs project.

Note Note: better-initramfs supports neither dynamic modules nor udev, so you should compile your kernel with built-in support for your block devices and file system support.

# cd /opt
# git clone git://
# cd better-initramfs
# less README.rst
# bootstrap/bootstrap-all
# make prepare
# make image

Copy resulting initramfs.cpio.gz to /boot:

# cp output/initramfs.cpio.gz /boot

Alternatively, a pre-compiled binary initramfs is available at

# wget
# tar xf release-x86_64-v0.5.tar.bz2
# cd release*
# gzip initramfs.cpio
# cp initramfs.cpio.gz /boot

Remember, better-initramfs project is a work in progress, so you need to update from time to time. It can be done easily with git. Go to the better-initramfs source dir and follow:

# cd /opt/better-initramfs
# git pull
# less ChangeLog

Note Note: Please read the ChangeLog carefuly and perform necessary updates to /etc/boot.conf. Also, please backup the working /boot/initramfs.cpio.gz and /etc/boot.conf before updating better-initramfs.

[edit] Genkernel

Funtoo's genkernel capable to create initramfs for encrypted drive. Compile and install kernel and initramfs of your favorite kernel sources:

# genkernel --kernel-config=/path/to/your/custom-kernel-config --no-mrproper --makeopts=-j5 --install --lvm --luks all 

[edit] Bootloader Configuration

[edit] Grub2 configuration

[edit] better-initramfs

An example /etc/boot.conf for better-initramfs:

boot {
  generate grub
  default "Funtoo Linux"
  timeout 3
"Funtoo Linux" {
  kernel vmlinuz[-v]
  initrd /initramfs.cpio.gz
  params += enc_root=/dev/sda3 lvm luks root=/dev/mapper/vg-root  rootfstype=ext4 resume=swap:/dev/mapper/vg-swap quiet

Now, run boot-update to write the configuration files to /boot/grub/grub.cfg

[edit] genkernel

Configure the bootloader as described above, with correct kernel and initramfs images names. An example for genkernel and grub2. You will be editing /etc/boot.conf:

boot {
  generate grub
  default "Funtoo Linux"
  timeout 3
"Funtoo Linux" {
  kernel kernel-genkernel-x86_64-3.13.0
  initrd initramfs-genkernel-x86_64-3.13.0
  params += crypt_root=/dev/sda3 dolvm real_root=/dev/mapper/vg-root  rootfstype=ext4 resume=swap:/dev/mapper/vg-swap quiet

[edit] Lilo configuration

For oldschool geeks, an example for lilo bootloader. Emerge lilo with device-mapper support

# echo 'sys-boot/lilo device-mapper' >> /etc/portage/package.use/lilo
# emerge lilo

Example /etc/lilo.conf:

append="init=/linuxrc dolvm crypt_root=/dev/sda2 real_root=/dev/mapper/vg-root"

[edit] Syslinux bootloader setup

Syslinux is another advanced bootloader which you can find on all live CD's. Syslinux bootloader does not require additional BIOS boot partition. /dev/sda2 is the root partition.

# emerge syslinux
# mkdir /boot/extlinux
# extlinux --install /boot/extlinux
# dd bs=440 conv=notrunc count=1 if=/usr/share/syslinux/mbr.bin of=/dev/sda
- or -
# sgdisk /dev/sda --attributes=1:set:2
# dd bs=440 conv=notrunc count=1 if=/usr/share/syslinux/gptmbr.bin of=/dev/sda, for GPT partition

Example /boot/extlinux/extlinux.conf:

LABEL kernel1_bzImage-3.2.1
MENU LABEL Funtoo Linux bzImage-3.2.1
LINUX /bzImage-3.2.1
INITRD /initramfs.cpio.gz
APPEND rootfstype=ext4 luks enc_root=/dev/sda2 lvm root=/dev/mapper/vg-root

[edit] Final steps

Umount everything, close encrypted drive and reboot

# umount -l -v /mnt/funtoo/{dev, proc, home, usr/portage, boot} 
# vgchange -a n
# cryptsetup luksClose /dev/sda2 dmcrypt_root

After reboot you will get the following:

>>> better-initramfs started. Kernel version 2.6.35-gentoo-r10
>>> Create all the symlinks to /bin/busybox.
>>> Initiating /dev/dir
>>> Getting LVM volumes up (if any)
Reding all physical volumes. This make take awhile...
No volume group found
No volume group found
>>> Opening encrypted partition and mapping to /dev/mapper/dmcrypt_root
Enter passphrase fore /dev/sda2:

Type your password

>>> Again, getting LVM volumes up (if any, after map dmcrypt).
  Reading all physical volumes.  This may take a while...
  Found volume group "vg" using metadata type lvm2
  4 logical volume(s) in volume group "vg" now active
>>> Mounting rootfs to /newroot
>>> Umounting /sys and /proc.
>>> Switching root to /newroot and executing /sbin/init.
INIT: version 2.88 booting
Loading /libexec/rc/console/keymap
  OpenRC 0.6.1 is starting up Funtoo Linux (x86_64)
...boot messages omitted for clarity
orion login: oleg
Last login: Thu Oct 14 20:49:21 EEST 2010 on tty1
oleg@orion ~ %

[edit] Additional links and information