Gadget snap format

Setup files

In additional to traditional snap metadata, the gadget snap also holds some setup files fundamental to the initialization and lifecycle of the device:

  • meta/snap.yaml - Traditional snap format, with type: gadget explicitly defined.
  • meta/gadget.yaml - Gadget-specific information. See below.
  • grub.conf - Required grub configuration when using this bootloader.
  • u-boot.conf - Required u-boot configuration when using this bootloader.
  • cloud.conf - Optional cloud-init configuration; cloud-init is disabled if missing.

The gadget.yaml file

Four YAML keys are used to describe your target device:

  • defaults: (YAML sub-section, optional): default configuration options for the defined snaps, applied on installation (optional).
    <snap id>:
        <key>: <value>
  • device-tree (filename, optional): the Device Tree Blob path. If device-tree is specified, dtbs/filename must exist in kernel or gadget snap (depends on origin) and snap_device_tree_origin and snap_device_tree are made available for u-boot and grub. (optional)
  • device-tree-origin (string, optional): kernel or gadget (default) depending if the DTB is located in the kernel or in the gadget snap.
  • volumes (YAML sub-section, required): the volumes layout, where each disk image is represented as a YAML sub-section.

The volumes sub-section

Each volume is described by:

  • a name (required)
  • a partition structure (required)
  • a bootloader definition (grub, u-boot)
  • a partitioning schema eg. mbr

Volumes define the structure and content of the images to be written into one or more block devices of the gadget device. Each volume in the structure represents a different image for a "disk" in the device.


The following specification defines what is supported in gadget.yaml:

# Define the format of this file. The default and latest format is zero.
# Clients reading this file must reject it the format is greater than
# the supported one. (optional)
format: <int>

# Default configuration options for defined snaps, applied on installation.
# (optional)
    <snap id>:
        <key>: <value>

# If device-tree is specified, `dtbs/<filename>` must exist in kernel or
# gadget snap (depends on origin) and `snap_device_tree_origin` and
# and `snap_device_tree` are made available for u-boot and grub. (optional)
device-tree: <filename>

# Defines where the device tree is. Defaults to gadget. (optional)
device-tree-origin: kernel

# Volumes defining the structure and content for the images to be written
# into one ore more block devices of the gadget device. Each volume in
# in the structure represents a different image for a "disk" in the device.
# (optional)

  # Name of volume and output image file. Must match [a-z-]+. (required)
  <volume name>:

    # 2-digit hex code for MBR disk ID or GUID for GPT disk id. (optional)
    id: <id>

    # Bootloader in the volume. Required in one volume. (required/optional)
    bootloader: grub | u-boot

    # Which partitioning schema to use. Defaults to gpt. (optional)
    schema: mbr | gpt | mbr,gpt

    # Structure defines layout of the volume, including partitions,
    # Master Boot Records, or any other relevant content. (required)
      - # Structure value is a list.

        # Structure item name. There's an implementation-specific constraint
        # on the maximum length. The maximum length of a partition name
        # for GPT is 36 characters in the UTF-16 character set. (optional)
        name: <name>

        # GPT unique partition id, disallowed on MBR volumes. (optional)
        id: <id>

        # Role defines a special role for this item in the image. (optional)
        # Must be either unset, or one of:
        #   mbr - Master Boot Record of the image.
        #   system-boot - Partition holding the boot assets.
        #   system-data - Partition holding the main operating system data.
        # A structure with role:system-data must either have an implicit
        # file system label, or 'writable'.
        role: mbr | system-boot | system-data

        # Type of structure. May be specified as a two-hex-digit MBR partition
        # type, a GPT partition type GUID, or both on hybrid schemas.  The
        # special value `bare` says to not create a disk partition for this
        # structure. (required)
        type: <mbr type> | <gpt guid> | <mbr type>,<gpt guide> | bare

        # Size for structure item. Maximum of 446 for the mbr role. (required)
        size: <bytes> | <bytes/2^20>M | <bytes/2^30>G

        # The offset from the beginning of the image. Defaults to right after
        # prior structure item. (optional)
        offset: <bytes> | <bytes/2^20>M | <bytes/2^30>G

        # Offset of this structure element (in units of 512-byte sectors) is
        # written to the provided position within the volume in LBA48 pointer
        # format (32-bit little-endian). This position may be specified as a
        # byte-offset relative to the start of another named structure item.
        # (optional)
        offset-write: [<name>+]<bytes> |
                      [<name>+]<bytes/2^20>M |

        # Filesystem type. Defaults to none. (optional)
        filesystem: none | vfat | ext4

        # Filesystem label. Defaults to name of structure item. (optional)
        filesystem-label: <label>

        # Content to be copied from gadget snap into the structure. This
        # field takes a list of one of the following formats. (required)

            # Copy source (relative to gadget base directory) into filesystem
            # at target (relative to root). Directories must end in a slash.
            - source: <filename> | <dir>/  # (required)
              target: <filename> | <dir>/  # (required)

            # Dump image (relative to gadget base directory) of the raw data
            # as-is into the structure at offset. If offset is omitted it
            # defaults to right after prior content item. If size is omitted,
            # defaults to size of contained data.
            - image: <filename>                                 # (required)
              offset: <bytes> | <bytes/2^20>M | <bytes/2^30>G   # (optional)
              offset-write: (see respective item above)         # (optional)
              size: <bytes> | <bytes/2^20>M | <bytes/2^30>G     # (optional)

Example: a raspberry pi 3 gadget.yaml

device-tree: bcm2710-rpi-3-b.dtb
    schema: mbr
    bootloader: u-boot
      - type: 0C
        filesystem: vfat
        filesystem-label: system-boot
        size: 128M
          - source: boot-assets/
            target: /

Used with the following directory structure:

├── boot-assets
│   ├── (...)
│   └── bcm2710-rpi-3-b.dtb
├── meta
│   ├── (...)
│   ├── gadget.yaml
│   └── snap.yaml
├── (...)

Examples of production-ready gagdet snaps