François is a Software Engineer with 15+ years of experience. Long-time advocate for Free and Open-Source Software, he currently works on Industrial Solutions for Intel.
Creating a modern industrial control platform from a generic Linux distribution is challenging as many layers of the software stack require modifications or additions to enable key features such as virtualization, real-time and time-sensitive networking. While designing and building a complete custom image provides absolute flexibility, using Debian as a base and building only modified or new packages offers plenty of advantages such as fast build time, low complexity and high potential for reuse.
Using wrappers for debootstrap and the dpkg suite, a recipe-based build makes customization surprisingly easy and straightforward. It is one step towards Debian contributions through upstreaming files required for packaging. We would like to share this very positive experience with the Debian community and provide guidelines to anyone who needs to create a Debian image with custom packages.