Building Armbian

What do I need?

  • x86/x64 machine running any OS; at least 4G RAM, SSD, quad core (recommended),
  • VirtualBox or similar virtualization software (highly recommended with a minimum of 25GB hard disk space for the virtual disk image)
  • The officially supported compilation environment is Ubuntu Hirsute 21.04.x amd64 only!
  • Ubuntu Focal can be used for building Bionic, Focal and Buster images as well, unsupported though
  • binfmt_misc kernel module (some ubuntu-cloud images do not have this module. Switch to a generic kernel if that is the case.)
  • installed basic system, OpenSSH and Samba (optional)
  • no spaces in full path to the build script location allowed
  • superuser rights (configured sudo or root shell).

Not officially supported build environments from community contributions:

  • Setting up VirtualBox and compile environment is easy following our Vagrant tutorial,
  • Docker environment is also supported for building kernels and full OS images,
  • Multipass

Please note that system requirements (both hardware and OS/software) may differ depending on the build environment (Vagrant, Docker, Virtualbox, native).

How to start?

Native and VirtualBox environments:

Login as root and run:

apt-get -y -qq install git  
git clone --depth 1  
cd build  

Run the script


Make sure that full path to the build script does not contain spaces.

Providing build configuration

After the first run of a new configuration file config-example.conf and symlink config-default.conf will be created. You may edit it to your needs or create different configuration files using it as a template.

Alternatively you can supply options as command line parameters to Example:

./ BOARD=cubietruck BRANCH=current KERNEL_ONLY=no RELEASE=focal

Note: Option BUILD_ALL cannot be set to “yes” via command line parameter.
Note: Names for BOARD can be found here by looking at file names. Example: OrangePi 4 = orangepi4.conf = BOARD=orangepi4

Base and descendant configuration

You can create one base configuration (config-base.conf) and use this in descendant config (config-edge.conf). Three parameters (BRANCH, RELEASE, COMPRESS_OUTPUTIMAGE) will be overwritten.

. ./config-base.conf  


Using our automated build system

If you do not own the proper equipment to build images on your own, you can make use of the automated build system. Packages are recompiled every night (starting at 00:01 CEST) and a few testing images are produced. These images are accessible on the download server under board folder, subfolder “Nightly”. Packages, when successfully built, are published in the beta repository. You can switch to beta repository in armbian-config or by changing to in /etc/apt/sources.list.d/armbian.list.

Board beta images are defined in board configuration files which are located here. This is a typical board configuration:

    # A20 dual core 1Gb SoC  
    BOARD_NAME="Banana Pi"  
    MODULES="hci_uart gpio_sunxi rfcomm hidp sunxi-ir bonding spi_sun7i 8021q a20_tp #ap6211"  
    MODULES_NEXT="brcmfmac bonding"  


You can find more information about those variables here.

If you want that our automated system start making images for this particular board, you need to alter parameters CLI_BETA_TARGET and DESKTOP_BETA_TARGET. Variants are dependent from KERNEL_TARGET definitions and supported userlands: hirsute, focal, buster. To edit those parameters you need to push changes to the build script. You need to fork a project and create a pull request and after it is imported by one of the administrators, images will start to show up in appropriate folder.

If you want to enable Debian buster desktop image with current kernel choose the following:


or for command line interfaces Ubuntu Focal based images with legacy kernel 4.19.x


or for image with latest upstream development/bleeding edge kernel.


Using alternate armbian builder repos and branches

By default, armbian-builder assumes working from master of If you are working from your own repo / branch, touch .ignore_changes will cause armbian-builder to not attempt a repo checkout.

Executing any bash statement

Currently, invoking will run a monotonous task of building all the components into a final image.

In some situation, especially when developing with Kernel or U-Boot, it is handy to run a portion of that great task like:

        # using default profile  
        ./ 'fetch_from_repo "$BOOTSOURCE" "$BOOTDIR" "$BOOTBRANCH" "yes"'  
        ./ 'compile_uboot'  

You can also dump the variable:

        # using profile of `userpatches/config-my.conf`  
        ./ my 'echo $SRC/cache/sources/$BOOTSOURCEDIR'  

NOTE: please use single quotes to keep the $VAR from early expansion in the command line shell.