Running Alpine in Live mode in QEMU

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To just give Alpine Linux a try in diskless mode, qemu can be used to boot the .iso file without any need for a virtual HDD image or further configuration.

qemu -m 512 -cdrom alpine-3.2.0-x86_64.iso


grsec nomodeset

at boot prompt to avoid being forced into graphical mode and losing access.

Letting the .iso image load an apkovl

This works by mounting a persistent filesystem under /media and selecting it to store the apkovl and the apkcache.

Preparing a KVM with a virtual drive:

mkdir -p /media/usb/images
qemu-img create -f raw /media/usb/images/mykvm.config 32M
qemu-system-x86_64 -enable-kvm -m 384 \
-name mykvm \
-cdrom /media/usb/images/alpine-3.2.0-x86_64.iso \
-drive file=/media/usb/images/mykvm.config,if=virtio \ 
-net lan \
-boot d &

And inside the KVM (running Alpine Linux):

fdisk /dev/vda  #creating a partition
mkdosfs /dev/vda1
mkdir -p /media/vda1
echo "/dev/vda1 /media/vda1 vfat rw 0 0" >> /etc/fstab
mount -a
setup-alpine  # (select vda1 for saving configs)
lbu commit

The next reboot then loads the generated apkovl and apkcache found on /dev/vda1 -- completely running-from-ram based on the latest official ISO.