Chroots are very useful for keeping software that does stupid things from affecting your main system (like TI’s CCSv5) or for running old software safely without needing a virtual machine, so long as you can do so with the existing kernel. I use them on a regular basis to run CCSv5, software from Debian Squeeze, and to try things out with low risk.

Quick exactsteps for debootstrap and schroot on Debian in order to run oldstable or similar:

Install debootstrap and schroot:

sudo apt-get install debootstrap schroot

Make a directory for your chroot, I use /opt:

sudo mkdir -vp /opt/chroot/squeeze

Debootstrap! Using the buildd variant to get usual software building tools:

sudo debootstrap --variant=buildd --arch=amd64 squeeze /opt/chroot/squeeze

Setup schroot:

cat >> /etc/schroot/schroot.conf << "EOF"

Then you can schroot into your Squeeze system:

schroot -c squeeze

If you’re using Debian’s normal $PS1, your shell prompt will show a description of which schroot you’re in, like:


If your user is in the sudo group, and if you have sudo installed in your schroot, you’ll be able to use sudo just like normal. To add extra packages to the schroot system during the debootstrap operation, add --include=sudo or similar prior to the “squeeze”. Alternatively, you can install software with apt afterwards like normal.

Be aware, by preserving the environment, your /home directory will be your actual home directory in the chroot. The rest of the root file system won’t be related to your actual root file system, though. Just be careful!


14 February 2014