Configuration Settings

There are many configurable settings that affect what edition of Redox you build, and how you build it.


The build system uses several makefiles, most of which are in the directory mk. We have grouped together most of the settings that might be interesting into mk/ However, it's not recommended that you change them there, especially if you are contributing to the Redox project. See .config below.

Open mk/ in your favorite editor and have a look through it (but don't change it), e.g.

nano mk/

Environment and Command Line

You can temporarily override some of the settings in mk/ by setting them either in your environment or on the make command line, e.g.

make CONFIG_NAME=demo qemu

Overriding the settings in this way is only temporary. Also, if you are using Podman Build, some settings may be ignored, so you are best to use .config.


To permanently override any of the settings in mk/, create a file .config in your redox base directory (i.e. where you run the make command). Set the values in that file, e.g.


If you used, this file may have been created for you already. The setting PODMAN_BUILD?=1 must include the ?= operator, as Podman Build changes its value during the build process.

The purpose of .config is to allow you to change your configuration settings without worrying that they will end up in a Pull Request. .config is in the .gitignore list, so you won't accidentally commit it.

Architecture Names

The Redox build system support cross-compilation to any CPU architecture defined by the ARCH environment variable, these are the supported architectures based on the folders inside the config folder.

  • i686 - i686
  • x86_64 - x86_64
  • ARM64 - aarch64

Filesystem Config

Which packages and programs to include in the Redox image are determined by a filesystem config file, which is a .toml file, such as config/x86_64/demo.toml. Open demo.toml and have a look through it.

nano config/x86_64/demo.toml

For each supported CPU architecture, there are one or more filesystem configs to choose from. For x86_64, there are desktop, demo and server configurations, as well as a few others. For i686, there are also some stripped down configurations for legacy systems with minimal RAM. Have a look in the directory config/x86_64 for some examples.

For more details on the filesystem config, and how to include extra packages in your build, please see Including Programs in Redox.

Feel free to create your own filesystem config.

Filesystem Size

Filesystem size is the total amount of space allocated for the filesystem that is built into the image, including all packages and programs. It is specified in Megabytes (MB). The typical size is 256MB, although the demo config is larger. The filesystem needs to be large enough to accommodate the packages that are included in the filesystem. For the livedisk system, don't exceed the size of your RAM, and leave room for the system to run.

The value for filesystem size is normally set from the filesystem config file, e.g. config/x86_64/demo.toml.

filesystem_size = 768

If you wish to change it, it is recommended that you create your own filesystem config and edit it there. However, you can override it temporarily in your environment or on the make command line, e.g.:

make FILESYSTEM_SIZE=512 qemu


In mk/, you will find the variables ARCH, CONFIG_NAME and FILESYSTEM_CONFIG. These three variables determine what system you are building.

  • ARCH: the CPU architecture that you are building the system for. Currently supported architectures are x86_64 (the default), i686 and aarch64.
  • CONFIG_NAME: used to determine part of the name of the Redox image, and normally used to build the FILESYSTEM_CONFIG name (desktop by default).
  • FILESYSTEM_CONFIG: a file that describes the packages and files to include in the filesystem. See Filesystem Config above. The default is config/$ARCH/$CONFIG_NAME.toml, but you can change it if your config file is in a different location.

If you want to change them permanently, edit .config in your redox base directory and and provide new values.

nano .config

Or, you can set the values temporarily in your environment or on your make command line, e.g. export ARCH=i686; make all or make ARCH=i686 all. The first example sets the value for the lifetime of the current shell, while the second sets the value only or the current make.

The Redox image that is built is named build/$ARCH/$CONFIG_NAME/harddrive.img or build/$ARCH/$CONFIG/livedisk.iso.

The script allows you to easily set ARCH, FILESYSTEM_CONFIG and CONFIG_NAME when running make. If you are not changing the values very often, it is recommended you set the values in .config rather than use But if you are testing against different architectures or configurations, then this script can help minimize effort, errors and confusion.


The TARGET is any of the available make targets, although the recommended target is qemu. You can also include certain variable settings such as vga=no.

  • -f FILESYSTEM_CONFIG allows you to specify a filesystem config file, which can be in any location but is normally in the directory config/$ARCH.

    If you do specify -f FILESYSTEM_CONFIG, but not -a or -c, the file path determines the other values. Normally the file would be located at e.g. config/x86_64/desktop.toml. ARCH is determined from the second last element of the path. If the second last element is not a known ARCH value, you must specify -a ARCH. CONFIG_NAME is determined from the basename of the file.

  • -a ARCH is the CPU architecture you are building for, x86_64, i686 or aarch64. The uppercase options -X, -6 and -A can be used as shorthand for -a x86_64, -a i686 and -a aarch64 respectively.

  • -c CONFIG_NAME is the name of the configuration, which appears in both the name of the image being built and (usually) the filesystem config.

    If you do not specify -f FILESYSTEM_CONFIG, the value of FILESYSTEM_CONFIG is constructed from ARCH and CONFIG_NAME, config/$ARCH/$CONFIG_NAME.toml.

    The default value for ARCH is x86_64 and for CONFIG_NAME is desktop, which produces a default value for FILESYSTEM_CONFIG of config/x86_64/desktop.toml.


If REPO_BINARY set to 1 (REPO_BINARY?=1), your build system will become binary-based for recipes, this is useful for some purposes, such as making development builds, test package status and save time with heavy softwares.

You can have a mixed binary/source build, when you enable REPO_BINARY it treat every recipe with a {} a binary package and recipes with "recipe" are treated as source, both inside of your TOML config (config/$ARCH/$CONFIG_NAME.toml), example:

recipe1 = {} # binary package
recipe2 = "recipe" # source

Other Config Values

You can override other variables in your .config. Some interesting values in mk/ are:

  • PREFIX_BINARY - If set to 1 (PREFIX_BINARY?=1), the build system don't compile from toolchain sources but download/install them from Redox CI server. This can save lots of time during your first build. Note: If you are using Podman, you must set these variables in .config in order for your change to have any effect. Setting them in the environment or on the command line may not be effective.
  • REPO_BINARY - If set to 1 (REPO_BINARY?=1), the build system don't compile from recipe sources but download/install packages from Redox package server.
  • FILESYSTEM_SIZE: The size in MB of the filesystem contained in the Redox image. See Filesystem Size before changing it.
  • REDOXFS_MKFS_FLAGS: Flags to the program that builds the Redox filesystem. --encrypt enables disk encryption.
  • PODMAN_BUILD: If set to 1 (PODMAN_BUILD?=1), the build environment is constructed in Podman. See Podman Build.
  • CONTAINERFILE: The Podman containerfile. See Podman Build.