I have an RPi raspbian-based project that I need to be able to provide full updates of the rootfs for the user to install. I'm considering a second "recovery" partition which would run a highly cut-down OS, just enough to run an FTP or web server to receive the file, and then 'dd' to write to the main partition and reboot. Currently I'm looking at some of the small distros, but even those seem somewhat 'heavy' for this requirement. Where should I start to look for something tiny? Thanks,

  • Why do you need to update the entire image? Dec 7, 2016 at 17:48
  • In the future it may be necessary to tweak random bits of the rootfs, maybe a change to /etc or boot/config.txt or some new .debs. I can handle updating the actual running application with a simple .tar.gz, but for without knowing which bits of fs I need to touch it seems easiest just to provide a mechanism for installing a new one. Dec 7, 2016 at 17:56
  • wouldn't fabric or puppet be easier? Dec 7, 2016 at 18:04
  • I've not heard of those before, but if you mean docs.python-guide.org/en/latest/scenarios/admin I'd rather not try and have to script the updating process. Dec 7, 2016 at 18:13

1 Answer 1


You might want to look at my Nard SDK. It's a "live" OS running entirely from RAM. When it has booted you can do whatever you want with the SD card, it's completely unused.

  • That looks like just the sort of thing I was thinking of; I will give it a go. thanks! Dec 7, 2016 at 22:53

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