Building Custom Talos Images

How to build a custom Talos image from source.

There might be several reasons to build Talos images from source:

Checkout Talos Source

git clone

If building for a specific release, checkout the corresponding tag:

git checkout v1.7.0

Set up the Build Environment

See Developing Talos for details on setting up the buildkit builder.


By default, Talos builds for linux/amd64, but you can customize that by passing PLATFORM variable to make:

make <target> PLATFORM=linux/arm64 # build for arm64 only
make <target> PLATFORM=linux/arm64,linux/amd64 # build for arm64 and amd64, container images will be multi-arch

Custom PKGS

When customizing Linux kernel, the source for the siderolabs/pkgs repository can be overridden with:

  • if you built and pushed only a custom kernel package, the reference can be overridden with PKG_KERNEL variable: make <target> PKG_KERNEL=<registry>/<username>/kernel:<tag>
  • if any other single package was customized, the reference can be overridden with PKG_<pkg> (e.g. PKG_IPTABLES) variable: make <target> PKG_<pkg>=<registry>/<username>/<pkg>:<tag>
  • if the full pkgs repository was built and pushed, the references can be overridden with PKGS_PREFIX and PKGS variables: make <target> PKGS_PREFIX=<registry>/<username> PKGS=<tag>


Some of the build parameters can be customized by passing environment variables to make, e.g. GOAMD64=v1 can be used to build Talos images compatible with old AMD64 CPUs:

make <target> GOAMD64=v1

Building Kernel and Initramfs

The most basic boot assets can be built with:

make kernel initramfs

Build result will be stored as _out/vmlinuz-<arch> and _out/initramfs-<arch>.xz.

Building Container Images

Talos container images should be pushed to the registry as the result of the build process.

The default settings are:

  • IMAGE_REGISTRY is set to
  • USERNAME is set to the siderolabs (or value of environment variable USERNAME if it is set)

The image can be pushed to any registry you have access to, but the access credentials should be stored in ~/.docker/config.json file (e.g. with docker login).

Building and pushing the image can be done with:

make installer PUSH=true USERNAME=<username> #
make imager PUSH=true USERNAME=<username> #

The local registry running on can be used as well to avoid pushing/pulling over the network:

make installer PUSH=true REGISTRY=

When building imager container, by default Talos will include the boot assets for both amd64 and arm64 architectures, if building only for single architecture, specify INSTALLER_ARCH variable:

make imager INSTALLER_ARCH=targetarch PLATFORM=linux/amd64

Building ISO

The ISO image is built with the help of imager container image, by default will be used with the matching tag:

make iso

The ISO image will be stored as _out/talos-<arch>.iso.

If ISO image should be built with the custom imager image, it can be specified with IMAGE_REGISTRY/USERNAME variables:

make iso USERNAME=<username>

Building Disk Images

The disk image is built with the help of imager container image, by default will be used with the matching tag:

make image-metal

Available disk images are encoded in the image-% target, e.g. make image-aws. Same as with ISO image, the custom imager image can be specified with IMAGE_REGISTRY/USERNAME variables.