Root-on-ZFS installation (modules trouble)

I’m old fan of ZFS and using it as root on all my devices.
Also, I tried Manjaro KDE with on my old laptop and found it amazing (KDE Neon, based on Ubuntu, is wery glitchy on i5-4300 — and original Ubuntu is more glitchy).

It’s not my first try, I did it several times for two years, and every time it ends with nothing.

I’ve found a couple of guides to do this, but all of them omits some very viable thing.
It’s not a problem to me to create pool and datasets, bootstrap system or configure mounts and bootloader.

But all of them says literally nothing about modules.
So the all are a piece of useless junk, even they occasionally worked once.

I’m able install dkms and make a module — it’s simple.
But repos doenst contain actual-for-live-cd headers.

I tried install linuxNNN-zfs, but versions mismatch again.
And yes, I’m aware of pacman -S <package=version> trick — but there is no versions.

I’ve read that new images already had integrated ZFS support — and tryed them.
Can you guess the result? Yeah, the same.

I’ve heard, that manjaro-architect supports it.
Well, it’s abandoned, discontinued and wiped out.

I’ve tried to build iso with iso-profiles.
It’s not booting anyway, after enabling apropriate zfs package for live. No kernel splash, no boot menu — literally nothing except dark screen after selection boot medium.
But there this one may be my fault, I have no experience in building isos with iso-profiles.

So… can anybody share a working recipe or help with future investigation, or Manjaro is really a subject to throw out and use pure Arch in this case? Arch having ALEZ, at least.

Maybe some basic info will help so that someone answers :wink:

How to increase your chances of solving your issue:

Please provide Information:

Mmm… okay, I’ll try to make this clear as max as I can.

Task: to make Manjaro a root-on-zfs installation.

  • a couple of guides
  • a couple of official live images
  • a pc/laptop (real hardware totally doesn’t matter, if it x86 — so suggestions about filling profile is a waste of time. Also, I have a quiet bunch of hardware. Also again, missing isos and modules in them is definitely not a hardware problem)
    Absolutely Viable Step: to have zfs modules provided with or built on live system and successfully loaded.


  • zfs modules ain’t really included in live images
  • M-A iso (where, according to many sources, it was possible) now is not available
  • all the guides omit or provides incorrect and non-working instructions about adding modules
  • but, these instructions may work for a short time after iso release, when freshly built iso and repos has exactly the same package minor versions
  • cause all arch-like repos, AFAIK, are designed to loss at least minor versions
  • so after some time user facing inability to obtain corresponding versions
  • linuxNNN-zfs doesn’t work because of version mismatch
  • building dkms modules doesn’t possible due to headers version mismatch with a kernel version: built module is missing for the actual kernel
  • most points above are very obvious to anyone familiar with stable ABI is nonsense phrase.

I understand, that guides incompleteness is not community failure.
But for that purpose (root-on-zfs installations) official isos has missing packages in live section and can be used only occasionally.

But, again: same, nearly undistinguishable, problems exists in any other distro, that does not provides binary modules and doesn’t keep most the minors in repo.
So, I’m wondering for people that have done that way and familiar with the Manjaro-specific troubles and knows how to solve them, because others doesn’t have a viable competence and, alas, unable to give right suggestions but pleasing chatter, while I am not very familiar with arch-based myself.

By an hour ago I’ve received my new laptop, and mine iso-profiles built M-A image works on it, so I can take it from there.

Anyway, thanks for reading and answering; best wishes!

So i suggest:

  • Make a bootable persistent USB-stick (like with ALMA)
  • Install all needed modules to this USB-stick (like zfs …)
  • Reboot with this USB-stick (so the modules are loaded)
  • Install from there to your PC :wink:
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Nice trick )

Cause, as I have found, I’ve managed to build M-A with KERNEL-zfs in live section correctly, things are much simpler now. And having saved iso is much stable, than a usb-stick, that may discharge cells silently one day while not used.

Have no idea, why two older laptops neither boot, while original KDE/Gnome isos worked fine… uefi/firmware incompatibility, maybe.

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