Install snapd on OpenEmbedded/Yocto

As OpenEmbedded/Yocto is a meta distribution build system which doesn’t provide you by default with any binary packages, we don’t do this either for snapd.

To allow inclusion of snapd in any Linux distribution built with OpenEmbedded/Yocto, a so called meta-layer meta-snappy exists which include all necessary recipes. These recipes cover snapd components and define dependencies on the recipes and packages outside of the meta-snappy layer.

To keep things simple we only show here how you can include meta-snappy in a generic Yocto build targeting the QEMU emulator. More information about how to start with Yocto can be found in the Yocto Project Quick Start manual.

First, setup the Yocto build environment based on the 2.4 (rocko) release:

git clone -b rocko git://

Now we need to add the meta-snappy layer into the build environment:

cd poky
git clone

Snaps are delivered as squashfs archive files. Support for squashfs is provided by the meta-openembedded layer:

cd poky
git clone -b rocko git://

After this we can start setting up the actual build environment:

source oe-init-build-env

Once that is done, we need to add the meta-snappy and meta-openembedded layers in the just created conf/bblayers.conf configuration file. Adjust the file to look like the following, but replace /path/to with the correct absolute path to the repositories we just cloned:

   /path/to/meta-snappy \
   /path/to/meta-openembedded/meta-oe \
   /path/to/meta-openembedded/meta-filesystems \

Enable support for systemd which is mandatory for snapd. See the corresponding section in Yocto Development Tasks Manual for more details.

cat << EOF >> conf/local.conf
DISTRO_FEATURES_append = " systemd"
VIRTUAL-RUNTIME_init_manager = "systemd"
VIRTUAL-RUNTIME_initscripts = ""

The snap-confine tool assumes that the home directory of root user is /root. Make sure we do not break this assumption, otherwise snaps mount namespace setup will fail early in the process. To use /root, set ROOT_HOME like this:

cat <<EOF >> conf/local.conf
ROOT_HOME = "/root"

(Optional) The build can take up a huge amount of disk space, inheriting rm_work class will help deal with that (see the Yocto Reference Manual for details). To remove unused build files add the following to conf/local.conf:

INHERIT += "rm_work"
# exclude snapd in case you want to develop snapd recipes
RM_WORK_EXCLUDE += "snapd"

That’s it. Now we can start the build of the demo image the meta-snappy layer provides, which will setup everything correctly:

bitbake snapd-demo-image

The build can take a while, depending on your machine, as it’s building a whole distribution from scratch. Once the build is done you can load the created image in QEMU with:

runqemu qemux86

For more information about OpenEmbedded/Yocto please have a look at the official documentation here.

Next Steps