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Make your own linux livecd

I’ve had somewhat of an addiction to the different linux livecds. I can’t seem to help but find it interesting to download and try a new one even if it’s just slightly different from another I’ve seen. I guess part of the reason is I think it’s an important and potentially highly useful area. A year and a half ago (maybe a bit longer) I ran across a script for Mandrake (now mandriva) that makes building a livecd fairly easy. livecd.berlios.de


Now, easy is relative. You should probably be comfortable with command line installing of software, however there has been talk of a graphical frontend to the build script. It’s been a few months since I’ve checked things out, and I’m not aware of any progress in that area. After the script is installed you have a few ways to go. 1) make a livecd based on your current live install. In other words, this would take your currently configured system and build that into a livecd .iso image that you could then burn to disc. My base install was a bit large for this idea (about 2GB maximum is what can be compressed into a standard cd image.) 2) make a livecd based on a chrooted install. This is the option I’ve used and really like. You can use URPMI, Mandrake’s software installer, to create a fresh install into a new directory, say, /home/user/mycdworking. Then you can customize it with just the software you want on the cd, alter it to your choosing and then run the mklivecd script.

I’ve been impressed with the hardware detection (it uses Mandrake’s hwdetect) and have had good results with the cds I’ve built. I’ve made several for my own use at this point. One was basically an antivirus scanning disc. It boots to a command prompt checks for an internet connection, updates and then scans the hard drive for viruses (using clamav) and moves infected files to a quarantine. One disc I did as a slideshow, it basically booted and went directly into a continuous slideshow. One disc I did was simply a snapshot of cooker, the mandrake development area. All of these were done out of seperate directories, or chroot’ed (change rooted) installs.

If you’ve ever liked livecds but wanted a bit more control over what was in there, try out the mklivecd scripts for Mandrake/Mandriva. They should also work with PClinuxOS, which is a Mandrake derivitive.

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Posted by on August 1, 2005.

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Categories: Computers, Linux, Software

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