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Author Topic: Customize Live CD  (Read 1673 times)
clickmike
Member
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Posts: 3


« on: December 29, 2008, 02:48:02 pm »

Hi,

I am not sure if I am in the right place for my question but I am sure if I am not someone will tell me where to go.

I have tried both of the Live CD's, Standard and SOHO, and even though I like the SOHO better it does not work on all the different computers that I have. I am an IT consultant and I manage various sites and I am looking for a non-Micro$oft solution.

I would like to customize the Live Standard edition for my needs but I am not a hand coder and I was wondering if there is a way of doing this? For example, I would like my version to only have openoffice 3 and firefox as choices for my users. I would like to have a persistent folder for user files and e-mail, I would like it to accept my logon script for my Windows server.

You might be asking yourself why doesn't he use the full version instead of the Live version? Well, I would like to only have to manage one OS image and if the user does something stupid, either by mistake or on purpose, then all you need to do is reboot the computer. I also would like to have one image that works on all hardware, that is why I think I need to go with Live Standard for now. And, if a computer dies or if we get new one's then all I need to do is plug in a USB momory stick that has the OS image and start the machine and I am in business, these machines would not have hard drives in them either.

I hope this gives you an idea of what I am looking for and why...

Thanks in advanced for any help.

Mike
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Windozer
Vectorite
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Posts: 386


Have Vector Linux, Will Travel.


« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2008, 03:01:40 pm »

Hi ClickMike,

welcome to the forum.

There is a really cool piece of software out there in various versions that might be *close* to what you're looking for. It's an OS emulator. The application software and the OS itself doesn't even know it's running *on* another OS.

You mentioned that the machines don't have drives, so this isn't exactly what you want, but consider its virtue for trying out stuff before you commit...

For Windows, there's " Virtual Box "  and Microsoft has their own (which I'm wondering is a 'clone' of Virtual Box) ... but I don't remember what it's called.
On Linux, check out " QEMU "

You can run any OS directly from an ISO without installing anything other than the Virtual Machine (the correct name, I think, for and OS Emulator).  The only tricky part is creating the Virtual Drives and getting the OS to talk to the peripherials via the emulator, which controls everything the 'hosted' OS sees.  The drive thing really isn't so much tricky as it is spooky, because you have to have confidence that the drive you've "created" and are about to PARTITION isn't really a drive at all, but a FILE that is used by the Emulator to mock a drive. The file is on your host OS - just a big binary file, the emu takes it a presents it to the 'hosted' OS as a drive.

I have had up to 20 different OS on one laptop using this technique, running Virtual Box on XP, sp2 and sp3.  The laptop has not crashed yet ... knock on silicon.  Even had four going at once, talking to each other via sockets - three hosted talking to each other and to the host OS.... ran dang slow, and the memory gage pegged red, of course <G>

If you want some assistance on setting this up and trying it out, I'd be glad to help here, with the caveat that I might not be able to respond for several days at a time (duty calls, you know).

You will find, I think, that this forum is one of the best Linux places around.

cheers
Howard in Florida
~~~~~~~~~~~
« Last Edit: December 29, 2008, 03:03:52 pm by WinDoze » Logged

483,617th Registered Linux Snoozer
bigpaws
Vectorian
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Posts: 1856


« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2008, 03:46:25 pm »

Hi Mike,

There a several solutions available. The thoughts of a livecd will take alot of RAM and
this will be pretty slow for the user. You mention a persistent folder for document storage
and such. That adds more complexity and more resource requirements. There is also
a mention of a Windows login script, are you referring to using AD?

You can do a hard install and not have user problems if they do not have root. That is
due to user/system seperation which is by design.

Perhaps look at Linux Terminal Server Project, lighter on the resources than what you
are proposing and only need to maintain a Server.

Bigpaws
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uelsk8s
Administrator
Vectorian
*****
Posts: 2504



« Reply #3 on: December 29, 2008, 03:58:20 pm »

clickmike,

The VL livecd's have the tools in them to remaster. you need to install to a HD make the changes then run vmklive and it will remaster and you will have a new ISO in your /tmp folder.
you may want to get the latest version of vl-live-tools http://vectorlinux.osuosl.org/Uelsk8s/vl-live-tools-1.0.7-i586-1vl59.tlz

when booting the ISO just add changes=/dev/sdXX and it will save the changes between reboots.

HTH,
Uelsk8s
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clickmike
Member
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Posts: 3


« Reply #4 on: December 29, 2008, 09:56:23 pm »

---Thanks for the input to those who replied.

- vm's are not going to help me achieve what I am trying to do...thanks anyways.

- in regards to resources, well, most machines now come with anywhere from 2 to 4Gigs of RAM so this is not a problem. I have tested running Live on a 2Ghz machine with 1Gig of RAM using a Corsair 4Gig USB flash drive and it was very nice, felt speedy. I tried it on some faster machines and it just kept getting better and better.

- I am running in an AD environment but I do not what to be spending time on installs - NONE. I want one image that I can load onto a flash drive at anytime so that all I need to do is put it into a slot and turn on the machine, that's it that's all.

- Thanks for the hint on remastering the Live image, this is exactly what I was looking for. I will experiment to see what I can come up with. I don't entirely understand you last comment,"when booting...between reboots.". Is this for creating a persistent folder and/or partition?

Thanks again everyone, it is appreciated.

Mike
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uelsk8s
Administrator
Vectorian
*****
Posts: 2504



« Reply #5 on: December 29, 2008, 09:58:16 pm »

Quote
- Thanks for the hint on remastering the Live image, this is exactly what I was looking for. I will experiment to see what I can come up with. I don't entirely understand you last comment,"when booting...between reboots.". Is this for creating a persistent folder and/or partition?
Yes
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bigpaws
Vectorian
****
Posts: 1856


« Reply #6 on: December 29, 2008, 10:22:03 pm »

Quote
- I am running in an AD environment but I do not what to be spending time on installs - NONE. I want one image that I can load onto a flash drive at anytime so that all I need to do is put it into a slot and turn on the machine, that's it that's all.

Depending on what you are looking for that could be a problem. Where do you intend to store the
saved files?

Bigpaws
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clickmike
Member
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Posts: 3


« Reply #7 on: December 30, 2008, 05:28:31 am »

The way that I see it I have three choices. Since I am only in testing mode right now and still evaluating, I was thinking of going with a 32Gig USB flash drive, these are $50 right now. I could figure out how load my Live OS on a hard drive, this could work very well also. Is this possible? How would I achieve this? With the way that I setup my AD environment, using logon script, most of the files that are used in production are on the server including the user profile docs. With this type of configuration having a large local drive is really not necessary so I might even consider just using a 16Gig flash drive.

Mike
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bigpaws
Vectorian
****
Posts: 1856


« Reply #8 on: December 30, 2008, 08:55:19 am »

Quote
I could figure out how load my Live OS on a hard drive, this could work very well also. Is this possible? How would I achieve this?

See Uelsk8s which you agreed with. Start remastering a LiveCD and go until you
get it.


Quote
With the way that I setup my AD environment, using logon script, most of the files that are used in production are on the server including the user profile docs.

I expected that answer which is why I posted it. This is an area that can be a problem in
implementing. A couple of areas that can be problems are the file permissions. Linux in
general does not use ACL's. The filesystem has additional sticky bits UID and GID. EXT3
and probably EXT4 are able to be  setup to have ACL's.

The next problem is about the amount of USB writes, I can assume you have some type of backup
plan in place?

Quote
I am an IT consultant and I manage various sites and I am looking for a non-Micro$oft solution.

I missed commenting on this one. Are your customers looking for that type of solution?

Quote
I have tried both of the Live CD's, Standard and SOHO, and even though I like the SOHO better it does not work on all the different computers that I have.

Usually you will find it is a kernel configuration. You could remaster the STD and add KDE or whatever you want.

Quote
Well, I would like to only have to manage one OS image and if the user does something stupid, either by mistake or on purpose, then all you need to do is reboot the computer.

This is also doable on a HDD install.

Sounds like a fun project.

Bigpaws





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uelsk8s
Administrator
Vectorian
*****
Posts: 2504



« Reply #9 on: December 30, 2008, 09:45:52 am »

Quote
could figure out how load my Live OS on a hard drive, this could work very well also. Is this possible? How would I achieve this?
yes this is possible.
you just copy the contents of the livecd to the HD and then setup the bootloader.
you can even do this on an NTFS partition.
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