Live Systems Manual

About

About this manual

1. About this manual

1.1 For the impatient
1.2 Terms
1.3 Authors
1.4 Contributing to this document
1.4.1 Applying changes
1.4.2 Translation

About the Live Systems Project

2. About the Live Systems Project

2.1 Motivation
2.1.1 What is wrong with current live systems
2.1.2 Why create our own live system?
2.2 Philosophy
2.2.1 Only unchanged packages from Debian "main"
2.2.2 No package configuration of the live system
2.3 Contact

User

Installation

3. Installation

3.1 Requirements
3.2 Installing live-build
3.2.1 From the Debian repository
3.2.2 From source
3.2.3 From 'snapshots'
3.3 Installing live-boot and live-config
3.3.1 From the Debian repository
3.3.2 From source
3.3.3 From 'snapshots'

The basics

4. The basics

4.1 What is a live system?
4.2 Downloading prebuilt images
4.3 Using the web live image builder
4.3.1 Web builder usage and caveats
4.4 First steps: building an ISO hybrid image
4.5 Using an ISO hybrid live image
4.5.1 Burning an ISO image to a physical medium
4.5.2 Copying an ISO hybrid image to a USB stick
4.5.3 Using the space left on a USB stick
4.5.4 Booting the live medium
4.6 Using a virtual machine for testing
4.6.1 Testing an ISO image with QEMU
4.6.2 Testing an ISO image with VirtualBox
4.7 Building and using an HDD image
4.8 Building a netboot image
4.8.1 DHCP server
4.8.2 TFTP server
4.8.3 NFS server
4.8.4 Netboot testing HowTo
4.8.5 Qemu
4.9 Webbooting
4.9.1 Getting the webboot files
4.9.2 Booting webboot images

Overview of tools

5. Overview of tools

5.1 The live-build package
5.1.1 The lb config command
5.1.2 The lb build command
5.1.3 The lb clean command
5.2 The live-boot package
5.3 The live-config package

Managing a configuration

6. Managing a configuration

6.1 Dealing with configuration changes
6.1.1 Why use auto scripts? What do they do?
6.1.2 Use example auto scripts
6.2 Clone a configuration published via Git

Customizing contents

7. Customization overview

7.1 Build time vs. boot time configuration
7.2 Stages of the build
7.3 Supplement lb config with files
7.4 Customization tasks

Customizing package installation

8. Customizing package installation

8.1 Package sources
8.1.1 Distribution, archive areas and mode
8.1.2 Distribution mirrors
8.1.3 Distribution mirrors used at build time
8.1.4 Distribution mirrors used at run time
8.1.5 Additional repositories
8.2 Choosing packages to install
8.2.1 Package lists
8.2.2 Using metapackages
8.2.3 Local package lists
8.2.4 Local binary package lists
8.2.5 Generated package lists
8.2.6 Using conditionals inside package lists
8.2.7 Removing packages at install time
8.2.8 Desktop and language tasks
8.2.9 Kernel flavour and version
8.2.10 Custom kernels
8.3 Installing modified or third-party packages
8.3.1 Using packages.chroot to install custom packages
8.3.2 Using an APT repository to install custom packages
8.3.3 Custom packages and APT
8.4 Configuring APT at build time
8.4.1 Choosing apt or aptitude
8.4.2 Using a proxy with APT
8.4.3 Tweaking APT to save space
8.4.4 Passing options to apt or aptitude
8.4.5 APT pinning

Customizing contents

9. Customizing contents

9.1 Includes
9.1.1 Live/chroot local includes
9.1.2 Binary local includes
9.2 Hooks
9.2.1 Live/chroot local hooks
9.2.2 Boot-time hooks
9.2.3 Binary local hooks
9.3 Preseeding Debconf questions

Customizing run time behaviours

10. Customizing run time behaviours

10.1 Customizing the live user
10.2 Customizing locale and language
10.3 Persistence
10.3.1 The persistence.conf file
10.3.2 Using more than one persistence store
10.4 Using persistence with encryption

Customizing the binary image

11. Customizing the binary image

11.1 Bootloaders
11.2 ISO metadata

Customizing Debian Installer

12. Customizing Debian Installer

12.1 Types of Debian Installer
12.2 Customizing Debian Installer by preseeding
12.3 Customizing Debian Installer content

Project

Contributing to the project

13. Contributing to the project

13.1 Making changes

Reporting bugs

14. Reporting bugs

14.1 Known issues
14.2 Rebuild from scratch
14.3 Use up-to-date packages
14.4 Collect information
14.5 Isolate the failing case if possible
14.6 Use the correct package to report the bug against
14.6.1 At build time while bootstrapping
14.6.2 At build time while installing packages
14.6.3 At boot time
14.6.4 At run time
14.7 Do the research
14.8 Where to report bugs

Coding Style

15. Coding Style

15.1 Compatibility
15.2 Indenting
15.3 Wrapping
15.4 Variables
15.5 Miscellaneous

Procedures

16. Procedures

16.1 Major Releases
16.2 Point Releases
16.2.1 Last Point Release of a Debian Release
16.2.2 Point release announcement template

Git repositories

17. Git repositories

17.1 Handling multiple repositories

Examples

Examples

18. Examples

18.1 Using the examples
18.2 Tutorial 1: A default image
18.3 Tutorial 2: A web browser utility
18.4 Tutorial 3: A personalized image
18.4.1 First revision
18.4.2 Second revision
18.5 A VNC Kiosk Client
18.6 A base image for a 128MB USB key
18.7 A localized GNOME desktop and installer

Appendix

Style guide

19. Style guide

19.1 Guidelines for authors
19.1.1 Linguistic features
19.1.2 Procedures
19.2 Guidelines for translators
19.2.1 Translation hints

Metadata

Live Systems Manual

Customizing contents

7. Customization overview

This chapter gives an overview of the various ways in which you may customize a live system.

7.1 Build time vs. boot time configuration

Live system configuration options are divided into build-time options which are options that are applied at build time and boot-time options which are applied at boot time. Boot-time options are further divided into those occurring early in the boot, applied by the live-boot package, and those that happen later in the boot, applied by live-config. Any boot-time option may be modified by the user by specifying it at the boot prompt. The image may also be built with default boot parameters so users can normally just boot directly to the live system without specifying any options when all of the defaults are suitable. In particular, the argument to lb --bootappend-live consists of any default kernel command line options for the Live system, such as persistence, keyboard layouts, or timezone. See Customizing locale and language, for example.

Build-time configuration options are described in the lb config man pages. Boot-time options are described in the man pages for live-boot and live-config. Although the live-boot and live-config packages are installed within the live system you are building, it is recommended that you also install them on your build system for easy reference when you are working on your configuration. It is safe to do so, as none of the scripts contained within them are executed unless the system is configured as a live system.

7.2 Stages of the build

The build process is divided into stages, with various customizations applied in sequence in each. The first stage to run is the bootstrap stage. This is the initial phase of populating the chroot directory with packages to make a barebones Debian system. This is followed by the chroot stage, which completes the construction of chroot directory, populating it with all of the packages listed in the configuration, along with any other materials. Most customization of content occurs in this stage. The final stage of preparing the live image is the binary stage, which builds a bootable image, using the contents of the chroot directory to construct the root filesystem for the Live system, and including the installer and any other additional material on the target medium outside of the Live system's filesystem. After the live image is built, if enabled, the source tarball is built in the source stage.

Within each of these stages, there is a particular sequence in which commands are applied. These are arranged in such a way as to ensure customizations can be layered in a reasonable fashion. For example, within the chroot stage, preseeds are applied before any packages are installed, packages are installed before any locally included files are copied, and hooks are run later, after all of the materials are in place.

7.3 Supplement lb config with files

Although lb config creates a skeletal configuration in the config/ directory, to accomplish your goals, you may need to provide additional files in subdirectories of config/. Depending on where the files are stored in the configuration, they may be copied into the live system's filesystem or into the binary image filesystem, or may provide build-time configurations of the system that would be cumbersome to pass as command-line options. You may include things such as custom lists of packages, custom artwork, or hook scripts to run either at build time or at boot time, boosting the already considerable flexibility of debian-live with code of your own.

7.4 Customization tasks

The following chapters are organized by the kinds of customization task users typically perform: Customizing package installation, Customizing contents and Customizing locale and language cover just a few of the things you might want to do.