Live Systems Manual

About

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

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

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'

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

5. Overview of tools

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

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

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

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

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

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

11. Customizing the binary image

11.1 Bootloaders
11.2 ISO metadata

12. Customizing Debian Installer

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

Project

13. Contributing to the project

13.1 Making changes

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

15. Coding Style

15.1 Compatibility
15.2 Indenting
15.3 Wrapping
15.4 Variables
15.5 Miscellaneous

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

17. Git repositories

17.1 Handling multiple repositories

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

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

User

12. Customizing Debian Installer

Live system images can be integrated with Debian Installer. There are a number of different types of installation, varying in what is included and how the installer operates.

Please note the careful use of capital letters when referring to the "Debian Installer" in this section - when used like this we refer explicitly to the official installer for the Debian system, not anything else. It is often seen abbreviated to "d-i".

12.1 Types of Debian Installer

The three main types of installer are:

"Normal" Debian Installer: This is a normal live system image with a separate kernel and initrd which (when selected from the appropriate bootloader) launches into a standard Debian Installer instance, just as if you had downloaded a CD image of Debian and booted it. Images containing a live system and such an otherwise independent installer are often referred to as "combined images".

On such images, Debian is installed by fetching and installing .deb packages using debootstrap, from local media or some network-based network, resulting in a default Debian system being installed to the hard disk.

This whole process can be preseeded and customized in a number of ways; see the relevant pages in the Debian Installer manual for more information. Once you have a working preseeding file, live-build can automatically put it in the image and enable it for you.

"Live" Debian Installer: This is a live system image with a separate kernel and initrd which (when selected from the appropriate bootloader) launches into an instance of the Debian Installer.

Installation will proceed in an identical fashion to the "normal" installation described above, but at the actual package installation stage, instead of using debootstrap to fetch and install packages, the live filesystem image is copied to the target. This is achieved with a special udeb called live-installer.

After this stage, the Debian Installer continues as normal, installing and configuring items such as bootloaders and local users, etc.

Note: to support both normal and live installer entries in the bootloader of the same live medium, you must disable live-installer by preseeding live-installer/enable=false.

"Desktop" Debian Installer: Regardless of the type of Debian Installer included, d-i can be launched from the Desktop by clicking on an icon. This is user friendlier in some situations. In order to make use of this, the debian-installer-launcher package needs to be included.

Note that by default, live-build does not include Debian Installer images in the images, it needs to be specifically enabled with lb config. Also, please note that for the "Desktop" installer to work, the kernel of the live system must match the kernel d-i uses for the specified architecture. For example:

$ lb config --architectures i386 --linux-flavours 486 \
         --debian-installer live
$ echo debian-installer-launcher >> config/package-lists/my.list.chroot

12.2 Customizing Debian Installer by preseeding

As described in the Debian Installer Manual, Appendix B at ‹http://www.debian.org/releases/stable/i386/apb.html›, "Preseeding provides a way to set answers to questions asked during the installation process, without having to manually enter the answers while the installation is running. This makes it possible to fully automate most types of installation and even offers some features not available during normal installations." This kind of customization is best accomplished with live-build by placing the configuration in a preseed.cfg file included in config/includes.installer/. For example, to preseed setting the locale to en_US:

$ echo "d-i debian-installer/locale string en_US" \
         >> config/includes.installer/preseed.cfg

12.3 Customizing Debian Installer content

For experimental or debugging purposes, you might want to include locally built d-i component udeb packages. Place these in config/packages.binary/ to include them in the image. Additional or replacement files and directories may be included in the installer initrd as well, in a similar fashion to Live/chroot local includes, by placing the material in config/includes.installer/.