Sunday, 1 February 2015

Customise Your Linux Distribution

This article is published in the "Open Source For you" magazine in India in this month February 2015 edition.

This article guides readers on customising a Linux distribution using the Ubuntu Customization Kit. Readers who like getting their hands dirty playing around with software will enjoy it.

I have installed Linux Mint 17.1 in my system and will show you how to build your custom Linux. You can install the Ubuntu Customization Kit (UCK) from the software manager or from the terminal.

Go to Menu -> Software Manager Type UCK in the search bar and install it.

Installing UCK
Installing UCK

If you want to install it from the terminal, type the following command:

$ sudo apt-get install uck

You need a base ISO image that you can customise. You can download an Ubuntu or Linux Mint ISO image from the website.

Creating a Customized ISO

You can launch the Ubuntu Customization Kit from the dashboard or from the terminal.

Go to Menu -> Type UCK and press Enter. From the terminal, type the following command:

$ uck-gui

You will now see a welcome screen

After you press ‘OK’, another screen will ask for your language preference. I chose English.

The next screen will ask you to choose the language at the time of booting up. I,again, chose English.

You will then be asked to choose the desktop environment or the customised ISO. Here, I chose Unity and GNOME. You can decide which desktop environment you want.

The next screen will prompt you to enter the name for your customised ISO. I entered nabinlinuxmint and pressed ‘OK’.

You must then choose the base ISO, when prompted. Since I have my base ISO in ‘Downloads’, I went to the ‘Downloads’ folder, selected the base ISO and pressed ‘OK’.

The next screen will ask you whether you would like to customise Linux. Select ‘Yes’ and press ‘OK’.

Next, you will be asked if you want the Windows option. I selected ‘No’, but if you select ‘Yes’, you can run it under a Windows environment like WUBI.

The next screen will ask you whether to generate a hybrid image. I selected ‘Yes’ and pressed ‘OK’.

You will then get a message stating, ‘Now your ISO is ready to build’. Your live CD will be created and will be in /home/nabin/tmp/remaster-new-fies/livecd.iso.

Now, after you press ‘OK’, you will be redirected to your terminal. Here, you have to enter your root password

After you enter your root password, it will start unpacking the ISO that you have chosen. Once the process is over, a screen will prompt you for customisation. Here, you can select ‘Run Console Application’ and press ‘OK’.

Once you press ‘OK’, a new terminal window will open. You can now add any number of software that you want. Just use the command apt-get install (name of software).

For example, I installed JDK by issuing the following command:

$ apt-get install default-jdk

To install the SUMO simulator, the command is:

$ apt-get install sumo

In this way, you can install any number of software that you want. Once you have fiished installing the software, type ‘Exit’ in the terminal and hit ‘Enter’.

A screen will pop up and ask you whether you want to run the console application or continue building. If you want to install some other software, select ‘Run console application’ and press ‘OK’, or you can select ‘Continue building’ and press ‘OK’.

After this, a background process will run in the terminal. Here, it will re-build your ISO with all the software and packages that you have installed. This is how it looks like.

Once the building is over, a screen will pop up saying ‘Build Success’. After you press ‘OK’ you will return to your normal terminal.

You can now go to /home/nabin/tmp/remaster-new-fies/livecd.iso (in my case) and use the fully loaded ISO.

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