Joined: April 2006
||Posted: May 01 2007,15:10
How to Remaster your Damn Small Linux Boot CD
This howto describes how to remaster a live DSL CD with all your personal settings, preferred applications, and customizations. A previous howto was submitted by clivesay from the DSL Forums. Now that we have progressed to Damn Small Linux, Version 3.3, some of the information in that document needs to be updated. I also felt that as a newbie I could write a howto on this subject and include some details which would help other newbies to understand how the new version of the re-mastering script works. This method is also intended to help anyone who doesn't have a large amount of ram on their system.
The system I am using to make my remastered CD has the following:
* 256Meg ram
* 450 Mhz processor
* 10 gig hard drive.
This system is quite adequate for DSL. I have it set up as a dual boot system with Windows98SE, and Kubuntu, and I use a Live CD to boot to Damn Small Linux.
If I had 512 meg of ram, I don't think I would need to use my hard disk at all, but for the purpose of this document, I am using a small portion of the hard drive for my MyDsl directory, and another small portion to hold the ISO file.
Lets get started. There are really three steps involved in re-mastering a boot CD to your liking.
1. Prepare your computer for the remastering process
2. Set up DSL as you like it and add the applications you desire.
3. Create a new DSL .ISO file and burn it to a CD.
First, We're going to set up our computer to store our Mydsl extensions on the hard drive. This serves two purposes. It allows us to keep our downloaded programs from one boot to the next, and it saves ram space when re-mastering our boot CD.
To do this, we must have a linux partition on the hard drive with enough room to hold all our extensions (downloaded programs). In my case this was easy, because I already had a linux partition for my installation of Kubuntu. If you don't already have a linux partition on your PC, you can either install another hard drive on your pc and format it as a linux drive, or you can use a program such as Powerquest Partition Magic to shrink one of the existing partitions of your hard drive, freeing up space to create a linux partition. Once the space is available, use cfdisk to create a Linux ext2 or ext3 partition in the free space. There is a short tutorial on doing this at the end of this document.
After inserting the DSL Live CD, I boot up the system, which eventually gets me to the boot prompt:
here I enter the cheatcode to load DSL into Ram, and then start:
|Code Sample |
|boot: dsl toram<enter>|
Now I'm lucky enough to have a high-speed internet connection, and a local area network. If you use dialup, you will have to get connected through your modem, and that's another story which I don't intend to cover. The rest of this tutorial assumes that you are connected to the internet.
Once DSL is up and running, you will find the Mount tool at the bottom right corner of the screen. It comes up with a bar in the center labeled "floppy", or "cdrom". Clicking on that bar will cycle through the mountable media. Clicking on the bottom bar will mount the media shown. Use this tool to mount your Linux partition. Mine is hda4. Yours may be something different.
Open Emelfm as superuser. Navigate to /mnt/hda4 in one of the panels. Use the "MkDir" button to create a directory called "dsl". Then navigate to /mnt/hda4/dsl, and create two sub-directories called "myremaster" and "dsliso".
At this point, we have prepared our hard drive for use in the re-mastering process, however, if you now start the Make myDSL Remaster script, you get the message:
|Code Sample |
|You must boot with a live CD with the mydsl=xxxx|
Or have a known working autoscan mydsl directory.
Well, we didn't boot that way to start with, so lets reboot now. At the "Boot" prompt, we enter:
|Code Sample |
|boot: dsl toram mydsl=hda4/dsl/myremaster|
Now, I've decided that my re-mastered CD will have the following:
* All my favorite bookmarks will be loaded into Firefox.
* I'll have OpenOffice.org for my office suite
* I'll have Samba, so I can network to my other computers, both Windows and Linux.
* I'll have MPlayer as an alternative media player.
So first, lets get my bookmarks. Here I cheated a bit. I have been using Firefox for a long time, so the last time I booted up normally on this PC, I launched Firefox, and I exported my bookmarks to a file on hda4. The file (full path) is /mnt/hda4/bookmarks.html.
To get the bookmarks into Firefox, first launch Firefox, either through the start menu, or by clicking on the Firefox icon on the desktop. Then on the Firefox menu bar, click on:
Bookmarks - Manage Bookmarks,
which brings up a bookmarks management window. On the menu bar here, click on:
File - Import - From File - Next
The Import bookmark file window comes up, allowing you to navigate to the directory where your exported bookmarks file is located and select the file... in mycase, /mnt/hda4/bookmarks.html. When you click the "Open" button, your bookmarks will be imported.
Now that my bookmarks are in place, let's use the internet to add the applications I desire to my system.
Click on the "MyDSL" icon on the desktop to launch the MyDSL tool. You'll get a small window on the desktop with 12 buttons on it, representing the 12 repositories of applications you are able to access. Now you can download and install as many applications as you would like to have in your personal version of Damn Small Linux. Here are my choices:
Gaim - From Testing - Instant messaging for several protocols, including Yahoo.
Samba - From Net - Networking tool for sharing files on Windows networks.
MPlayer - From Multimedia - Versatile multimedia player
OpenOffice.org - From UCI - The free replacement for the Microsoft Office suite.
When you press the download button for your applications, you will be asked to which directory you want to download the application. Make sure that the destination box contains the correct address. (In my case, it's /mnt/hda4/dsl/myremaster)
OK, that's all I want in this remaster, so now, let's do a backup so that we will save our setup and bookmarks, and any other information that may have been placed in our home directory. Click the desktop icon called "DSLpanel", then click the "Backup/Restore" button. In the little window that appears, type in the Drive you want to use for backup, then press the "Backup" button. In my case I type in "hda4", so I'll be able to find my backup file in /mnt/hda4/backup.tar.gz
This is the way I want my system restored when I boot the new CD that i'm about to create, so to make that happen, copy the backup.tar.gz file to your mydsl directory... in my case, /mnt/hda4/dsl/myremaster. Once copied, rename the file myconfig.tar.gz.
At this point, the directory /mnt/hda4/dsl/myremaster contains the following:
Now it's time to create a new .ISO file, and optionally, burn the ISO image to a CD. From the start menu, choose:
Apps - Tools - Make myDSL CD remaster
A terminal window will open on your desktop, and the automated MyDSL script will show its startup message. There is a warning here, stating that you must have booted with a live CD, with the "mydsl=xxxx" option. Here is where the advantage of having used a directory on the hard drive to download your applications. If you did not boot with this option, you now have the chance to back out of your MakeMyDSL script, and reboot with the correct option or options. All your work will be preserved.
The script asks you to enter the working directory. My entry would be:
Next, the script asks for any boot time options. I like to leave this blank so I still have control over my options, but you can enter whatever bootcodes you prefer, like toram, secure, home=hda4, etc.
|Code Sample |
After you enter your boot options, the script goes about creating the MyDSL iso. When it finishes doing that, it asks if you want to proceed to burning the CD. If you have used the "toram" option, and you have a cd writer, you can enter "y", and the script will then guide you through the process of burning the CD. Otherwise, you can either:
* Copy the file /mnt/hda4/dsl/dsliso/mydsl.iso to removable media and burn it to CD on another computer.
* Reboot to another linux operating system that has a working CD burning app.
* Use the networking capabilities of DSL to transfer the mydsl.iso file to another networked computer, where you have CD burning capabilities.
I hope this will help newbies such as myself to understand the re-mastering process. I welcome those with more experience to add their comments and suggestions. My next how-to will be a simple way of using Samba to share files on a windows network.