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Build an ubuntu live CD from scratch with debian's live-helper


This page briefly describes how to create an ubuntu live CD from scratch with debian's live helper. However, I would suggest to think twice before following it: I personnally prefer to follow these other instructions which aim at customizing an already fully functional Ubuntu live CD (this process is less network bandwidth consuming, and makes me more confident in the boot process of the resulting CD [100% ubuntu, instead of a mixture debian/ubuntu]).


The default ubuntu (jaunty) distribution ships with (an almost un-modified version of) debian's live-helper. Unfortunately, this version doesn't allow to build an ubuntu live CD out-of-the box. It needs some twiddling.

The following instructions have been tested on an x86_64 host running jaunty (ubuntu 9.04), for an x86_32 jaunty target.


Base changes

Before going further, the globally installed live-helper scripts need to be altered because ubuntu doesn't follow the same convention as debian for the "updates" repository names. Edit /usr/bin/lh_chroot_sources and replace all the ${LH_DISTRIBUTION}/updates with ${LH_DISTRIBUTION}-updates (4 total on my jaunty).

Creating the live CD

Et voilą ! A binary.iso file will be created, which contains the ISO image suitable for qemu/VirtualBox/kvm tests, or direct boot. Yes, the boot splash screen will be rather minimalist (debian style ;) and usplash won't show off with its animated progress bar. But, under the hood, everything just works the same way as for an official Ubuntu live CD. Use unetbootin (aptitude install unetbootin) to transfer it to an USB memory stick.

The chroot directory contains the contents of the root file system on the CD, and thus can be used to chroot (or better: schroot) to it from your running host in order to use the distribution "natively".


And the bright future: