Saturday, March 2, 2013

Customizing Ubuntu Part 3: Testing the ISO

Now that we have created the ISO with Remastersys, it is time to test it out to see how it worked. But before we can test the ISO, we will have to get it off of the VirtualBox VM and onto the main host computer (which will then be installed in VirtualBox for testing). First, we will install the VirtualBox guest additions on our host machine. I installed the virtualbox-guest-utils from Synaptic (and the associated ones it will install with it). After that, we will created a share in the VirtualBox VM settings, which for this exercise I named public (and also use the public folder location as the shared folder).

Now in the guest, we will have to install the virtualbox-guest-utils package before we will be able to mount the vboxsf share that points to our host system. Once installed we will then create a directory to be the mount point of our share. From the terminal run "sudo mkdir /mnt/share" to create the share folder. This directory is where we will be copying the ISO file to from our guest VM. From with in the guest I ran the following command from the terminal to mount the vbox share: "sudo mount -t vboxsf public /mnt/share" where public is the name I gave the share created in the VM settings on the host system and /mnt/share is the mount location we created on the guest. From inside the /home/remastersys/remastersys directory I copied the ISO and MD5 file via the command line with the command "sudo cp custom-dist.iso /mnt/share" (again with .md5 custom-dist.iso.md5) and now the customized ISO is on the host machine and ready to test.You can use your graphical file manager to do this, but will need to load the file manager with root permissions to be able to copy the file over - I found it easier to just type in the commands on the terminal.

Now for the moment of truth - testing the Live CD in VirtualBox. First thing I noticed upon boot is that you are not greeted with the pretty graphics you see in the regular Ubuntu CD, just a text menu. No worries though, booting into the Live environment worked great even though it didn't auto login but all you had to do was type "liveuser" (the user name I had used for this experiment) at the LightDM screen and hit enter on the password field (for no password). The user name is also shown in the upper left of the login screen for reference. Default session was GNOME Classic and logging in I was greeted with the different wallpaper I had chosen and an install Ubuntu 12.04 LTS icon on the desktop.

Live session works great, now its time to reboot and run the installer directly and see how everything installs. The installer runs just like you would expect from Ubuntu and worked with out a hitch, I created my new test user and set auto login to yes and away it went. Once completed, reboot and we are in business. Everything worked the way I had hoped and I even created a test user in the VM environment, logged out and logged in with the new test user. As expected and hoped, new users are set to GNOME Classic by default.

A very successful experiment that leads to an up to date customized Ubuntu install - one that I think represents a more sane desktop and one that would be easier for the average user to learn. This setup is one I would be more than happy to distribute to friends or family wanting to see what a Linux experience would be like. After a little more fine tuning of the ISO, I will be uploading my customized version on-line for download if anyone is interested. Any changes should be pretty easy from here on out as I can install the original base customization in a Virtual Machine and then update from there and recreate the ISO.



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