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Archiso For Dummies Like Me and You ------------------------------------- - What the hell is Archiso? Archiso is a small set of bash scripts that is capable of building fully functional Arch Linux based live CDs. It is a very generic tool, so it could potentially be used to generate anything from rescue systems, to install disks, to special interest live CD systems, and who knows what else. Simply put, if it involves Arch on a shiny coaster, it can do it. - Alright, so how does one install it? First off, Archiso has some dependencies: - mkinitcpio - cdrkit - squashfs-tools - aufs2 (only needed in target media) - aufs2-util (only needed in target media) - devtools for mkarchroot - syslinux - nbd - mkinitcpio-nfs-utils Archiso itself can be installed with the handy dandy included Makefile, and the incantation 'make install'. - Great, so how do you use this thing? The heart and soul of Archiso is mkarchiso. All of its options are documented in its usage output, so we won't go into detail here. Instead, let's go over the general process. The first thing you should probably do is create a directory to work in, and cd to it. This'll help keep things organized. Next, you'll want to create a mkinitcpio config file that suits your needs. Typically this means modifying whatever hooks you want. A typical set of hooks for archiso looks something like this: HOOKS="base udev archiso archiso_pxe_nbd pata scsi sata usb fw pcmcia filesystems usbinput" It's probably worth mentioning that hardware autodetection and things of that nature do not belong here. Only what's necessary to get the system on its feet, and out of the initcpio really belong here, fancier stuff can be done on the booted system anyway. You'll also want to create a list of packages you want installed on your live CD system. A file full of package names, one-per-line, is the format for this. Typically you'll want BASE and a kernel as a bare minimum, but you're free to install whatever else you want. This is *great* for special interest live CDs, just specify packages you want and gogogo. The last item of importance is what are called addons. Basically this means any other crap you might want to include on your live CD, including binary package repos, special configurations, random files, we don't know, be creative. mkarchiso expects them all to be put in a single directory, with an fstab-like config file. Currently two types of addons are supported, squashfs images that get layered onto the root union, and plain directories which can be bind mounted anywhere under the root. If you want to add a squashfs union layer: - Set up whatever you want to include in a separate directory someplace, as if that directory was / . Then run mksquahfs on it, and copy the created image to your addons directory. - Add an entry to your addons config file (which must be named 'config', by the way). Typical squashfs entries look like this: live_overlay.sqfs / squashfs Where the first component is the path to the image relative to your addons directory, the second is the mountpoint (irrelevant for squashfs, they will all get layered at /) and of course the third component is the type. - Be aware that the order of entries on the config matters! Entries will be layered on top of one another, later entries are mounted _UNDER_ earlier entries (an unfortunate counterintuitive result of the way we have to mount the unions). If you want to add plain directories to bind mount: - Set up your directory somewhere, and copy it to your addon directory. - Add an entry to your addons config file, example entry: core /packages bind where the first component is the path to the directory relative to your addons directory, the second component is where you'd like it bind-mounted relative to the live CD's root filesystem, and the last component is the type. - How can build installation mediums like provided by Arch Linux? - Just follow these next steps as root. - Note that mkarchroot is optional, but with it, will ensure to have a clean enviroment for building isos. - This clean chroot, will take about 400MB (+130MB with all needed tools). - After make, max space usage is about 2GB. - In last step instead of just execute make, can be more selective: Execute "make net-iso" or make "core-iso". Do not execute make net-iso after make core-iso, otherwise net-iso will be really a core-iso. pacman -S devtools --needed mkarchroot /tmp/somedir base mkarchroot -r bash /tmp/somedir # vi/nano /etc/pacman.d/mirrorlist and uncomment your prefered mirror. pacman -S git squashfs-tools syslinux devtools cdrkit make nbd mkinitcpio-nfs-utils cd /tmp git clone git://projects.archlinux.org/archiso.git cd archiso/archiso make install cd ../configs/syslinux-iso/ make Done! vim: textwidth=72