Create a Custom Debian 9 installer?

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Create a Custom Debian 9 installer?

Postby UsernameV » 2017-07-16 00:32

Hi, you see, i work in an enterprise wish supports GNU/Linux and Free Software, and from our server to all the employee's computers runs Linux. What ever, we have created our own software and some minor customizations to the SO. But some times is tedious to format an existing computer, upgrade SO, or even get a New Computer and have to configure, customize, and install packages again and again.
So, we where thinking in modifing an existing Debian Iso, chage the logo to the enterprise logo, preinstall our software to the live image, and be able use it use in the enterprise. Some kind of Distro but not really, i rather call it a reskin, or even a "Non-Distribution".
They want it to conect to the Debian repositories (of course) but also download packages from our own server.
Can somebody help me? Where should i star from? I lead the Free Software issues in the enterprise, but ive never done something like that. Its programming needed? What tools do we need? Should we dedicate an unused machine for the development?
The boss is very flexible, so we have not an straight deadline, because he understands its the first time for us, but we also shoudn't being like 2 years developing an alpha. I think you know what i mean.
I would like to hear all of your suggestions.
Thank you.
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Re: Create a Custom Debian 9 installer?

Postby golinux » 2017-07-16 01:05

refractasnapshot and refractainstaller would make that task well . . . a snap.

Only caveat is that fsmithred is now in the Devuan camp. Though I think snapshot and installer are init agnostic, you might want to ask him on the refracta forum (heads up: yesterday freeforums switched to tapatalk so presently it's a bit fugly) and of course, test thoroughly.
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Re: Create a Custom Debian 9 installer?

Postby dasein » 2017-07-16 01:26

UsernameV wrote:I would like to hear all of your suggestions.

My first suggestion: You're making this way more complicated than it needs to be.

You don't need to create a live image, or rebrand the installer, or dance a jig...

The simplest way to achieve your goal looks something like this:

1) Start with exactly one minimal Debian install. (Exactly how minimal is a business decision, but from a technical POV, the more minimal you can make the install, the better.)

2) Install the desired Debian packages using apt. Do not use some wimp-ass GUI tool. (If you have a truly minimal install, you aren't going to have a GUI anyway.

3) Apply whatever in-house "customizations" or tweaks you wish.

4) When everything is exactly the way you want it, use the history command to save these various "steps" to a text file. Edit that text file to create what is, in essence, a custom post-install script (preferably unattended).

5) Profit! You can now repeat the minimal install and run the post-install config script on as many machines as you like.

6) Entirely optional step: set up a local "repo" containing the packages necessary to recreate your custom install. It'll save you some bandwidth and depending on the speed of your LAN, might save you a little time.

7) I see that as I've been typing, golinux has suggested refracta. Refracta is a fine tool for individuals, less so for enterprises. Maintenance on an enterprise-wide post-install script is going to take way less time than re-generating a customized live image via refracta. (Added bonus: pushing incremental changes out to existing installation(s) via config script is a no-brainer.)

UsernameV wrote:Should we dedicate an unused machine for the development?

You're not seriously considering using a production machine for this experiment, are you? You'll probably need a couple of practice runs and re-installs to get everything exactly the way you want it.
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Re: Create a Custom Debian 9 installer?

Postby dilberts_left_nut » 2017-07-16 01:49

... or another option - build a standard install as you want it, take an image (with partimage, clonezilla, dd or such) and deploy it onto any number of machines (or many at once with udpcast).
Update the hostname and you're good to go.
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Re: Create a Custom Debian 9 installer?

Postby UsernameV » 2017-07-16 02:04

dasein wrote:
UsernameV wrote:I would like to hear all of your suggestions.

My first suggestion: You're making this way more complicated than it needs to be.

You don't need to create a live image, or rebrand the installer, or dance a jig...

The simplest way to achieve your goal looks something like this:

1) Start with exactly one minimal Debian install. (Exactly how minimal is a business decision, but from a technical POV, the more minimal you can make the install, the better.)

2) Install the desired Debian packages using apt. Do not use some wimp-ass GUI tool. (If you have a truly minimal install, you aren't going to have a GUI anyway.

3) Apply whatever in-house "customizations" or tweaks you wish.

4) When everything is exactly the way you want it, use the history command to save these various "steps" to a text file. Edit that text file to create what is, in essence, a custom post-install script (preferably unattended).

5) Profit! You can now repeat the minimal install and run the post-install config script on as many machines as you like.

6) Entirely optional step: set up a local "repo" containing the packages necessary to recreate your custom install. It'll save you some bandwidth and depending on the speed of your LAN, might save you a little time.

7) I see that as I've been typing, golinux has suggested refracta. Refracta is a fine tool for individuals, less so for enterprises. Maintenance on an enterprise-wide post-install script is going to take way less time than re-generating a customized live image via refracta. (Added bonus: pushing incremental changes out to existing installation(s) via config script is a no-brainer.)

UsernameV wrote:Should we dedicate an unused machine for the development?

You're not seriously considering using a production machine for this experiment, are you? You'll probably need a couple of practice runs and re-installs to get everything exactly the way you want it.


This one could be an option, although our intention is to develop something able to work "Out of the box",
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Re: Create a Custom Debian 9 installer?

Postby dasein » 2017-07-16 03:04

UsernameV wrote:This one could be an option, although our intention is to develop something able to work "Out of the box",

Then you're not understanding what I'm suggesting. A minimal install followed by a run-once post-install script is dramatically less work than any other solution. Less development effort, way less maintenance effort, potential version-independence, lower cost of deployment.

The solution offered by d_l_n is another good alternative (except for the dd suggestion :mrgreen:), but it requires either (a) identically sized drives or (b) post-install partition resizing.

PS. Learn not to "full quote"
Last edited by dasein on 2017-07-16 03:25, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Create a Custom Debian 9 installer?

Postby UsernameV » 2017-07-16 06:04

dasein wrote:
UsernameV wrote:This one could be an option, although our intention is to develop something able to work "Out of the box",

Then you're not understanding what I'm suggesting. A minimal install followed by a run-once post-install script is dramatically less work than any other solution. Less development effort, way less maintenance effort, potential version-independence, lower cost of deployment.


All right, I will follow your suggestion. May you please bring some more detailed manual or documentation?
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Re: Create a Custom Debian 9 installer?

Postby kopper » 2017-07-16 08:29

Dasein pretty much gave you a step-by-step guide to achieve your goals. There is plenty of documentation available for installation and basic OS configuration. If you need help in some specific issue, would you form an actual question instead of asking handholding through your organization-specific needs and desires?
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Re: Create a Custom Debian 9 installer?

Postby Seventh » 2017-07-16 10:38

If your workplace is linux friendly, what are they using now?
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Re: Create a Custom Debian 9 installer?

Postby GarryRicketson » 2017-07-16 12:18

by UsernameV »The boss is very flexible, so we have not an straight deadline, because he understands its the first time for us, but we also shoudn't being like 2 years developing an alpha. I think you know what i mean.

I would suggest this to "the boss", Hire somebody qualified,and with the experience
to do the job properly.
You are right about one thing, it shouldn't take 2 years to do this, someone that knew what they were doing could do it in a few days, or even less, depending on how many
other things they were busy with.
-- the first time for us---
Are all of you so incompetent that no one
know hows to do any research, read documentation, etc ? Maybe the boss should hire
a whole new team.
A month , of study,reading and a few tries on experimental machine should be more then
enough time.

This question :
by UsernameV » May you please bring some more detailed manual or documentation?

Tells me you have done nothing so far, there are many very well written
tutorials, and documentation on how to "Create a Custom Debian 9 installer".
You could have started with a simple search:
how to Create a Custom Debian 9 installer
There are so many good results, I am not going to list them all, that is your job,
to read all of them.
The first hit is a good start:
https://wiki.debian.org/DebianCustomCD

But you just want to get paid to do something you are not qualified to do, and do not
want to do any real work, like searches and research. You expect , for some odd reason
some body else should do your job for you, for free,...and then you turn in the results
to your boss, and get paid.

by UsernameV So, we where thinking in modifing an existing Debian Iso, chage the logo to the enterprise logo, preinstall our software to the live image, and be able use it use in the enterprise

You really have no "ethics" what so ever do you ?
"What we expect you have already Done"

Before doing anything, read the Debian documentation:
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Re: Create a Custom Debian 9 installer?

Postby dasein » 2017-07-16 16:00

UsernameV wrote:May you please bring some more detailed manual or documentation?

Sure...

- man apt

- man history

And unless your company has been painstaking in avoiding "closed" hardware, you'll probably want to use an .iso from here as your base: https://cdimage.debian.org/cdimage/unof ... 0+nonfree/

- Once you're all done trying/testing/retrying, etc., you'll probably want this:
https://debian-handbook.info/browse/sta ... ation.html

- As kopper correctly pointed out, the Web has a bunch of existing HOWTOs for the process of minimal install (hint: select only "standard system utilities").

- As for setting up a local repo, start with the packages cached in /etc/apt/cache during your one install. If you've created .deb files for your local patches/packages (and you really should), drop those in there too.

Note: As I've indicated, the "local repo" step is not strictly required, but it is highly recommended. Detailed instructions on setting up a local repo is another thing that's as close as your favorite search engine. Make sure that one of the tweaks you apply in your post-install script points to/prefers that local repo as a software source.

Was there anything else?
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