HOWTO create a LiveDVD/USB from a custom build of CentOS 6.2

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HOWTO create a LiveDVD/USB from a custom build of CentOS 6.2

Postby lleb » 2012/03/18 15:11:55

I have a build DVD that is highly customized vs of CentOS 6.2. Id like to turn that build DVD into a LiveDVD/USB somehow. Is this possible, and if so how?

I have been looking all over google, but my google-foo has failed me today. Everything is either how to create a bootable USB for installing the OS, or taking a Live.iso and making a bootable USB device.

I have been successful at the later, dont care about the bootable install from the USB as that will not meat my goals.

The long and short is to create 2 partitions on the USB, or just a LiveDVD, that I can access a LVM that contains an encrypted tarball of our sfotware database for our customers.

This is for backups. 95% of our customers run Linux servers. With there backups either on DVD+RW, some form of USB device or a few NAS devices. Currently if their hardware fails we have to move them temporarily over to MS Windows until we get them replacement hardware. This process can take between 2-6hrs depending on the quality of their backup, the performance of their windows system. etc... This is a huge amount of downtime for the customer.

My desire is to take our highly customized kickstart DVD (we do not use default pathing as the original software was created in unix and ported over to linux. when they did that they did not remake it so we have to customize the OS big time) and turn it into a LiveDVD/USB that we can just run from on either the server, if it is not a power supply, NIC, or other vital bit of hardware outside of HDD/Raid controller, or on a MS Windows workstation until they get replacement hardware up and running.

I have succeeded in following http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/How_to_cr ... e_Live_USB for creating a live Fedora USB to access the LVM I am working on to replace the current model of using /dev/sdX that is prone to fail for so many reasons. The issue with LVM is there is absolutely no way to access that data from MS Windows without the LiveUSB/DVD/CDs. The customer in the field typically knows less about computers then your average grandma. That is starting to ask a lot of them to setup ssh, open the firewall, get us the IP address, etc... so we can then get into the system to recover the data.

If I could create a LiveOS from our kickstart, then at least the customer would be faced with a look and feel they are already comfortable with thus cutting down their anxiety a bit while we get things setup so we can have remote access to complete the conversion.

When I attempted to follow http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/How_to_cr ... _a_Live_CD directions I ran into a situation of CentOS 6.2 not having access to livecd-tools. So I attempted to grab them from a Fedora 16 page, but that rpm failed to install. Yes I know you will want to see the errors, I will have to get them for you tomorrow when I am back at work and have access to the system I am testing on.

Many thanks in advance for the help, guidance, and directions for this task.
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Re: HOWTO create a LiveDVD/USB from a custom build of CentOS 6.2

Postby toracat » 2012/03/18 16:58:47

The livecd-tools package is available from the EPEL repository.
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Re: HOWTO create a LiveDVD/USB from a custom build of CentOS 6.2

Postby lleb » 2012/03/18 17:04:03

thanks. ill make sure to look into that tomorrow. Ill post when I have further questions and with more details.
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Re: HOWTO create a LiveDVD/USB from a custom build of CentOS 6.2

Postby lleb » 2012/03/19 17:55:34

Time for new questions. I have found the systems anaconda kickstart and reading over it i can clearly see what they used to build the system with so far as custom paths and installing specific files/script/applications.

I have been hitting google "howto create kickstart centos 6.2" with no love. Found a handful of sites that say they will give you a full walk through on creating a custom kickstart, but they all fail far short of full anything other then their example of kickstart file. Those are nice to look at, but do not help much in modifying the anaconda-ks.cfg to some kind of live-ks.cfg. do i just rename it and cp to an other directory, or are there other modifications that must be done in order for the iso that is created to be live and not just an installer?
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HOWTO create a LiveDVD/USB from a custom build of CentOS 6.2

Postby gerald_clark » 2012/03/19 18:58:17

Live DVDs don't use kickstart.
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Re: HOWTO create a LiveDVD/USB from a custom build of CentOS 6.2

Postby pschaff » 2012/03/19 19:16:26

LiveDVDs can't be used as the source for a kickstart install, but they are, I believe, created with kickstart scripts. Unfortunately, if the CentOS-6.2 kickstart scripts have been published I can't find them. The LiveCD used to be built separately and the scripts were available, but since 6.0 they have been built as part of the distro build process. This forum thread and this QaWeb link may be useful.

It may be worthwhile to file an RFE in the bug tracker to have kickstart scripts for LiveCD/DVDs made available. The intent to publish them was stated in this centos-devel thread, but if there are later versions than those at this link they are not easily found.
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Re: HOWTO create a LiveDVD/USB from a custom build of CentOS 6.2

Postby lleb » 2012/03/19 20:58:46

pschaff wrote:
LiveDVDs can't be used as the source for a kickstart install, but they are, I believe, created with kickstart scripts. Unfortunately, if the CentOS-6.2 kickstart scripts have been published I can't find them. The LiveCD used to be built separately and the scripts were available, but since 6.0 they have been built as part of the distro build process. This forum thread and this QaWeb link may be useful.

It may be worthwhile to file an RFE in the bug tracker to have kickstart scripts for LiveCD/DVDs made available. The intent to publish them was stated in this centos-devel thread, but if there are later versions than those at this link they are not easily found.


correct, again I am trying to take our custom build of CentOS 6.2 that we use kickstart to INSTALL to a system. I want to then take that working functional customized system and turn it into a LiveOS for the reasons listed above.

pschaff I will read those links you posted to see if there is anything more I can glean from them along my path of learning.

Thank you.
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Re: HOWTO create a LiveDVD/USB from a custom build of CentOS 6.2

Postby pschaff » 2012/03/19 21:09:36

lleb wrote:
... I want to then take that working functional customized system and turn it into a LiveOS for the reasons listed above.

Creating a LiveDVD with kickstart to have the same packages as your customized system should be possible, and could include %post scripts to further customize it. If there's a way to make an already installed system into a LiveDVD I have not come across it.
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Re: HOWTO create a LiveDVD/USB from a custom build of CentOS 6.2

Postby lleb » 2012/03/20 00:53:39

pschaff wrote:
lleb wrote:
... I want to then take that working functional customized system and turn it into a LiveOS for the reasons listed above.

Creating a LiveDVD with kickstart to have the same packages as your customized system should be possible, and could include %post scripts to further customize it. If there's a way to make an already installed system into a LiveDVD I have not come across it.


am i to understand that you are saying i should be able to take the install DVD we have and modify that to become a liveDVD, or am i missing something.

Sorry if some of my questions are glaringly stupid im still relatively new to linux. just started basic bash scripting less then 2 months ago and only just learned about LVMs 2 weeks ago.
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Re: HOWTO create a LiveDVD/USB from a custom build of CentOS 6.2

Postby pschaff » 2012/03/20 12:56:24

lleb wrote:
...
am i to understand that you are saying i should be able to take the install DVD we have and modify that to become a liveDVD, or am i missing something.

Not exactly. I'm saying you should be able to use a kickstart config to create a LiveDVD ISO image. See the previous links and the CentOS-5 LiveCD Project.

Sorry if some of my questions are glaringly stupid im still relatively new to linux. just started basic bash scripting less then 2 months ago and only just learned about LVMs 2 weeks ago.

Then good luck with your rather ambitious project.
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