How to Customize Ubuntu into your own custom distribution
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How to Customize Ubuntu into your own custom distribution
I was thinking of creating my own custom Ubuntu distribution. I've used reconstructor before to customize Ubuntu 7.10; however, when I boot up my customized distribution, it drops me to a job control shell. Are there any good guides on the internet describing how I could go about customizing Ubuntu into my own, new Linux distribution (such as changing the themes, changing the LiveCD/Installer from using Ubuntu anywhere in the software to using a name of my own, and adding/removing software)? Or could anyone help me out?
Yes, I have looked into LFS before, and it was what I was originally planning to do; however, my intent is to not build a new distribution from scratch, but to create a new distribution based on Ubuntu (it would be a derivative of the Ubuntu Desktop Edition). Do you guys know any good guides where I could successfully customize Ubuntu (or know from first-hand experience) by
changing the themes, altering the LiveCD/Installer from using Ubuntu anywhere in the software to using a name of my own, and adding/removing software?
It sounds like you simply want to customize your copy of Ubuntu rather than produce your own distribution.
The GPL license allows you to take the source and build your own packages. It doesn't allow you to simply make a copy of compiled binaries and call them your own. You will also need to grep for any and all copyright and trademarks to make sure that there aren't any non-gpl components in the source. Some packages may be based on other licenses. For example Firefox, openssl, Apache, perl. You will need to abide by their licenses as well.
You will also be responsible for security upgrades, and updating your installer to detect and handle new hardware in the future.
No, I want to create my own Linux distribution (which would be a derivative of the Ubuntu Desktop Edition) from customizing an Ubuntu LiveCD. My intention is definitely not to simply make a copy of compiled binaries and call them my own. I want to create a distribution that has more software, packages, and more functionality than the current Ubuntu desktop systems. But, since you (jschiwal) did bring up the topic, how would I be able to modify the Ubuntu installer?
Originally, I thought I would base my system off of Debian. I soon realized that I wanted to integrate Ubuntu's easy yet powerful desktop functionality into my own distribution. Thus, my OS would be an unofficial branch of the Ubuntu desktop edition (much like Kubuntu and Xubuntu, although they are official).
I want my OS to be so user-friendly that people will want to support/promote Ubuntu and the rest of the Open-Source world. What problems do you think might I encounter if I try to create an unofficial branch/customization of the Ubuntu Desktop Edition? Or do you guys have any suggestions on what I could do better in order to help achieve this goal?
What exactly would be the advantage of having more software? As soon as you are connected to the internet, you already have more at your disposal than any other distribution has to offer. And, let's face it, the more you put on your media (cd/dvd), the more there will be to update as soon as it has been installed (like, yuk, many hundreds of megabytes each time you install, say, Suse or Fedora). Of course, you are free to do as you like but you may want to ask yourself whether there is any real point to it other than a personal exercise. It will take a lot of time unless it's a one-time shot. Plus the distro market is swamped with derivatives and derivatives of derivatives as it is.
The advantage of having more software is that everything comes pre-installed, and from the first install, the Linux distribution achieves greater functionality than a distribution which doesn't come with pre-packaged applications. You see, most Linux Gurus/Long-Time Users don't really care about their Linux operating system coming with many programs which can play mp3's, movies, and install Windows programs (the list goes on) because they themselves have the ability to easily find these software programs on their own. However, for users who are simply switching from commercialized, "easy to use" operating systems( although Windows is not at all easy to use, it's just plain painful ), and are used to having everything come out-of-the-box, it is somewhat of a challenge to add more applications in order to fit their needs. I remember when I first switched from Windows to Ubuntu; I couldn't play mp3's, flash movies, install Windows programs, and it was nightmarish because I had installed Linux over my Windows, which had all of those capabilities. My main goal is to create a Linux distribution (based off of Ubuntu, and as harishankar and jay73 suggested, most likely should not be a derivative of Ubuntu, but its own distribution), which is not only easy to use and welcoming to average end users who are switching from proprietary operating systems, but enticing to computer programmers/Linux Gurus as well. Hopefully, then, the stereotype of Linux being "hard and unusable for the average end-user" could be abolished. That's my philosophy.
Also, I had a question. Which line in /etc/apt/sources.list (or is it even this file?) allows Ubuntu to download a new Operating System version (for instance, when someone is running Ubuntu 7.10, what enables his computer to discover an 8.04 update?) ?
If you're going to package proprietary technology like codecs and Flash into your distribution, you'd better take a deeper look at the licensing issues first and understand what is OK and what is not OK to redistribute without permission etc.
There's a reason why many distros avoid packaging media codecs, proprietary hardware drivers and (binary blob) firmware and Adobe Flash (and in the past Sun Java - when its license was restrictive) into the main distribution - licensing issues and its associated legal headaches (mostly because of proprietary technology).
Last edited by vharishankar; 08-19-2008 at 12:37 AM.
OK, that is a great idea to look at the licenses first. However, if there are licensing issues with proprietary software such as Adobe Flash, then how come Reconstructor (the Open-Source program used to make customized Ubuntu distributions) includes the Adobe Flash Plugin (non-free) on its list of software one can add to the customized Ubuntu distribution he/she is creating? Isn't that a violation of law in and of itself?
OK, I will look at the licenses for each package, individually, thank you very much!
I had another question to ask you guys. Do any of you know which line in /etc/apt/sources.list (or is it even this file?) allows Ubuntu to update to a new Operating System version? For instance, when someone is running Ubuntu 7.10, what enables his computer to discover an 8.04 update and download it?
Here is my /etc/apt/sources.list, in case anyone is wondering:
## Uncomment the following two lines to add software from the 'backports'
## N.B. software from this repository may not have been tested as
## extensively as that contained in the main release, although it includes
## newer versions of some applications which may provide useful features.
## Also, please note that software in backports WILL NOT receive any review
## or updates from the Ubuntu security team.
# deb http://us.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ hardy-backports main restricted universe multiverse
# deb-src http://us.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ hardy-backports main restricted universe multiverse