How To Make A Fully Customized KDE Live CD/DVD Using Kubuntu

By Shaun C Marolf (technoshaun)


There are tools available to allow anyone to create and distribute a completely customized Ubuntu Based distribution using the Gnome Desktop. Many Kubuntu users would like to do the same thing but such tools are not fully compatible with KDE and the Kiosk tool does not change or remove all of the Kubuntu defaults so that a program like Remastersys can create a customized ISO with the defined changes.

This How To is designed to address these issues and allow those interested in creating their own customized distribution based on Kubuntu. Many thanks to Jamie “Boo” Birse from LinuxMint for giving me a copy of his developer notes, which without, this how to could not have been created. “Boo” is the KDE Guru at LinuxMint and is responsible for the KDE Community Editions. Because The LinuxMint KDE CE distribution is based on Kubuntu his developer notes were extremely helpful.


Getting A Leaner And Cleaner KDE Installed:

The main issue of trying to get a customized KDE Kubuntu based distribution is dealing with many of the hidden default settings in Kubuntu to begin with. Ideally it would be much easier to have a base KDE install where those defaults are not present. Fortunately there is a way to do this using the Ubuntu Repositories.

Step One: Install Ubuntu Server

Normally when you install Kubuntu you download one of the Kubuntu ISO images and make the CD and then install it on the system. However, whether you use the Live CD, or the Alternate Install CD you are going to end up with the default setting we don't want.

In order to avoid getting those configuration files installed one needs to do the installation through another method. That method is to simply use the Ubuntu Server Edition CD instead. The server Edition does not install the X-Server and therefore does not install a GUI. Because of this we can install KDE clean and without the messy Kubuntu default settings.

Download the Ubuntu Server Edition ISO file and create the CD from the image. On the selected machine install the Ubuntu Server. When asked what additional services you wish to install do not select any. This will install only the core Ubuntu components and base files on the system.


Step Two: Update the Installation

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade -y


Step Three: Install X-Server, KDM, KDE-Core Pmount and Synaptic

Obviously we need to install the X-Server and KDE. However, it has to be done correctly or we may as well have used the Kubuntu CDs. Since we only have a command line at this point we will have to utilize it. Login and at the prompt and type the following command EXACTLY as I have it here;

sudo apt-get install xorg kdm kde-core pmount synaptic -y

After the installation completes run the following command:

sudo shutdown -r now


Step Four: Use Synaptic To Install Core Software

Add the following to your sources.list file:

## Remastersys
 deb remastersys/ 

We need some software installed to handle key factors like sound automount and many other things. The current installation is exremely minimal and would require a great amount of time to go through and individually find all the correct packages needed. So I have used Synaptic to create a recovery file of all the software you need for your core install system.

Click Reload in Synaptic to update the apt sources.

In Synaptic go to File >> Read Markings >> browse to the file BaseBuild that was included in the archive along with this file.

Click Apply.


Step Five: Remove the Server Kernel

There is one thing we have to clean up when using this install method, and that is the kernel. Since we  used the server edition for the base install we have the server kernel. As we are either building a Desktop System, or a Demonstration System (as is the case with me) we certainly don't need the server kernel.

The corepackages file installed the 2.4.26-18-generic kernel packages (latest at time of this how to) so use synaptic to remove all  of the old 2.4.6-xx-server kernel packages on your machine. (Use Completely Remove option to purge them.)


Step Six: Install Additional Packages

NOTE: You may want to use Remastersys to create a core system ISO image before installing more packages. This will allow you to have a clean base install to work from if you want to create different types of Kubuntu Based Distributions.

At this point I am going to let you play on your own. We are going to install the software packages we want to be included on our CD/DVD ISO image. It is completely your choice of what to install. You know what you want to have on your live CD/DVD. There is one important note about what you install though. DO NOT INSTALL ANY PACKAGE THAT WILL SETUP THE KUBUNTU DEFAULTS. If you do then the rest of this How To will become useless for use as I am basing it on a build that is free of these default settings.

Final word of warning, be careful on what you include in your customized distribution. Especially if you include non-open source packages. Some of these by their license must be installed separately by the end user. Also note, even including some open source packages may prove an issue because of some legal restrictions. If you are not sure about some things research, ask in a forum, ask those who also make distributions, etcetera. Do not land yourself in hot water for illegal distribution of software.

Finally to assist you here is a copy of my sources.list file:

# deb cdrom:[Kubuntu 8.04 _Hardy Heron_ - Release i386 (20080423)]/ hardy main restricted 
# See for how to upgrade to
# newer versions of the distribution.
deb hardy main restricted 
# deb-src hardy main restricted 
## Major bug fix updates produced after the final release of the
## distribution.
deb hardy-updates main restricted 
# deb-src hardy-updates main restricted 
## N.B. software from this repository is ENTIRELY UNSUPPORTED by the Ubuntu
## team, and may not be under a free licence. Please satisfy yourself as to
## your rights to use the software. Also, please note that software in
## universe WILL NOT receive any review or updates from the Ubuntu security
## team.
deb hardy universe 
# deb-src hardy universe 
deb hardy-updates universe 
# deb-src hardy-updates universe 
## N.B. software from this repository is ENTIRELY UNSUPPORTED by the Ubuntu 
## team, and may not be under a free licence. Please satisfy yourself as to 
## your rights to use the software. Also, please note that software in 
## multiverse WILL NOT receive any review or updates from the Ubuntu
## security team.
deb hardy multiverse 
# deb-src hardy multiverse 
deb hardy-updates multiverse 
# deb-src hardy-updates multiverse 
## Uncomment the following two lines to add software from the 'backports'
## repository.
## 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 hardy-backports main restricted universe multiverse 
# deb-src hardy-backports main restricted universe multiverse 
## Uncomment the following two lines to add software from Canonical's
## 'partner' repository. This software is not part of Ubuntu, but is
## offered by Canonical and the respective vendors as a service to Ubuntu
## users.
deb hardy partner 
# deb-src hardy partner 
deb hardy-security main restricted 
# deb-src hardy-security main restricted 
deb hardy-security universe 
# deb-src hardy-security universe 
deb hardy-security multiverse 
# deb-src hardy-security multiverse 
## Linux Mint Elyssa Repositories
deb elyssa main upstream import 
# deb-src elyssa main upstream import
deb elyssa community 
# deb-src elyssa community 
deb elyssa backport 
# deb-src elyssa backport 
## Medibuntu
deb hardy free non-free 
## Bleeding Edge Wine Packages
## GPG Add Key Command: wget -q -O- | sudo apt-key add -
deb hardy main 
# deb-src hardy main 
## Remastersys
deb remastersys/ 

There is a known problem in Hardy Heron, Kaffeine is broken and will not function fully. It is best to not include it until it is fixed. If you have it installed you should purge all kaffeine files from your system or you will have issues. (This will be updated when kaffeine is fixed.)

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