Category Archives: UCK

UCK 2.0.7, entering the Universe!

Today is a great day for our beloved project Ubuntu Customization Kit reaches the 2.0.7 version (there are only a few minor changes to the packaging so you can leave the update behind) but, most of all, thanks to the work of Alessio Treglia, UCK has been uploaded to the Ubuntu’s Universe repository for the upcoming Ubuntu 9.04!

This is a great leap ahead for UCK, we’re about to reach millions of Ubuntu users who’ll be able to install UCK directly from their package manager, without having to download it from UCK’s website!

go go go!

Ubuntu Customization Kit 2.0.6

I know, I’m a little bit late with this post, hope you’ll excuse me but I’m really out of time in these weeks :-)

Last week we rolled out the new version of the Ubuntu Customization Kit, named 2.0.6, containing some bugfixes, hey we’re about to enter Ubuntu’s Universe repository, that’s a big step for our beloved project and we’re working with the Ubuntu team and Alessio Treglia to make it happen!

So step into the official UCK 2.0.6 release announcement to know the changes and download it!

Ubuntu Customization Kit 2.0.5 is out!

Do you want to remaster the Ubuntu ISOs? Here you have the tool you’ve ever wanted :-)

In this release you’ll find a few minor bugfix but we’ve been working with a great guy (Alessio Treglia) to make UCK enter Ubuntu’s “universe” repository, we’ll keep you up to date about this wonderful goal!

Changelog:

* GUI:
* UCK version number fix

* Backend:
* uck-remaster script now outputs UCK version
for a better debugging
* minor fix to download-gfxboot-theme-ubuntu
(thanks to Alessio Treglia)

* Package:
* minor fixes to uck.desktop (thanks to Alessio Treglia)
* some license/copyright issues were fixed (thanks to Alessio Treglia)

Download Ubuntu Customization Kit 2.0.5.

UCK 2.0.2: hardy support and GPL3

It was a long time since the last UCK release but… it actually works pretty well for its purpose, anyway we thought it was time for an update.

With 2.0.2 you’ll find that UCK is now released under GPL3, I love it :-)
This new release adds support for Ubuntu 8.04 (hardy heron).

I worked on the (small) patched working on “Ubuntu Italian ISO” and Minibuntu thus it should be tested enough.

Download UCK 2.0.2

The importance of delivering localized Linux

Situation 1:

You go to the supermarket and buy a new PC, you’ll find that the installed copy of Windows is perfectly localized in your language by default.

Situation 2:

You go to the Apple store and buy a new MAC, you’ll find that the installed copy of MAC OS is perfectly localized in your language by default.

Situation 3:

You download a copy of Ubuntu, burn it and boot it, select your language and… find that half of the system is in English and only a few things are in your language (this happens for Italian, maybe things can be worst with other languages).

What I want to say it’s quite obvious, if Linux vendors want to penetrate the newbies market, they must provide fully localized ISO images, there are no excuses. This is my point of view.

A lot of time ago, when I entered the UCK team, I wanted to build an ISO localization team, to build and deliver a full set of Ubuntu localized images. That part of the UCK project never came to life because of some problems but I still believe in its importance. Ubuntu team seemed to be quite regardless of this problem and our solution.

We (CreaLabs) continue to build and deliver the Ubuntu Italian ISO and I know there are a few other similar projects around the world but the point is that these kind of initiatives should become more officially endorsed by Ubuntu (or any other distro, problem is the same).

I talked a few time with the Ubuntu Italian Community but in all these years no page of the site links to our ISO image. Well… I’ve to say I’m a bit sad about that ’cause this seems to mean something like “we don’t care about that”.

Now, critics apart what can/should we do? If you agree with my point of view contact your distro (many of them have localized communities) and make them read this post, we just need to talk about the problem and we’ll find how to solve it. Having a fully localized Linux delivering infrastructure can only bring more users to our beloved OS.

Remastering an “Ubuntu alternate” ISO with Ubuntu Customization Kit – the complete guide

You have an Ubuntu alternate ISO and you want to customize it, to do things with ease you choose to do that with Ubuntu Customization Kit which will handle most of the tasks for you.

Preamble

This guide is written with the SVN version of Ubuntu Customization Kit, thus somethings (actually only minor things such as log messages) could be different from the ones you’ll get with your copy of UCK.

Prerequisites

To remaster an Ubuntu alternate ISO you need to:

  • be running an Ubuntu based distro on your host system in order to install and run UCK successfully
  • have UCK installed in your Ubuntu box. In order to install it go to the UCK’s website, click download and select the debian package. After downloading the package install it with the usual tools (dpkg or gdebi or whatever).
  • have an Ubuntu alternate ISO downloaded somewhere in your hard disks.

First step: extract the ISO

An ISO image is a single file, you can’t modify it in any way keeping it “as is”, thus you’ll use UCK to extract its contents to a directory with this command:

fabrizio@fabrizio-laptop:~$ sudo uck-remaster-unpack-iso ubuntu-7.10-server-i386.iso
Mounting ISO image…
Unpacking ISO image…
Unmounting ISO image…

Ok all went perfectly, now you’ll find the contents of your ISO in the “~/tmp/remaster-iso” directory

Second step: prepare the remastering environment

This step creates a new package repository inside your remastering directory (~/tmp/remaster-iso/pool/extras), in that repository you can now put all the packages you want to be added to the new ISO.

fabrizio@fabrizio-laptop:~$ sudo uck-remaster-prepare-alternate
now you can copy your packages in /home/fabrizio/tmp/remaster-iso/pool/extras, customize preseed files or do other customizations

Third step: adding new software

Alternate ISO system only manages deb packages thus you need to have deb packages for all the software you need to add to your new ISO.
There’s only one thing you have to do, copy the deb packages to the ~/tmp/remaster-iso/pool/extras directory, that’s all.

IMPORTANT: Added packages are not automatically installed by the Ubuntu installer on my target system

If you add software to the extras pool you can have two reasons:

  • you want those packages to be automatically installed into your target system
  • you want those packages to be available on cd/dvd to be optionally installed into your target system after a choice of the user (Ubuntu text installer handle this within “tasksel”)

If your option is the first then adding the deb packages to the extras directory won’t be enough, you’ll have to modify the preesed file, what is a preseed file? It’s a file which tells the Ubuntu installer what to do, it’s a way to script it.

Preseed files have their own syntax but for the purpose of this small guide I suggest you to take a deep read of the “modify installer behaviour using a preseed file” guide.

The “install cd customization” guide is really big but you don’t need to study it all, you can read only the “modify installer behaviour using a preseed file” section just because UCK covers all other sections for you.

Forth step: modify software that already was in the original ISO

Sometimes you could want to modify default configurations of software which is bundled with the default ISO, in order to do that you’ve to:

  • locate the original deb package within the remaster-iso/pool tree
  • delete it
  • create a new deb package for the software, with all your customizations inside it
  • copy your new deb package to the position where the original one was (eg: ~/tmp/remaster-iso/pool/main/a/apache2)

You need to delete the original package to avoid possible conflicts.

Fifth step: finalize the remastering environment

Ubuntu alternate ISO system works with signed Ubuntu repository thus you’ll have to regenerate all the metadata files for your updated/new repositories and than sign it with GPG. If one of these conditions are not met the installer will hang telling that your ISO is corrupted.

When I was writing alternate support for UCK this was one of the most difficult part to code and this would be difficult for you too if you were not using UCK :)

If you don’t have it, create a personal GPG key before going ahead. Remember also to write down the ID of GPG key, it should be printed by the key generation process or you can read it with the gpg --list-keys command.

Now simply let UCK do the work for you with:

fabrizio@fabrizio-laptop:~$ sudo uck-remaster-finalize-alternate 691D19E1

UCK will then do a lot of things, download files from the Internet and do all the tasks we were talking before, the operation could last a few minutes and you’ll see a lot of log lines. You’ll be asked to type the password for your GPG key, this should happed 3 times.

When the process will be finished you’ll be ready to repack your ISO.

Sixth step: pack your new ISO

fabrizio@fabrizio-laptop:~$ sudo uck-remaster-pack-iso

A lot of log lines will be printed in this phase too, don’t worry about those if you don’t see any strange error message.
Ok that’s all, finally you did it, where’s your new ISO file? Here:

fabrizio@fabrizio-laptop:~$ ls -lah ~/tmp/remaster-new-files/
totale 501M
drwxr-xr-x 2 root root 4,0K 2007-11-27 11:49 .
drwxr-xr-x 5 root root 4,0K 2007-11-27 11:49 ..
-rw-r–r– 1 root root 500M 2007-11-27 11:49 livecd.iso

Now you’re free to burn it, test it with qemu/virtualbox/vmware or whatever ;-)

Closing notes

This guide should be pretty exhaustive, if you encounter errors, misspellings or have any suggestion, please feel free to drop a comment!

And… remember to DIGG this guide using the button here below :-)

Ubuntu Customization Kit 2.0.1

A small maintenance release to fix a few bugs, mainly focused on the “alternate” ISO remastering.
Here you have the complete changelog:

GUI:

  • version number shown in uck-gui was fixed

Backend:

  • when unpacking an “alternate” ISO now we don’t try to parse the filesystem manifest
    because it doesn’t exist
  • uck-remaster-finalize-alternate now can handle new releases of ubuntu-keyring package

Package:

  • fakeroot dependency was added

Links:
Download UCK 2.0.1
UCK’s official website