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I am under creation of a Linux installation CD for an embedded system I am developping.

I have a general question regarding this topic. I have made some automatic installs a while back using kickstart files (for Mandriva distrib). Nowadays I use commercial distributions of Linux (ELinOS mainly) which provide complete OS definition and packaging, ready to deploy.

Today I would like to know what would be the best way to go to create an installation CD using a community based distribution (kickstart/preseed, squahfs, other?) or even no distribution at all (starting from scratch) given the following goal: - no network install possible (all the packages required should be on the CD) - very minimalistic system: kernel, common drivers, base system, some packages (perl, apache2, etc.) - quiet install with my own graphical theme - automatic answers to questions of language, keyboard, timezone, users, etc. - the live CD shall propose 3 different installations where the content of what is installed differs depending on the choice (for example third choice will see XDM and XFCE installed, etc.)

My question regards the technical realisation of the install CD, but I am also (mostly) interested in the maintenance of the product. For example, the squashfs mean seems very powerfull but from a configuration management point of view it seems a bit tricky to me to maintain ...

Thanks in advance for your answers,

manpe

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migrated from stackoverflow.com Jun 2 '11 at 18:00

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Done. Thanks for the advice. –  manpe Jun 2 '11 at 17:27
    
You seem to be asking a pretty subjective question 'what would be the best way to', but you don't provide much in the way of criteria. Given the critera, you have provided, you could probably use any popular distro to build what you describe. –  Zoredache Jun 2 '11 at 18:13
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If we can limit the discussion to Debian, I think the following would be helpful starting points:

Debian-installer will let you specify multiple classes that overlay to define your specific installation requirements. Hands' documentation includes information on including the preseed files on a flash drive or other non-network location. And if you can edit the CD boot menu, you should be able to make your three entries to use the different classes and preseed settings to make whatever installation types you want.

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