live CD question

Justin C. Sherrill justin at
Thu Jan 18 19:05:54 PST 2007

On Thu, January 18, 2007 3:49 pm, Haidut wrote:
> Hi all,
> I am trying to build a custom Dragonfly live CD and have some
> questions. I am basically following the instructions for NetBSD posted
> here:

I think those instructions are too specific to NetBSD.  Luckily, it's a
much easier process.  I tried messing with this idea to create a 'live
desktop' CD - i.e. a bootable DragonFly CD that took you to a X desktop. 
I didn't complete it so far, but I did end up typing my progress, which
I'll paste in here in case it's useful:

/usr/src/nrelease is used to build the ISOs from the current version of
source, using /usr/src/ as a source.  The whole system is compiled and
placed into /usr/release/root, and the ISO is made from there.  So, in
theory, you should be able to 'make installer_release' in
/usr/src/nrelease and then modify the files as needed to start up X.

Additional pkgsrc packages can be easily added to the ISO - there's a env
variable that's mentioned in /usr/src/nrelease/Makefile that should be the
path to any additional packages, which will then get automatically added
to the CD.  Getting all the package dependencies can be a pain in the rear
- you can build them all, which would be time-consuming, or you can grab
all the precompiled binaries from Joerg's site.  There's no command to
just grab but not install binary dependencies, so you may need to manually
put together a list, and grab all those packages.

It may be possible to set BINPACKAGE or some similar variable to get a
pkgsrc 'bmake' to grab binary packages whenever possible, and then do a
'bmake fetch' to grab all dependencies.  That's a theory I came up with to
escape the pain of manually grabbing all the packages, but I haven't tried
it yet.

If you dig around in the PCBSD source code (,
they have some scripts that good a good job of setting up a default X
config by scanning pciconf output for the video card name and then looking
it up in a table taken from Knoppix.  Browsing that link, I can't find the
scripts right now, but I think they originally came from FreeSBIE, anyway.

This assumes it's possible to build a memory-backed /etc, which is what
most of the live CDs do that I've seen.  That strategy can also probably
be lifted from the existing live CDs.

The various CDs use compressed file systems to hold all of KDE and the
like, and I don't think there's support for that in DragonFly, so you'd
have to add something like xfce for a pretty desktop, or something else,
though xfce is probably the best non-huge desktop environment.  Or go to a
DVD image, as Matt said.

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