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  1. #1

    how to duplicate an existing linux install


    I have installed PCLinuxOS-tr4 and am very happy with it, having used PCLinuxOS for some time. This is a clean install on a clean disk. I have spent a couple of days installing/removing packages and tweaking it to make it just perfect for our operation.

    Now, what is the best way to put that already installed system onto a DVD so others can install it on their computer. They are not all on a network, hence the need to make a DVD for them to install from.

    I've read a lot on how to make Live-CDs, but that's not what I need. I need to have my presently installed Linux system on multiple other computers.

    I'm not sure what to do and in what order. My concerns are what to do with the /proc and /dev directories and most important, I can make an iso of my complete system, but how does the user install it to their computer and have it boot? How does Grub get installed in their MBR, etc.

    If this is not the best section to ask that question in, could someone let me know so I can ask it in another section.

    Thanks in advance for any help or pointers.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2004
    arch linux
    You can use an imaging tool such as PartImage to do it.

    You could also consider Ghost4Linux.

  3. #3

    Thanks for the suggestions. I've looked at both and ran across this comment:

    "This utility can be used to install many identical computers."

    If I read this right, these packages are great for their intended purposes, but I have a situation where all the computers may be different. Therefore, I believe this approach won't work. If I'm wrong, please let me know and elaborate further on using these programs for my purpose.

    Again, I think what I'm looking for is how any of the many distros put together 'install scripts' in order to install their version of Linux to your computer. All I can find when I search is how to create a live-cd etc. Nothing I've found talks about how they make their CD or DVD so that someone can install their version of Linux on their computer.

    I was hoping it might be as simple as using 'dd' or similar, but I'm beginning to think that there is much more to making a distro able to install onto a hard disk and boot up.

  4. $spacer_open
  5. #4
    Join Date
    May 2004
    arch linux
    Yeah, those won't work so well for restoring to different hardware. I'm not sure what to suggest in that case. Maybe someone else has done what you are wanting to do and will chime in with some clues.

  6. #5
    Linux User IsaacKuo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Baton Rouge, LA, USA
    Does PCLinuxOS have some sort of feature to reconfigure its base system, like Debian's base-config? In Debian, you can run this script to redetect/reconfigure hardware and other base settings (like a fresh install, but without removing any software already installed and set up).

    With Knoppix, there's a hybrid style of install halfway between LiveCD and traditional install where the LiveCD hardware autodetection/autoconfiguration scripts are installed and run upon every bootup. Does PCLinuxOS have an option like that?

    I'm not familiar with PCLinuxOS, so I'm just guessing based on features available in distributions I'm familiar with.
    Isaac Kuo, ICQ 29055726 or Yahoo mechdan

  7. #6

    I've installed almost all of the top 10 distros, including Debian, Knoppix, Mandriva, Slax, Fedora, DSL, Ubuntu, Kubuntu, etc. Distro's like Knoppix have the ability to run as a live-cd or to install them onto your hd.

    After having tried a LOT of the different distros over the years, I find that PCLinuxOS is by far the best distro for the desktop. I've installed it on over 20 different computers over the past year and it simply works right out of the box. I've NEVER had to configure ANYTHING, EVER, upon a PCLinuxOS install. It also comes with a lot of very common and up to date applications.

    Every other distro that I've tried, I end up spending lots of time getting everything to work properly. Fun, but not productive.

    PCLinuxOS is a fork of Mandriva, which I used for many years starting with 7.3.

    PCLinuxOS does not have the same ability as Debian,Knoppix, or Slax, etc. to easily create your own distro as that would make my life easier.

    I'm currently exploring the Slax 'hd install script' to see what exactly that does and see if I can use it for my purpose. From preliminary inspection, it looks like the script copies all the different directories to the new computer, minus the /proc and /dev directories. Then it copies the Linux boot image file over and then chroots to the new location and creates the Lilo boot manager (somehow). It looks promising but I really wish that I didn't have to take this much time in order to accomplish my task.

    I'm still open for any other ideas from anyone. I'm sure someone has come up against this situation before me. I've been on numerous forums but haven't found a similar situation solved.

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