Video: AlmaLinux 8.4 installable Live XFCE Media

Submitted by Scott Dowdle on Fri, 06/04/2021 - 14:05

I've been wanting and trying to create live media for EL8 since the initial 8.0 release of CentOS.  The main problem I ran into is that RHEL has decided that their customers aren't interested in live media and they didn't produce any... and CentOS hasn't either.  I've been using livecd-creator from the livecd-tools package for years for making personal remixes of Fedora and CentOS 7.  In EL8, livecd-creator comes from EPEL and it has had various issues since the initial 8.0 release... and I've only been able to produce broken .iso media if I could get it to build at all.  Luckily one or more Fedora developers have taken pity on me and been updating / fixing livecd-creator in EPEL recently.

Another problem is that RHEL also decided that since they don't have live media anymore, the RHEL Anaconda installer no longer needs to support live media installs, and they have removed the anaconda-live package from their stock repositories... although I did learn today that it is built by CentOS but just not placed in the public repositories... but if you look for it hard enough, it can be found in their newly opened up build servers.

I've been working with AlmaLinux a bit lately and they provide the anaconda-live package in their off-by-default (and shouldn't really be used for production systems) devel repository.

With the updated livecd-creator and the newly found source(s) for anaconda-live... I've renewed my efforts and finally was able to produce an AlmaLinux 8.4 installable XFCE live media.  I did run into some qwerks that are explained in the screencast below that shows me booting the media in a KVM virtual machine, doing and install, and then showing a little bit of the post-install desktop system.  The .iso includes a /root/livecd-creator directory that has all of the files I used to build the media with and the system has all of the needed packages pre-installed for building.  Anyone who might want to make their own remix can do some minor editing (updating the repository URLs as they currently point to a local mirror I'm using... as well as customizing the package list as desired) of the included files and build their own.  Enjoy!

If anyone wants a copy of the .iso, just email me (see web page footer for contact info) asking for a download link and I'll reply back... as I do not publicly promote MontanaLinux as it is primarily a personal remix.

UPDATE: Anyone who wants to build their own media needs to be aware that there are currently two bugs in livecd-creator... one already fixed in the livecd-tools package currently in epel-updates-testing, and one that needs to be manually patched.   The manual patch is easy though, just edit /usr/lib/python-3.6/site-packages/imgcreate/ and add a new after line 239 (Line 239: # XXX-BCL; does this need --label?).  Put in the following:
            makedirs(isodir + "/images")
So make sure you are using livecd-tools-28.1-1 from epel-updates-testing with the given 0ne-line patch and you should be able to build working media.

UPDATE 2:  I fixed the XFCE media so now it uses SDDM rather than GDM and the live media automatically logs into XFCE.  I have also added media for KDE Plasma and GNOME (aka WORK).  They all seem to be working well but I haven't tested them on UEFI.

UPDATE3: I believe I'm missing one or more packages needed to install the bootloader on UEFI systems.  All of my (working) testing has been on Legacy BIOS-based VMs.  I'll get it fixed ASAP.